plan 4509 Well Initiative 2012


The Samburu Project's 9 Well Initiative 2012 will bring the total number of wells drilled to 51. Each 70-meter well provides access to clean, safe drinking water to approximately 1,000 people.


he Samburu District is located in the Great Rift Valley, one of the driest places in Kenya. Annual rainfall is estimated at 400mm and is extremely erratic. Most rivers run dry for months at a time. The consequent challenges to health, sanitation and livelihoods present an urgent need for water in communities in the area.

Many Samburu women walk up to 20km each day in search of water and the water they find is often unclean, originating from gaping, hand-dug wells contaminated by wildlife and livestock. Drinking contaminated water can cause diarrhea and other waterborne illnesses, which are the leading causes of death in Samburu. Carrying heavy water containers for long distances has been linked to other health issues, including severe back problems and a high incidence of miscarriage. Spending the majority of their day searching for water leaves Samburu women with little time to develop income-generating businesses, care for their children, become more informed about their human rights, or send their children to school. Commonly, Samburu girls do not attend school because they are expected to join their mothers in this quest for water.

With the 40 wells The Samburu Project has drilled, more than 40,000 people now have access to clean, safe drinking water. As a result of their access to water, women have fewer health problems and have begun nourishing themselves and generating income through agricultural endeavors. The number of women engaging in farming and micro enterprise initiatives has grown from 54 to over 1,000 since Samburu Project wells became operational. Instead of solely hunting for water every day, girls can now attend school and become educated assets to their communities. Since the establishment of wells in Samburu East, the number of girls attending school has tripled.


Wamba, Archer's Post, Sere Olipi, Samburu East, Kenya


Primary Focus: Drinking Water - Households
Secondary Focus: Drinking Water - Community

People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 9,000

The average number of people served by The Samburu Project's wells is 1,000. This is roughly 200-250 households with an average of 4-5 members.

School Children Getting Water: 5,400

According to local government statistics, about 60% of the community members are school-aged children.

People Getting Sanitation: 9,000

Good sanitation is one of the most prominent effects of introducing sources of clean, abundant water to The Samburu Project's well communities.

People Getting Other Benefits: 9,000

With water, community members are able to improve their lives through activities such as farming and other enterprises. More children attend school. Women no longer spend most of their days searching for water--enabling them to spend more time caring for families and participating in income-earning activities.

Start Date: 2012-06-01

Completion Date: 2012-11-30

Technology Used:

The overall objective of The Samburu Project is to enhance the lives of the Samburu people in the villages where wells are drilled. By freeing women of the obligation of spending hours per day searching for water, and by ensuring that everyone has access to clean, safe drinking water, The Samburu Project has given women the opportunity to engage in other activities, given children the opportunity to go to school, and given everyone the chance to live more healthful lives. This success has inspired The Samburu Project to drill another 9 Wells in the area.

The Samburu Project works closely with local communities during every step of the process. Communities first apply to The Samburu Project community-based organization (CBO) for a well to be drilled in their community and once their application is accepted they work alongside The Samburu Project’s CBO and hydrogeologist to select a location for their well. Each community, represented by a women’s group, signs a contract agreeing to specific conditions and responsibilities including: clearing area for well site; collecting and delivering sand, concrete and hardcore; participating in maintenance, hygiene and sanitation workshops; creating a community fund for ongoing well maintenance.

The Samburu Project has had much success with our use of the Afridev Handpump. It is widely used across Africa and is attractive because of its simplicity and sustainability. Maintenance is easy and there is limited breakage. The most common repair issue is caused by the wearing away of the rubber parts. These are easily obtained, often at no cost, from the drilling company and can be replaced by trained members of the community.


The project is done in 4 Phases: Community Selection, Hydrogeologic Surveys, Drilling and Installation, and Hygiene, Sanitation, and Maintenance Workshops.

Community Organization:

The Samburu Project consider the wells to be the property and responsibility of the community from their inception. In addition to the community’s capacity during the drilling process, they are fully responsible for the maintenance of the wells. With the help of our Project Manager—a Samburu tribesman and local leader—each village forms a water committee which sees to it that the wells are maintained and access is granted fairly to community members. Each household contributes to a well-maintenance fund, which is used to buy parts in the event of a breakdown. The role of The Samburu Project is to monitor this process, providing backup when needed.

Government Interaction:

Before the well is drilled, the local Samburu Project CBO acquires a permit for drilling from the Water Resource Management Authority (WRMA), a branch of the Kenyan Ministry of Water. In addition, The Samburu Project's Project Manager, Lucas Lekwale is a member of the District Development Committee and the NGO Representative to the District.

Ancillary activities:

The Samburu Project supports and funds agricultural and greenhouse initiatives in its well communities. Using drip irrigation, community members form farming cooperatives (such as the Milimani Farm mentioned previously) which can generate up to $100,000 annually for the community.

Though these initiatives branch from the installment of a well, they are funded separately.

Other Issues:

Life for Samburu women is extremely difficult. Women and girls lack many basic human rights. Women are often considered the property of their husbands and rarely given opportunities to own goods or property. In some villages, girls are not permitted to go to school. The Samburu circumcise girls as a rite of passage. The Samburu also practice polygamy, so it is not uncommon for a man to have multiple wives. Violence against women is socially acceptable and often encouraged. Samburu women carry all the daily household burdens, including fetching water and firewood, caring for their children, building and maintaining their homes, tending to livestock, and cooking. The direst issue in Samburu is not HIV/AIDS, malaria, poverty or genital mutilation, however. It’s lack of clean water and facilities for proper sanitation. The Samburu Project's wells have provided a degree freedom that was previously unavailable to the women in these communities. Women are now able to spend less time on water, and more time on activities for themselves and their families.

Maintenance Revenue:

The community agrees by contract to pay for maintenance costs. Each well committee collects approximately $1,200 per year for this purpose. In order to ensure well functionality and monitor its use, The Samburu Project spends approximately $250 per year per well. This comes from a general fund, which is maintained by individual donations.

Maintenance Cost: $2,250


Wells undergo monthly inspections to assess repairs needed. At that time the community is asked to estimate the number of people using the well per day, and how much water is extracted.

Cost: $156,506

Each well costs approximately $16,834.

$1834 Community Contribution

Co Funding Amount: $140,000

These wells have been funded by the following donors:
Pittsburgh Children's Foundation
Nimick Forbesway Foundation
Woodside Wishing Well
Jacky Falkenberg
The Hoff Family
Ryan's Well Foundation/Rally4Life
The Hansford Family
Clear Blue Global Water Project

Community Contribution Amount: $16,506

Estimation based on labor contributed for clearing the site and collecting the sand, hard core, ballast and water needed to drill the well.

Fund Requested: $140,000

Name Status Completion Date Final Cost
D6W7: Ntepes FMC Well completed Jan 2013 16,850
D6W11: Sionta Well completed Jan 2013 16,850
D6W2: Lerata B Well completed Dec 2012 16,850
D6W6: Nesesiai Well completed Dec 2012 16,850
D6W5: Nairisha 2 Well completed Dec 2012 1,650
D6W3: Nakwamuru Well completed Dec 2012 16,850
D6W1: Lolgerded Well completed Dec 2012 16,850
D6W4: Sere Olipi Trading Centre Well completed Dec 2012 16,850
D6W12: Lkurroto Well completed Jan 2013 21,850