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: 05/21/2024

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

Mwanyani Self-Help Group started in the year 2016 and now has a membership of 84 people, of which 36 are male and 52 are female. The name Mwanyani means "space," and the group adopted this name because it’s located between hills. The group is located in Ilinge Village, Mithini, Masii, Mwala of Machakos County. The average household size of group members is seven, while the average age of the group members is 45.

37% of the members said that their main source of income is casual labor, while 33% depend on farming as their sole source of income. 17% said that they rely on a salary at the end of the month, and the other 8% have small businesses which act as their main source of income. A small percent relies on selling livestock.

40% get an average monthly income of more than 10,000 shillings while the rest earn much less. 38% earn less than 3,000 shillings.

Water Situation

The group already built one hand-dug well and sand dam system earlier this year. Whether living near or far, all group members are walking to the oasis this first system has created. Some of these sand dams 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

Group members attended hygiene and sanitation training earlier this year, too. We visited the households of Rose Paul and Janet Mbatha to get a good idea of how the community has changed since training.

We are happy to report that 100% of these families now have a pit latrine. 100% also have a hand-washing station, each with a cleaning agent like soap or ash available. The majority have useful tools like dish racks and clotheslines.

The kitchen is always cleaned on a daily basis, and most people also clean the rest of their compound at the same time. After our checkup on these households, we're happy to report that the group is on time with implementing their hygiene and sanitation action plan.

Since these group members were already trained earlier this year, they're slated for a review training in February of 2018.

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.

We look forward to how this new hand-dug well will bring clean water nearer to hundreds of others living in Ilinge.

Project Updates

August, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Sebastian Mumo

This post is part of a new series by The Water Project meant to highlight the perspectives and experiences of the people we serve and how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting them. We invite you to read more of their stories here.

Our team recently visited Ilinge Community to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point. Shortly after, we returned to check in on the community, offer a COVID-19 refresher training, and ask how the pandemic is affecting their lives.

It was during this most recent visit that Sebastian Mumo shared his story of how the coronavirus is impacting his life.

Field Officer Dorcas met Sebastian outside his home to conduct the interview. Both Dorcas and Sebastian observed physical distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. The following is Sebastian's story, in his own words.

What is one thing that has changed in your community since the completion of the water project?

Water is life, and now with the sand dams and shallow wells in the community, community members' livelihoods have changed. We now plant vegetables for domestic use. Young men are making bricks the water in the sand dams. The rehabilitation of the areas was the sand dams had been constructed raising the water tables; hence water in the well is always available. We do not have to queue for long to get water. Our livestock also gets sufficient water improving their health.

How has having a clean water point helped you through the pandemic so far?

With clean water, there few cases of waterborne diseases because the water is clean and is assured that the health of my family is protected. We also have enough water to practice washing of hands.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Kenya, has fetching water changed for you because of restrictions, new rules, or your concerns about the virus?

Yes, it has changed because now we have to follow government guidelines and make sure that at the different water sources, there are no many people and practice social distancing.

How has COVID-19 impacted your family?

I would, at times, do business to take care of my family, but that is now a challenge as the demand for the products I sell is low; therefore, low income and I have had to cut expenditure on buying household goods. My children are young, and now they can not go for preschool classes.

What other challenges are you experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Meetings are restricted, affecting activities like table banking and merry go round gatherings that we attend. In the area, there are increase cases of petty theft because people do not have income.

What hygiene and sanitation steps have you and your community has taken to stop the spread of the virus?

My and family avoid crowded places and prefer staying home, we wear masks when we go out, and wash our hands with soap and water.

Like most governments around the world, the Kenyan government continues to set and adjust restrictions both nationally and regionally to help control the spread of the disease.

What restriction were you most excited to see lifted already?

The movement to Cities like Nairobi, the opening of worship places like churches

What restriction are you still looking forward to being lifted?

Opening of schools Allowing people with over 58 years old to go to church as most of them act as advisors

When asked where he receives information about COVID-19, Sebastian listed the radio, television, newspaper, loudspeaker/megaphone announcements, word of mouth, and our team's sensitization training.

What has been the most valuable part of the COVID-19 sensitization training you received from our team?

With the training, I was reminded of the importance of _wearing masks when I have visitors at home because one may not know their health status. We learned about the importance of eating healthy and continuing handwashing.

September, 2018: A Year Later: Ilinge Community Well

A year ago, generous donors helped construct a sand dam and hand-dug well for Ilinge 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...

December, 2017: Ilinge Community Hand-Dug Well Complete

Ilinge 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: House Visits

Earlier this year, Mwanyani Self-Help Group worked hard to finish a sand dam and well system, during which they met three days in a row for a hygiene and sanitation training. There, they learned about basic practices, behaviors, and tools they can use to improve their health. At the end of these sessions, members drafted and agreed to an action plan to implement everything they learned.

Since this first training was in March, we decided to make follow-up visits during the course of this project. 11 participant households were selected randomly to check for:

- water treatment

- hand-washing stations

- food handling habits

- latrines, dish racks, rubbish pits, and an animal shed

- personal hygiene practices

Through observation and interview, we found that:

- 91% of households are cleaned daily

- 91% have hand-washing stations with soap

- 46% have a dish rack

- 100% have latrines

- 100% treat their water before drinking

Training greatly impacted this group, with people adhering to most of the action plan. However there are still some gaps, so we plan to return for a review training soon.

Mr. Kilonzo Mutuku

Project Result: Seed Distribution

This project was implemented at a crucial time for self-help group members' farms. The ground near their older sand dams is fertile and ready for planting. ASDF distributed seeds for the members' group farm.

Group members received seeds to plan on their group farm.

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. When it was time to dig, they were there to excavate the well.

Excavation progress

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.

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. The well platform appears to be raised above the ground in anticipation of the sand that will build up around it during the next few years’ rainy seasons.

Ann Nduku Mbuvi said, "The water in the shallow well is safe for drinking. We are thankful for the support we got to construct the water sources."

October, 2017: Ilinge Community Hand-Dug Well Underway

Ilinge 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, which will bring clean water closer to hundreds. 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

Hand-dug wells have been an important source of water throughout human history! Now, we have so many different types of water sources, but hand-dug wells still have their place. Hand dug wells are not as deep as borehole wells, and work best in areas where there is a ready supply of water just under the surface of the ground, such as next to a mature sand dam. Our artisans dig down through the layers of the ground and then line the hole with bricks, stone, or concrete, which prevent contamination and collapse. Then, back up at surface level, we install a well platform and a hand pump so people can draw up the water easily.


Project Sponsor - Barbara Belle Ash Dougan Foundation