Machemo Well Rehabilitation Project

Water Point
 Rehabilitation Project
Project Features
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The Water Promise - Kenya

Latitude 0.44
Longitude 34.90

180 Served

Project Status:

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Stories and Community Profile

This project is a part of our shared program with Safe Water and Sustainable Hygiene Initiative (SAWASHI). Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Background Information

Machemo Village is located in Chimuche Location, East Kabras Division, Malava Sub-County of Kakamega North County. There are approximately 30 different households each with five to seven family members. These people belong to a Kabras tribe that still follow traditions and a strict culture. They believe that women should be in charge of all domestic chores around the household, and that men are solely in charge of providing food.

In 1986, a hand-dug well was made by the Finland Company. Their purpose was to reduce the long distances women had to walk for water, as well as the cases of waterborne diseases in the village. In 2009, the well’s pump was stolen and never recovered. Since then, the community members broke the well pad in order to lower a rope and bucket to fetch water. Because the well is now open, the water has been re-contaminated and cases of disease are on the rise. The community has asked for help installing a new pump to counter this outbreak.

Current Water Source

The community depends on that same contaminated borehole, which is easily contaminated by the containers lowered to draw water. The water is used for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and farming.

There is a second shallow well in the area. This well is not reliable as it often runs dry. Unfotunately, its original construction was not suitable for rahabilitation.

Hygiene and Sanitation

A large percentage of the population has been diagnosed with typhoid or diarrhea-related sicknesses. This is a result of both drinking dirty water and handling food improperly.

Though men and women have a little bit of knowledge about good hygiene, they don’t practice it because of negative attitudes. Most community members have ignored good behaviors and are in need of training to deal with attitudes about proper hand-washing, handling food and its preparation, water storage, and personal hygiene.

Water Committee

The community has elected people to form a strong Water Committee. This committee will be in charge of managing and maintaining the rehabilitated well.

Training Sessions

The village elder helped ensure that there was at least one member of every village household present at training. Participants gathered around the old well for three full days of training: the first two days educated community members about good hygiene and sanitation, and the final day was for formation and education of a water user committee. The facilitator observed that there were more women than men, and the women were more interactive. This is probably because the community believes that women should be in charge of water and hygiene issues within the home. In fact, the men seemed hesitant to attend training because of this traditional belief.

The topics covered during the hygiene and sanitation days included:

– Proper hand-washing

– Water-handling and storage

– Food preparation and storage

– Water treatment methods

– Preventing waterborne diseases (specifically diarrhea and typhoid)

– Developing positive attitudes about hygiene and sanitation

The facilitator often referred to posters that illustrated both good and bad hygiene practices. Participants discussed these with partners and in larger groups. They also had the chance to take a transect walk, an activity that highlights the present sanitation conditions around the community and motivates community members to make necessary improvements.

After training, community members had more positive attitudes. Every member of each household vowed to change the kind of lifestyle they had lived before. At one point, a husband and wife were reminding each other of their individual responsibilities to have a clean and hygienic home. Men resolved to keep their compounds clean as the women ensured that water will be stored safely.

On the third day of training, the water user committee was formed and strengthened to oversee the operation and maintenance of this water project. The committee will draft rules for proper behavior around the water point and will also ensure that community members contribute a fee saved for any future repairs. If they encounter any problems, they are to contact the SAWASHI head office. After a period of three months, the village will be revisited to check if community members continue to practice what they were taught.

Project Result: Rehabilitated Hand-Dug Well

Construction began on January 24. The construction team was comprised of four men who worked over the course of three days. The well pad was so old that it had many deep cracks, especially around the pump, which allows for contamination of the well water. The team mixed new plaster to reconstruct the well pad, and then left it to cure.

Community members also had their hand in the construction process, providing meals for the construction team for two days. The locals feared that the construction materials might draw the eyes of thieves, so they also provided security during this project. “This time, we will not sleep. Instead, we will build a kiosk for a watchman to guard the well. We don’t ever want to drink dirty water again,” says community member Everlyne Mulupi. Water quality will be tested on February 5, and the project implementor will return on April 5 to ensure the rehabilitated well is still drawing clean water.

The Water Project and people of Machemo Village Thank You for unlocking potential!

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/20/2017: A Year Later: Machemo Community

A year ago, generous donors helped rehabilitate a well with the Machemo Community in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners can visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partner, Paul Weringa, with you.

