Where is Samburu?

Samburu is located in central Kenya, about an hours flight north of the capital, Nairobi. Kenya is a mid-sized country positioned along eastern coast of Africa, south of Ethiopia and north of Tanzania.


Why help people in Africa and not in the US?

While there is need everywhere, the dollars to people served creates a big impact in Africa. Just because we are working in Africa doesn't mean we are helping here as well. Local is Global. If people's basic needs are not met, there will not be peace in the world.

--Wangari Mathai, Kenyan Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, 2004

Why don't the Samburu leave the region since they are facing such a difficult challenge to a good quality of life?

Leaving Samburu is not an option. They are living on their land similar to Native American Indians living on a reservation. This land is their birthright.

Are there plans for expansion outside of Samburu?

Not at the moment. Because of our narrow focus on the Samburu Region, we have formed a special relationship with the community. This allows us to make sure our wells continue to provide water long after they are drilled. It also allows us to offer other services to our well communities who are looking to tackle future problems. However, long term, there are possibilities of expansion within Kenya.

Why the Samburu region of Kenya and not other drought stricken areas?

Samburu is an area of extreme poverty where the water issue is pervasive and the center of the inspiration for our founder.

Why doesn't the Kenyan government drill wells for its people?

They do but like all governments, their system has flaws and so people need assistance. However, there is a new decentralized government and we have been in discussion the new governor about collaborating with the local government on future projects.

How do you know the wells are actually being drilled?

A number of ways. We work with a capable team on the ground headed by our Project Manager, Eric Lekolii who oversees the drilling team to insure that they are completing the work as contracted. We complete reports about each well accompanied by photographs. The US teams makes periodic site visits to the wells and TSP supporters and visitors also visit the wells. Each well is documented on our web site with a GPS coordinate and extensively documented on Peer Water Exchange (www.peerwater.org).

How are the wells being maintained?

After receiving maintenance training, the communities are responsible for maintenance, hygiene and sanitation. TSP is available to assist in maintenance if need be. Communities are responsible for paying for spare parts as well as time of our skilled well technician.

What happens when a well breaks?

Generally, the community can repair the well. If they need assistance, they contact the TSP Kenya team who is there to help, with spare parts and labor!

How much does it cost to drill a well?

TSP charges $22,000. to pay for all costs associated with drilling a well, complying with the water regulatory agencies in Kenya and insuring it’s continued operation into the future.

What does the $22,000 per well represent in operational costs?

Nothing. As all of the costs are programmatic costs.

Does the cost of drilling encompass monitoring, management and replacement if needed?


Aren't there big organizations that would do a better job of drilling wells?

No. Being a small organization we concentrate our efforts in this specific region and have built strong relationships within the communities we serve. We are a “specialty shop.” Our ongoing presence in the region gives us a solid reputation in the area over larger NGOs.

Does TSP focus on others areas outside of water?

Though our main focus is drilling wells, occasionally we also engage in projects to support our existing well communities in pioneering agricultural, micro-finance, and educational initiatives.

How quickly do the people of Samburu see and benefit from the TSP wells?

Once the well is drilled and the pump installed, the benefit is immediate. Our well communities no longer have to spend their days in search of clean water. In the longer term, communities can start to develop areas of their lives like education and food security.

How long will the wells last?

As long as they are maintained properly and without any unforeseen catastrophic events they can last indefinitely. Of the 100+ wells drilled so far, we have only lost three to floods.

How are donors updated on how the money is allocated?

Donors receive updates and photographs throughout the well drilling process. The Samburu Project also publishes an annual report sharing important updates on our work from the previous year. We have periodic newsletters that updates all donors and supporters on well drills and the TSP website and social media pages provide current updates on all TSP activities.

Do the people of Kenya appreciate the work we do?

Yes! They tell us through their songs and dance and send all donors and supporters a loud “ashe oleng” (that’s ThankYou in Samburu language). To read some testimonials visit our Samburu Stories blog.

Are we inserting ourselves into a situation too far remote from the US?

No. Our team is local and the communities seek assistance from us.

How deep are our wells?

Approximately 70 meters (230 feet).

What kind of hand pump do we use?

Afridev hand pumps.

How do we identify where the water is located?

We utilize the services of an experienced and respected hydro-geologist. Since working with TSP, his success rate has been 94%.

How many people benefit from each well?

Approximately 1,000.

 Water Facts

1. 663 million people lack access to safe water supplies; approximately one in ten people.

2. Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.

3. That means 4,500 children die each day worldwide due to the lack of clean, safe drinking water.

4. Diarrhea, not AIDS, malaria or measles, is the leading cause of death among children under the age of 5 in Samburu, Kenya.

5. The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than AIDS, Malaria or War.

6. An American taking a five minute shower uses more water than a typical person in the developing world uses in a whole day.

7. Investment in drinking water and sanitation would result in 272 million more school attendance days a year.

8. Investment in safe drinking water and sanitation contributes to economic growth. The estimated return is between $3 - $34 for each $1 invested.

Samburu Facts

1. The Samburu tribe numbers approximately 250,000 people who practice a nomadic, pastoral lifestyle.

2. Samburu-land measures 8,000 sq. mi., located approximately 250 miles north of Nairobi, Kenya.

3. Samburu women walk up to 12 miles every day looking for water and often return home to their children with nothing.

4. If they are lucky enough to find water, it is most likely contaminated, originating from hand-dug wells.

5. Girls do not attend school because they are expected to join their mothers in this quest for water.

6. With clean water, it becomes possible to impact other aspects of community life including education, food security, healthcare,

income generation and women’s empowerment.

TSP prides itself on being a community-based, grassroots project, working directly with the people who live in the communities we