Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/07/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

The average day in Vilongo starts at sunrise. Radios tuned to the news are heard throughout the village. The cows are milked first thing, then the women cook tea and serve breakfast to the family. The men proceed to the farm as women remain to do chores and the children head to school.

This area is highly vegetated with the crops grown by community members. The majority of people are small-scale farmers, growing sugar cane, maize, beans, and vegetables to eat or sell.

Some of the young men work as motorcycle or bicycle taxi drivers, called 'bodaboda' locally.

The village is found in a rural area. It is peaceful and most of the buildings are made of a mud block with iron sheet roofing. Few houses are roofed with grass.

Everyone returns home by the evening for dinner and goes to bed to rest for another day.

Collecting water is another daily task. The main water sources in the community are four open, unprotected wells. People lower buckets into the wells that once had pumps to gather water for drinking, bathing, and washing.

We noticed some households had tanks and containers that are used to harvest rainwater, but they were dry due to the lack of rain and many were rusting.

The Vilongo well we're focusing on has enough water to be used by the community, but the problem is that it is contaminated. People, especially children, are vulnerable to waterborne diseases since there are no safe water sources in the community.

"Water is a very big issue in Sukura Community. Because we lack clean water for drinking, we have been falling sick regularly," Mr. Joseph Lunani, a farmer, said.

"Our children are malnourished since we can't even irrigate our land to produce vegetables to supplement our diet."

Nearly all households have latrines, in the community. But they are often in poor shape. Most of them were dirty and did not have doors. The smell from the latrines is noticeable from a distance. Few homes had handwashing stations.

"Most of us don't take hygiene seriously because of lack of knowledge," Mrs. Elizabeth Barasa, a retired teacher, said.

"Children get sick because of something that can be avoided. So, if we are trained about hygienic measures, I am sure that our hygienic attitude will change for better."

The good news is that something can be done about it.

Here’s what we’re going to do:


Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least three days. This training will ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance. The facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation), group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations. One of the most important topics we plan to cover is the handling, storage, and treatment of water.

Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it’s consumed. Handwashing will also be a big topic.

Training will also result in the formation of a committee that will oversee operations and maintenance at the well.

Well Rehabilitation

Once we’ve cleaned out the well, we’ll construct a protective well pad and install a new stainless steel AfriDev pump. The community will then have a safe water source that will help make waterborne diseases and the other challenges posed by unclean water a thing of the past.

This project is a part of our shared program with Safe Water and Sustainable Hygiene Initiative (SAWASHI). Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (edited for clarity) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

September, 2019: Giving Update: Vilongo Community

A year ago, your generous donation helped Vilongo Community in Kenya access clean water.

There’s an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Vilongo. Month after month, their giving supports ongoing sustainability programs that help this community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Read more…

August, 2018: Water Restored in Vilongo Community

Water is flowing again from a hand-dug well in Vilongo, Kenya. People are thrilled about this development that has further unified them as a community. They also attended hygiene and sanitation training, and the water user committee has been strengthened to better take care of their well.

New Knowledge

This well was once used by the community members but ended up failing due to lack of proper maintenance. The Nirrah pump was later stolen, rendering the community completely unable to access water from the well. They had no choice but to go back to unprotected sources.

In the process of carrying out the baseline survey of this project, there was clear evidence that major aspects of water project sustainability were lacking. This included:

– A functional water user committee

– A sense of ownership of the project among the community members

Water user committee training

Our baseline household visits also revealed that people are not practicing good hygiene and sanitation. These facts prompted the hygiene and sanitation department to come up with a two-day training focusing on the formation and training of an effective water user committee and a general training on proper hygiene and sanitation for all community members.

We let the community decide on the best time for training so that we wouldn't interfere with other important things. Though it was a planting season, men and women came in good numbers. Everybody respectfully listened, contributed opinions, and participated in each activity.

We taught about waterborne diseases and the chain of contamination, as well as many different domains of hygiene: personal, household, water, and food. There were lots of different ways we communicated new ideas, but our favorites had community members working together and discussing new things.

Everyone working together to discern between good, bad, and in-between habits.

One of our activities had people work together to make a season calendar to record the most prevalent illnesses during each of the four seasons. Participants split up into groups to brainstorm these lists, and would present them to the rest of the groups. We then discussed the links between each season and the sicknesses that come with them. Most of these are from contaminated water and poor hygiene habits.

"During the training, I was able to realize some of the practices that were being done wrong in my household that exposed us to diseases. I will see to it that we change our behavior and attitude," Mr. Joseph Lumani said.

"I can now assure you that our lives will change for the better as a result of the knowledge we have acquired today."

The only challenge is that when the facilitator was attacked by ants during the middle of the community training. He was forced to remove his shoes and socks to try swatting away the ants before they climbed up his legs. He gained courage and continued to teach despite the painful bites he received from the ants.

