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The Water Project: Methovini Community -
The Water Project: Methovini Community -
The Water Project: Methovini Community -
The Water Project: Methovini Community -
The Water Project: Methovini Community -
The Water Project: Methovini Community -
The Water Project: Methovini Community -
The Water Project: Methovini Community -
The Water Project: Methovini Community -
The Water Project: Methovini Community -
The Water Project: Methovini Community -
The Water Project: Methovini Community -
The Water Project: Methovini Community -

Project Status

Project Type:  Sand Dam

Program: Sand Dams in Kenya

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2012

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/26/2019

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Community Profile

This project is being implemented by our partner African Sand Dam Foundation, and includes the construction of a sand dam 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:



The group was formed in September 2011.It has a membership of 38 members 20 male and 18 females. The group is found in Methovini village, Ivinganzia sub location, Kanthuni location, Kanthuni division and Kathonzweni District.

The reasons behind the formation of the group were:

Water insecurity

The main water sources in the area are in Rivers Kanyonga and Athi. Kanyonga River is situated 5 kilometres away from the community while River Athi is 8 kilometres away. It takes three hours to fetch water from River Kanyonga and 5 hours to get water from river Athi.

In order to access water from River Kanyonga one has to dig deep scoop holes of more than three feet deep. This is why it takes long. The water at this water point turns saline during the dry period. The main use of water from river Kanyonga is for livestock. Water is however available during the rainy season. Immediately after the rains end the water dries up leaving the community to fetch water from River Athi.

Women and children bear the burden of fetching water. In the dry seasons of the year that is from August to October school going children have to miss school in order to offer support in the fetching of water. At the school the children are forced to come with water that is meant to cook for them. In most occasions the water brought to schools is not clean and thus there is a number of water borne diseases experienced in the schools.

Due to the lack of water in the area;

– More time is spent in fetching water. Therefore, more efforts and resources are underutilised thus leaving poverty lines in the area at a high rate.

– Famine and drought. Most farmers depend on rain fed agriculture to grow crops. The lack of alternative methods for growing food has led to increased food insecurity in the area.

– During the dry period of the year most farmers experience severe loss of animals. This is because the animals lack water for drinking. The livestock sometimes go for three days without water. This has affected their health and quality.

– The tree planting program has also been affected. The lack of water has led to drying up of the trees that the farmers plant.


The main crops that the farmers grow include maize, cowpeas, sorghum, pigeon peas and green grams.

The main challenges to improved farming include:

– Increased incidence of pests and diseases. This has affected our harvests. The farmers do not harvest as required due to pre harvest looses.

– The farmers also practise poor farming methods. Most of the farming methods that the farmer’s practise cannot enable the farmers to have sufficient harvest. The farmers grow maize as the staple crop and have reduced crop varieties.

– Lack of good seeds for planting. Frequent droughts have affected the ability of the community to preserve seeds for their planting needs. Due to this the farmers have reduced the size of land under farming and only plant reduced sizes of land.


The group is currently doing a tree planting program. They however lack enough skills and knowledge to plant the trees. The lack of water in the area has also reduced the number of trees that the community can plant in a season. Termite infestation is also a big challenge to the tree planting program.


The community seeks to create water security through the building of sand dams. The aim of having the sand dam is to improve the availability of water for farming and improved incomes for the community. The community’s objective is to engage in commercial farming where they will have pieces of farms where they can grow crops for sale and for consumption.

The community also seeks to have knowledge and skills that can empower them so as to be able to have resilience against the changing weather patterns in the area.

Project Updates

04/03/2013: All According To Plan

We just posted the latest pictures from Munyuni, Kenya, showing the space behind their new sand dam completely filled with sand.  This might look like a problem if you don’t understand how sand dams work.  But see the paragraph below from our partners in the field explaining how this is all according to plan:

When sand dams are filled with sand evaporation is reduced to a minimum with the water stored below the sand. The sand filters the water clean and protects the water from parasite carriers such as mosquitoes and snails reducing the incidence of the worlds’ two biggest killers of children under five years; malaria and diarrhea.  Farmers are using water in the sand dams for domestic purpose, cooking, washing irrigated agriculture, and watering their livestock. By helping the communities to have less time spent in fetching water, more farmers have increased time to practise or engage in other activities that help in improving their social economic lifestyles.

Safer water, less disease, healthier crops.  That sounds like a good plan to us!  Thank you for your help!

The Water Project : kenya4022_sand-dam-filled-with-sand_january-2013-3

07/05/2012: Munyuni Sand Dam complete

ASDF and the community at Munyuni have completed the sand dam! This is fantastic news. Direct from our partner, African Sand Dam Foundation: 

“Work at Munyuni Self Help Group sponsored by our partners-The Water Project is now complete. Members of this group are elated that come the next rain season, water that has for years been running through the river closest to their village will be trapped where it’s needed most, rather than letting it flow to the ocean, then spend 10 hours later walking to the next nearest source, River Athi which is over 15 Kms away!”

Charles Kithisya Ngundo, the chairman says:

“We mostly fetch water from scoop holes which we fence around after use and at times people trespass and allow their livestock to drink from the same holes. Other times the scoop holes dry up posing a great challenge. That will however stop once this sand dam traps water”

The Water Project : munyuni-shg-sand-dam-5

06/12/2012: Progress update on Munyuni Self Help Group

We’ve got a quick update from ASDF on this project – construction is about to start, as the community has everything in place. This from ASDF:

Munyuni Self Help Group 

Work at this site is at the preparatory stage though nearly all of the required local materials are ready. What’s currently happening is excavation of the foundation and wing walls. Members are determined to fully participate in the project so as to solve their main problem which is water and utilize it fully once it’s harnessed.

We’ll have more on this exciting phase of the project in the coming weeks. 


The Water Project : munyuni-sd-during-excavation-2-2 The Water Project : munyuni-sd-during-excavation-5-2

05/08/2012: Munyuni construction scheduled to start

African Sand Dam Foundation are satisfied that the community at Munyuni are now in a position to begin construction of the sand dam. Expect more info soon as things really get moving!   The photo accompanying this update shows what we can expect to see at Munyuni in the coming days and weeks.  

The Water Project : munyuni-shg-members-work-2

Project Photos

Project Type

Sand Dam

Seasonal streams (and the sand they carry) are trapped by dams, replenishing the water table and allowing for adjacent hand-dug wells. Almost completely led by community-supplied sweat and materials, and under the supervision of engineers, dams are strategically placed within those dry river-beds. The next time it rains, flood-waters are trapped.

With a sand dam, this trapped sand begins to hold millions of gallons of rainwater. Soon enough, sand reaches the top of the dam, allowing water to continue downstream – where it meets the next dam. The result? A regional water table is restored.