A Year Later: Matoma Nyumba Kumi Sand Dam

December, 2017

The water from the sand dam has enabled me to make bricks for constructing my house, and I sold 500 at eight shillings each and I got a total of 4,000 shillings. I used the money to pay for my school fees.

A Year Later: Matoma Nyumba Kumi Sand Dam

A year ago, generous donors helped build a sand dam for the Matoma Nyumba Kumi 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 Boniface Mavindu and Titus Mbithi with you.


People used to walk four kilometers for two hours to find water. Once there, they’d spend up to three hours lined up to draw water. There has been such a significant change since the sand dam brought water near. Time that was initially wasted in search of water is now used for other economic activities like terracing farms.

Community members can now plant trees and know that they will survive the dry season. For every five trees planted, no more than one would survive. Currently, four out of five trees survive the dry season thanks to water from the sand dam.

A group member stands by the plants he’s been watering with water from the sand dam.

Agnes Kyengo is the treasurer for her self-help group, which means she also oversees any money raised for sand dam and well maintenance. She met with us at the dam to talk about how it’s changed her life. “Since this project was completed, people have been asking to join our group because of the benefits they have seen: they’ve seen water brought closer to home, and the various trainings and exchange visits that we have been exposed to are things they’d love to take part in. Fruit production has increased in the community because we have been in a position to water our fruit trees. Some have borne fruits while others are almost getting to the stage of bearing fruits, and we have been trained on grafting; soon we will be the leading suppliers of fruits in the region. Our income has increased as a result of practicing vegetable farming because we water the kale, spinach, and onions at our kitchen gardens using the water from the dam. We sell some of these vegetables to get money to pay school fees, buy clothes for our children and other needs. These vegetables are consumed by our families too, which helps improve our health. The meals have increased from two meals a day to three,” she shared.

Ngei Muthoka

We met 17-year-old Ngei Muthoka to hear his perspective. He said, “Since the project completion, my tree nursery has increased in production due to water availability. Of the 50 trees I planted, 45 have survived. I am grateful for this project, and I hope in the near future I will be earning income once I am out of school.

The water from the sand dam has enabled me to make bricks for constructing my house, and I sold 500 at eight shillings each and I got a total of 4,000 shillings. I used the money to pay for my school fees. My parents were happy because the money they were to pay for my school fees they used to meet other needs such as clothing my siblings.” But he continued by saying, “The water availability… is periodic, and at times we are forced to travel… to fetch water for both household use and watering tree nurseries.”


This young sand dam will continue to mature through the rainy seasons, building up sand and storing even more clean water, which will make the environment greener and lives healthier.

Most of our other southeastern Kenya projects are like this too; they are 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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