Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 12/26/2022

Project Features

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Community Profile

This project is a part of our shared program with Africa Sand Dam Foundation. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the Community

Kisaila Self-Help Group was formed in the year 2011. It now has a membership of 38 members with 24 females and 14 males. Many of the group members are from Kithama Village, where this project's hand-dug well will be located.

The average size of a member's household is six. A third of members are ages 18-35 years, another third are of the ages 35-60 years. The rest are over 60. This is a very balanced group in terms of youthfulness and the elderly; a perfect blend for executing heavy work such as building a hand-dug well!

Water Situation

Kisaila Self-Help Group built their first hand-dug well and sand dam system last year. Whether living near or far, all group members are walking to the oasis their first system has created. Some of these sand dam and hand-dug systems are truly the only water available for miles.

Drinking water is collected from a protected hand-dug well adjacent to the sand dam.

Water used for cleaning and watering animals is still drawn from holes dug in the riverbed, to avoid overcrowding at the well.

Most adults use 20-liter plastic jerrycans, which are then loaded onto donkeys or ox-drawn carts. If a household is too poor to afford either of those, then the last resort is to carry the water on their backs. However, most households will have at least one donkey. Of late, households that can afford it use motorbikes to carry their water home.

Once delivered home, water is poured in different storage containers depending on intended use. Some water is poured in barrels near the latrine, and a lot is sent to the kitchen. Some families have been able to afford small rainwater catchment tanks, and water can also be poured in there for storage. It's also common to keep a covered clay pot in the living area so that guests have cool water to drink.

Sanitation Situation

This is our second year of community engagement, with most members of the self-help group having attended training on hygiene and sanitation last year.

100% of group members have a latrine and a bathing shelter in their homes. Compared to other groups, Kisaila group members seem to have fairly good sanitation structures in their homes. And even though they are still a mixture of both permanent and semi-permanent structures, they are clean, neat and generally well kept. This is an indicator of a very positive attitude towards hygiene and sanitation.

Every single group member has a tippy tap (hand-washing station) outside of their latrine, and we verified that each one had soap or ash as a cleaning agent. Dish racks and clotheslines are also being used appropriately.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Review

We will still hold a day of review for Kisaila. We will applaud their great work on sanitation facilities, and encourage them to maintain them. We will continue to teach about household hygiene and water hygiene, teaching how to fetch, transport, and store water to keep it clean until consumption.

It is likely that due to recent cholera outbreaks in Kenya, we will hold a session on how to prevent cholera and recognize its symptoms.

Since this group has been so successful with hygiene and sanitation implementation, we can move on to covering income-generating activities like making and selling soap.

Plans: Hand-Dug Well

This particular hand-dug well is being built adjacent to this group’s ongoing sand dam project (click here to see), which will supply clean drinking water once it rains. We have supplied the group with the tools needed for excavation. With the guidance of our artisans and mechanics, the excavated well will be cased, sealed with a well pad, and then finished with a new AfriDev pump.

Excavation takes a month or more on average, depending on the nature of the rock beneath. Construction of the well lining and installation of the pump takes 12 days maximum. The well will be lined with a concrete wall including perforations so that once it rains, water will filter in from the sand dam.

This well will be located in Kathama Village, which has a population of 790. This new hand-dug well will bring more water to families having to walk long distances to fetch water from the first one.

Project Updates

09/20/2018: A Year Later: Kathama Community Well

A year ago, generous donors helped construct a sand dam and hand-dug well for Kathama Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories. Read more...

12/22/2017: Kathama Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Kathama Community, Kenya now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. A new hand-dug well has been constructed adjacent to a sand dam on a local river. The dam will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water. Community members have also attended hygiene and sanitation training, and plan to share what they learned with their families and neighbors. You made it happen, now help keep the water flowing! Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this hand-dug well and many other projects.

The report below from our partner gives the latest details of the project. We also just updated the project page with new pictures, so make sure to check them out!