The Water Project : machemo-community-year-after-photos-2

02/02/2016: Machemo Well Rehabilitation Project Complete

We are excited to inform you that the well in Machemo Village is now protected and in working condition! A sustainable project doesn’t result from rushing into an area, drilling a hole and leaving it; wells don’t last forever! That’s why rehabilitation projects are so important, and why monitoring this well is a priority. The community also formed a water user committee that will manage and maintain the water well. This committee, along with others from their community, also participated in a comprehensive hygiene and sanitation training. You can find updated training and construction details in the online project report, including new pictures. Please take a moment to enjoy all the work you made possible.

The Water Project and people of Machemo Village Thank You for unlocking potential!

The Water Project : if-451

12/09/2015: Update from the Machemo Well Rehabilitation Project

We wanted to give you the latest news from the Machemo village well rehabilitation project in Kenya. Community education and training is currently happening. Most businesses in Kenya stop working from December 20th through the beginning of the New Year. We know our partners will be hard at work on this rehab early in January.

Thank you for your patience. We’ll let you know as soon as we receive anything new.

The Water Project : kenya4400-01-kitchen

12/02/2015: Machemo Well Rehabilitation Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your willingness to help, Machemo Community will soon have a new source of safe, clean water. A broken well is being rehabilitated so it will be a reliable resource, and the community will receive training in sanitation and hygiene. Together these resources will help stop the spread of disease in the area. We just posted a report including information about the community, GPS coordinates and pictures. We’ll keep you posted as the work continues.

Take a look, and Thank You for your help!

The Water Project : kenya4400-04-broken-well

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Kakamega, Kenya
ProjectID: 4400
Install Date:  01/31/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 04/19/2018

Visit History:
08/01/2016 — Functional
08/15/2016 — Functional
12/06/2016 — Functional
03/03/2017 — Needs Repair
05/17/2017 — Functional
08/18/2017 — Functional
09/20/2017 — Functional
12/04/2017 — Functional
02/20/2018 — Functional
04/19/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Machemo Community

December, 2017

Today, we are healthy and continue to enjoy the clean water from the rehabilitated well and our children attend school without issues.

A year ago, generous donors helped rehabilitate a well with the Machemo Community in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners can visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partner, Paul Weringa, with you.

Women and children have found relief from the time and energy wasted fetching water – and it wasn’t even clean water. This well used to just be a hole in the ground, but since the building of a well pad and installation of an AfriDev pump, water is safe and clean for drinking.

Families are now healthy and able to do other activities. Women have enough time to take care of their children, cook, and work on the farm. Children go to school every day of the week, unlike when most of their time was spent in hospitals for treatment.

We met Judith Mato, the caretaker of the well, to interview about how having clean water has impacted her and her community throughout the last year. “Our children used to have diarrhea that came as a result of drinking water from the open well. This took away all of our little money and spent on the medical bills. Today, we are healthy and continue to enjoy the clean water from the rehabilitated well and our children attend school without issues,” she shared.

Judith speaking with Paul about the successes and challenges they’ve experienced over the past year.

She continued talking about how having water has made work on her farm easier: “Being farmers, we also have cattle at our homes. For a long time it has been a challenge to find water for the cattle. This affected the production of milk. Since the project was fitted with a pump, it has become easier to pump water and give to the cattle. Our cattle are now healthy and the production of milk is satisfying.”

Women and children here complained of chest and back pains often, since the only way to fetch water was by lowering and raising a bucket. Since the pump was fitted on the well, it’s become easier to fetch water and the people experience no more pain.

The only challenge here is that many people are still not willing to contribute fees for their well, which would be used for maintenance. They have the idea that water should be free, but the well is really providing a service that needs to be maintained to ensure sustainability. Our team continues to engage with them on this through our quarterly monitoring visits and other trainings.

The Water Project and our partners are committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by monthly donors, allows us to visit communities up to 4 times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.


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Country Details


Population: 39.8 Million
Lacking clean water: 43%
Below poverty line: 50%

Partner Profile

Bridge Water Project has been funded by The Water Project almost since they got their start in 2007.  This local Kenyan NGO works directly with the communities and neighbors they know well.  Building relationships with these villages and the local government helps ensure that the water projects we fund are sustainable in the long term.

BWP works to repair up to four wells for every new one they install.  In this area of Kenya, many old and broken down water points still exist.  We have found that restoring these water points and establishing new plans for maintenance and monitoring, is quite cost effective.

We work closely with partners like BWP to strengthen their teams, through professional development growing their impact and quality of work over time.  Your donations make it all possible.