This project is being implemented by our partner African Sand Dam Foundation, and includes the construction of a sand dam, a hand dug shallow well as well as agriculural activities including terracing, tree planting and the creation of a tree nursery and seed bank.
Below is unedited project information direct from our partner:
VINYA WA KYANGWASI SELF HELP GROUP BASELINE INFORMATION
BACK GROUND INFORMATION
The group was formed in the year 2009. The group was formed after 42 households came together to start the group. The group is located in Ivinganzia sub location, Kanthuni location, Kanthuni division and Kathonzweni District.
The main reasons for forming the group were:
• The group wished to have welfare activities that would seek to improve their living standards. By coming together the group would have merry go round activities that would provide the group with income to cater for their basic needs. The area suffers from acute poverty.
Challenges that are faced in the area
The main challenge that the community in the area faces is water shortage. It takes five hours (5) per day for women to fetch water. The main sources of water are Rivers Athi and Kyangwasi. The distance to river Athi is about 10 kilometres. This is the main water source during the dry seasons of July to November. River Kwa ngwasi only has water during the rainy seasons. The river has continued to be eroded away and this has made the time that water is available in the river channel to reduce from 6 months to less than two months. Most of the community members have resulted to fetch water from River Athi which is 10 kilometres away. The quality of water is poor since the river is heavily polluted. This has led to high incidences of water related and water borne diseases in the area.
River Athi is also a dangerous point for fetching water. It is highly infested with crocodiles. A number of our livestock and children have lost their lives as they fetch water from this water point.
Due to the lack of water availability in the area the community suffers other challenges. These are:
The main type of crops that the community farms include maize, cowpeas, green grams, sorghum and pigeon peas.
The area depends on rain fed agriculture. In the last four years the area has not received sufficient rains and this has led to intense famine and severe food insecurity. Apart from rain shortage the other reasons that have led to food insecurity are:
The group has a tree nursery. But the tree nursery has been established at river Kyangwasi . The group has to manage the tree nursery from this distance since it’s the only reliable water source that the group has and this has made tree planting in the area expensive.
Other challenges faced in area
Despite the challenges that the community faces they are hopeful that through the construction of sand dams they will be able to create water security in the area. This will be the door way to reducing poverty in the area. The group has dug two shallow wells that need to be installed with water pumps for them to be functional. The sand dams will improve the water table of the river channel thus creating a year round supply of water for the community.
So far the group has a demonstration plot whereby they are learning on their own on how to plant the drought resistant crops. From the demonstration plot the group has also been able to plant green grams and sorghum that they have sold and have generated income from such an activity. The group has also stored some seeds generated from the demonstration plot that they divide amongst themselves to plant in their farms but due to prolonged drought the seeds supply have been reducing. Also the increased prevalence of pesticides has destroyed high amounts of the stored seeds.
With the availability of water the community plans:
11/16/2012: Shallow well at Vinya wa Kyangwasi construction update
The community are making good progress on the shallow well, as these photos certainly show. We're expecting completion on this very soon.
10/09/2012: Shallow well construction - progress update
Progress is still ongoing on the shallow well construction. It seems the community have hit a hard rock, but they are continuing to hand dig through it, albeit slowly. Here's an update on progress from ASDF:
Though their dream of having a sand dam has been actualized they have working tirelessly to finish their shallow well in time before the rains. They have since encountered a very hard stone which has taken them quite some time before.
We'll bring you more updates on their progress just as soon as we can.
07/05/2012: Sand dam complete at Vinya wa Kyangwasi
ASDF and the community have completed the sand dam construction phase, which is great news! Another step along the way towards sustainable access to clean water!
06/12/2012: Sand dam construction update
We've been in close contact with African Sand Dam Foundation, and the sand dam is close to completion. This from them:
Vinya wa Kyangwasi Self Help Group
Work on this site is on the schedule and should complete by mid June.
Their sand dam is not yet complete but members are busy working hard daily to beat the deadline. This according to them is not a farfetched dream as only one wing of the dam is all that is remaining. They are optimistic that by the above date all the pending work will be complete.
So, great news. We'll post more here as soon as we have further details.
05/08/2012: Vinya Wa Kyangwasi project underway
We had a great meeting with our partner African Sand Dam Foundation today, and they have confirmed that this project is now underway. The materials have been gathered for the construction of the dam, and work is due to begin on site in the coming days. Great news!
ASDF are a Kenyan NGO that helps farmers in arid and semi arid lands gain access to clean water as well as improve their income and food security. Their mission is to enable communities to conserve soil and water by building sand dams, digging terraces, planting trees, and developing farms.
The African Sand Dam Foundation helps farmers in arid and semi arid lands gain access to clean water.
Clean water changes lives. Girls return to school. Women begin small businesses. Men are no longer too sick to work. Fields are watered and food supply becomes more reliable. Health returns and children grow up to be productive members of their community. The cycle of poverty is broken. Lives change.
"When water comes...everything changes." That's what our driver told us as we drove from town to town in Kenya. And we see the change every time a new well brings clean water.
New Sand Dam and Well Projects in Kenya
Project Type: Sand Dam and Shallow Well
Location: Central Kenya