Project Result: Progress and New Knowledge

Though we've been in relationship with Kisaila Self-Help Group for a while now, there's always ways we can encourage them. Last year, we really pushed hard for every household to have a latrine. Now, it's about cleaning those latrines on a daily basis and making sure the pit is always covered. We also meet together for review trainings, and follow up on the household level to make sure everything is being implemented.

We've had two recent sessions: the first was a review of many hygiene and sanitation practices the group is working on, and the second was a training on making soap. We made 11 random household visits to check where the group is at, learning about which topics they've made progress on and what areas of weakness still remain. We were so excited to find that the majority has dish racks, clotheslines, and hand-washing stations with soap.

55-year-old Ann Nguli attended both the review and training on soap. She said, "The training has always been good to us through the knowledge that we gain on hygiene. For instance, we have gained enough knowledge on the importance of keeping our homes clean, cleaning our latrines on a daily basis and having a latrine lid, having a tippy tap so as to wash our hands every time after visiting latrine, having a utensil rack to dry our utensils and always using soap when washing our hands. In addition to all that, today I have a learned a new and very important thing, and that is soap making. This will enable me to improve on hygiene at personal level and generally at my homestead for washing clothes, cleaning my house, washing utensils and for taking shower and washing our hands after visiting latrine. The knowledge of soap making that I have gained, I will use it to make soap for commercial purpose."

Participants took turns mixing soap.

Last but not least, group members were provided with the resources to start a tree nursery. As these trees mature, they will transplant them to their own farms.

Project Result: Hand-Dug Well

We delivered the experts and materials, but the community helped get an extraordinary amount of work done. They collected local materials to supplement the project, including sand and water.

A hole seven feet in diameter is excavated up to a recommended depth of 25 feet. (Most hand-dug wells don’t reach that depth due to the existence of hard rocks between 10-18 ft.).

The diameter then shrinks to five feet when construction of the hand-dug well lining is completed. This lining is made of brick and mortar with perforations to allow for water to seep through. As sand builds up around the well walls, it will naturally filter the rainwater that’s stored behind the dam.

ASDF staff ensuring that the well was constructed to the proper measurements.

Once the construction of the lining reaches ground level, a precast concrete slab is laid on top and joined to the wall using mortar. Four bolts for the hand-pump are fixed on the slab during casting. The mechanics arrive to install the pump as community members watch, learning how to manage and maintain the pump for themselves. The well is then given a few days after installing the pump, allowing the joints to completely dry. After it rains, communities are advised to pump out the first water that seeps into the well because it often has a foul smell and a bad taste. After pumping that for a while, the water becomes clean and clear.

This hand-dug well was built simultaneously with its adjacent sand dam (to see the sand dam, click here). The sand dam will collect sand that stores and filters huge amounts of water, water that will then be accessed through the pump. Ann Nguli said, "Access to safe drinking water is the best thing that has happened to us. Nowadays, we walk for a very short distance to fetch drinking water. My livestock don’t go far in search of drinking water, and I have improved hygiene at different levels because of access to plenty of clean water. Sicknesses like amoeba and typhoid that were a big stress to us before are rare cases nowadays."

10/26/2017: Kathama Community Hand-Dug Well Underway

Kathama Community in Kenya will have a clean source of water, thanks to your generous donation. A new well is being constructed adjacent to a new sand dam, and the community will attend a review on important sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these resources will go a long way in stopping disease, hunger, and thirst in the area! We just posted a report including community details, maps, and pictures. We will keep you posted as the work continues!

Project Photos

Project Type

Dug Well and Hand Pump

Hand-dug wells are best suited for clay, sand, gravel and mixed soil ground formations. A large diameter well is dug by hand, and then lined with either bricks or concrete to prevent contamination and collapse of the well. Once a water table is hit, the well is capped and a hand-pump is installed – creating a complete and enclosed water system.


Project Sponsor - Laura, Romeo, and family
1 individual donor(s)