This project is a part of our shared program with Africa Sand Dam Foundation. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).
Because this sand dam is being constructed, another project is made possible in the same location. A shallow well is being dug which will only be a success because the sand dam will help raise the water table in the area. To see the shallow well project, click here.
The group has 26 members with 10 men and 16 women .The group was formed in the year 2013 and registered in 2014.It is located in Ndumbu village with a population of 75 male,130 women and 250 children. Mangani sub location with 1800 people, Kisau location, Kisau Division Mbooni East district Makueni County.
The average household size is 6.3 members and an average age of 47.18 years.
• Small business
• Livestock keeping
Reasons for group formation
Working alone one cannot do much therefore the members saw that the by forming a group they would be able to solve some of the needs that they were facing alone at their various home. They face water shortage therefore began by collecting materials and constructed a sand dam to raise the water table. They have a merry go round programme going on in the group.
The main source of water for the group is Waani river.
50% of the members interviewed travel a distance of less than 1 km, 31% distance of 1-2 km, and 19% travel a distance of 2-3 km respectively. All the members queue for more than 30 minutes each day during the dry season for water with 44% queuing for 1-2 hours, 44% queue for 1-2 hours, while 12 % queue for 30min-1hour.The members said that they spend more than two hours each day in search of water. This is because though some members are near the water source they have queue for a long time in the river as the water table during the dry season is low. This makes the have to dig deep scope holes to get to the water. Due to lack of sufficient water they said that small business is affected as they do not get to open their work in time because first they have to go and get water. The river supports the whole location and hence there are many people getting water from the river.
The community rely on rain agriculture for food production. They grow food mainly for subsistence. The area under food production is 3.34 acre.
The main food crops grown are
• Pigeon peas
• Green grams
Challenges to food production
• With the change in climate the communities said that the rainfall is not reliable any more. The rainfall is usually erratic and unreliable.
• Lack of seed. They do not have seed to plant timely and their cost is high in the agro vets shop of which some of the members are not able to afford.
• All the members said that they had not had training in the last two years on improved farming practices. This means that they continue to practise the old methods of planting which are not able to yield much with the change in climate.
81% of the members plant trees while 19% said that they do not plant trees.
Challenges faced in tree planting program are:
1. Termite. The trees planted are infested by termite and they do not have cash to buy the insectides to control the termite.
2. Lack of knowledge on tree management. The members said that at times they dry because they are not well taken care of.
3. Lack of water in the dry season. Lack of enough water lead drying up especially in the dry season.
PREPARATION FOR SAN DAM CONSTRUCTION
There were delays in the preparation for Nzalu Sand Dam as unseasonal rains prohibited self help group members from collecting the local materials needed for construction. As of beginning of July the group has now started to collect the stones and sand needed for construction. As you can see from the photos, the stones are collected and broken by hand, which can be demanding physical work, but the group is determined to see the sand dam begun. We will keep you updated as we receive more updates from the field.
After some delays, Nzalu Self Help Group was finally able to begin construction on the sand dam for their community. One of the major challenges faced was a difficulty in finding all of the needed materials. The rocks and other materials needed were not available in the immediate area of the dam, so they had to be brought in from 8km away, one truck load at a time. Community members raised funds for this task by selling livestock and other possessions. The sacrifice is significant, but clean water is such a necessity.
In the face of difficulty, the people of Nzalu persevered, and that sand dam is now complete. Now the process of maturing begins. As rains come and wash water down the dry river bed, it will pick up sand, and then deposit that sand on the upstream side of the dam. As the dam fills with sand, that sand holds on to water like a sponge, raising the water table in the area. Our partner will continue working with this community during and after the maturation process, helping with sanitation and hygiene training and improving farming techniques.
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HELPED MAKE THIS PROJECT POSSIBLE!