Well Rehabilitation

We did not construct a new well pad from its very foundation, rather, we reconstructed the existing pad to seal cracks and any other openings. Community members helped gather sand that would be mixed with the cement, while we provided five bags of cement and a packet of waterproof cement. The waterproof cement was mainly used around the drawing point to prevent water damage. We installed the base of the new stainless steel AfriDev hand-pump so that it would be firmly sealed in the concrete.

The reconstructed pad was left to cure for three days, with the community members taking the responsibility of wetting the cement each morning so that it would dry without cracks.

The pump was installed on the fourth day, but the handle was detached pending our water quality analysis. The handle was reinstalled after the water quality analysis report indicated that the water was safe for drinking. We then flash chlorinated the well.

The community planned for a handing over ceremony so that we could celebrate together. During this ceremony, we also took the opportunity to reiterate some of the main points we taught during training. Some of the neediest families were recipients of new handwashing stations, too.

There was a total of five handwashing stations to distribute.

This well is a symbol of unity for the community. The project is located on the village elder's land, a place where community members often gather not just to draw water from the well but also to discuss other important issues affecting them.

"I would like to thank The Water Project and the entire staff at SAWASHI for the kind gesture of helping this community have access to clean and safe water once more. I am personally very grateful for this project and training since I have been a victim of waterborne diseases for a long time now," Mr. Lumani said.

"I now have hope that neither my family nor I will be visiting the hospital because of the same health issues."

What amazed us is how this community is so welcoming and ready to take responsibility of this project. Most residents in this community are not native to the area, recently having purchased land. They are one big family that cares about each other, regardless of their diverse cultural backgrounds.

"I am grateful for the kindness that The Water Project has shown to this community by bringing us a new pump so that we can draw clean and safe water like we used to before. I can say that the place looks even more beautiful than it was, and we promise that we are easily going to take good care of this new water pump because we have received firsthand training on how to do so," said Emily Naviswa.

Emily Naviswa

"We will continue to maintain a good relationship with the organization to ensure that this water point serves the community well. Thank you so much The Water Project and SAWASHI."

June, 2018: Vilongo Community Project Underway

Dirty water from open sources is making people in Vilongo Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

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.

Giving Update: Vilongo Community

September, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Vilongo Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Brian Injendi. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Vilongo Community.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Vilongo Community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

Since the completion of the water project in Vilongo Community last year, it is evident that there have been many improvements in the lives of people here.

One of the areas that improvement can be noticed is in the health of the community members. During our recent interviews with people in Vilongo, they confessed that ever since they started using water from the rehabilitated well, they had not been falling sick frequently like they used to.

It was also evident that they are using water from the well to grow some vegetables and practice irrigation and as a result, they have access to fresh vegetables despite the dry spell. This has allowed community members to achieve a more balanced diet which makes them strong and healthy. Since they are also not visiting hospitals frequently for the treatment of waterborne illnesses like they did before, they are reinvesting the money they used to pay in hospital bills for treatment and drugs in other areas.

This saved and reinvested money has led to the improved economic status of the people in Vilongo. These financial resources coupled with time saved fetching water means both the women and the young people are now engaging in income-generating activities like small business enterprises and brick-making. They are now earning some money to cater for their personal and family needs.

Since the initiation of the rehabilitated well in Vilongo, this community has been very cooperative and appreciative in every effort to make their water point functional. They have taken the training on hygiene and sanitation very seriously and implemented all that was on their action plan successfully. As a result, they are now experiencing positive changes in their community.

Mr. Moses Wamoja

"Since the project last year, as a community we have experienced some changes in different ways, such as in health, where the community members are now healthier unlike before when they used to consume unsafe water," said Mr. Moses Wamoja, a member of the water committee inVilongo.

"Before, there ware cases related to waterborne disease but now they are not [here] and the community is healthier. Also, there is a great change in the economic status of the community members, especially the youths and the women. Before the water project, both women and children used to spend most of their time looking for water but now that burden has been softened and they are saving a lot of time which they are either using on studies or income-generating activities."

Moses in front of bricks being burned before being sold

One of those youths is Brian Injendi, a 10-year-old boy who along with his family depends on the well for their daily water needs.

"Since the project was completed in our community, life has been so good and I am now very happy," Brian said.

"I am now improving in school performance because I have plenty of time to study unlike before. I also spend a lot of time playing with my friends and making new ones. I nowadays don't go very far to take my father's cattle to drink water at the river so I don't get tired, and so I help my mummy with some house chores and we are a happy family...There are no challenges that I face. [The main challenge we had] used to be water and now we have plenty of it."

Brian Injendi

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Vilongo Community maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Vilongo Community – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


The Merck Foundation Match
Leominster High School
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Clearwater Chapter
Christ Outreach Church Women of Faith
Auda's Campaign for Water
Elena's Campaign for a Village Water Well
Kate's Campaign for Water
WMS Robotics Team Water Fundraiser
Green Elementary's Water Fundraising

And 2 other fundraising page(s)
4 individual donor(s)