A Year Later: Kwa Mutunga Sand Dam

December, 2017

We have planted vegetables at our homes which have improved nutrition for our families and they also fetch good income for buying other basic needs like clothes and paying school fees.

A Year Later: Kwa Mutunga Sand Dam

A year ago, generous donors helped build a sand dam for the Kwa Mutunga Self-Help Group in Kenya. Because of these gifts and our monthly donors, partners are able to 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 partners Titus Mbithi and Mutheu Mutune with you.

People here used to have to travel to Kikuu River which is four hours one way. Now, people living in this area have their own sand dam that draws other people living as far as three kilometers away. The water is safe for drinking, which has particularly benefitted their livestock. There used to be so little water available that livestock would die during the dry seasons.

People were trained on how to take care of their drinking water and since then, they have been seeing minimal cases of waterborne diseases. The project has now been supplying them with water throughout the year so that children are cleaner and the environment is greener.

Though there is a hand-dug well, people still use scoop holes in the riverbed to get water for cleaning and watering livestock.

We met self-help group member Scholastica Kyalo, who told us “The training improved farming methods, and the farmers have been able to get better yields especially because of terracing and the use of organic farming. Health and hygiene has also improved, because before the project we could skip days without taking a bath. The children look healthy and smart compared to the past few years. We have planted vegetables at our homes which have improved nutrition for our families and they also fetch good income for buying other basic needs like clothes and paying school fees. The environment has also changed, and we hope to see it change in the next few years.”

Scholastica Kyalo with Field Officer Mutheu Mutune

Her daughter Ndungwa Kyalo had similar things to say. “Before, washing my clothes was a nightmare because water from Kikuu River was very salty and the distance to water source has decreased compared to before when we could walk for long distances in search of water. I have been using this water to bathe and wash my clothes. My personal hygiene has improved… My school performance has increased because I don’t waste a lot of time going to fetch water. Instead, I use the time to do my homework. I use the water from the sand dam to water my vegetables such as onions, kales, and tomatoes which are very good.”

Ndungwa Kyalo

Our visit proved extremely valuable as we learned that this hand-dug well dries up on occasion. Water is still available in holes dug right by the sand dam but because of severe drought at the turn of the year, even those dried up for a few months. Ndungwa reports that without water at Kwa Mutunga’s sand dam, people either buy bottled water or make the long trip to Kikuu River. However, Mrs. Kyalo noted that their young sand dam will continue to mature through more rainy seasons, building up sand and storing even more clean water which will make the environment greener and lives healthier. We will continue to work with this community to ensure clean drinking water in the future.

Most of our other southeastern Kenya projects are like this too; they are young systems that need time to mature in order to provide clean, reliable water throughout drought. We look forward to this happening here, and are excited to monitor the transformation!

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 four times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.

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