Project Status

Project Type:  Sand Dam

Program: Sand Dams in Kenya

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2015

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

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).


Vinya wa Mwau self-help group is a group of 25 members, 6 men and 19 women, with a committee of 9, 4 men and 5 women. The group was formed in 1998 and registered in the year 2002. The group is located in Mukimwani village with  a population of 711 people 208 men 209 women and 294 children. Sub location is Mukimwani, location Kalimani, Kisau division , Mbooni East sub county , Makueni county. The household mean members are 5.2 and the mean age of the members interviewed is 48.7   years ranging from 27 to 70 years years.

(Editor's Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people. This community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)

Reasons for group formation

The members came together to find ways they could lift each other up. Water availability was scarce and they wanted to find ways they could find water in their vicinity. Current group activities are merry go round (community fund-sharing method), they have plastic chairs which they hire among themselves, and tree nursery projects.

Economic activities

The community members said they rely on farming. Seventeen of the members said that farming is their main economic activity. Other economic activities in the region are livestock keeping and doing casual jobs.


The main water sources for the community is the river Kyathei which is less than 1km away, Ndumanu earth dam which is less than 1 km away, and the river Thwake which is 5km away. Everyone in the community relies on the river Thwake and the river Kyathei for drinking water. For household chores like cooking, washing and for livestock, 42% go to Ndumanu earth dam while 58% rely on river sources.

The people spend 2 to 3 hours each day in the river Kyathei during the dry season as they have to dig deep scope holes to get water. The earth dam is usually crowded, which is why they don’t use it for drinking purposes.


The mean acreage of the land under food production for the community members is   2.23 acres.

The members grow mainly food crops which are:

- maize

- pigeon peas

- cow peas

Food security in the region is affected by lack of reliable rainfall. A great majority of the people (84%) said that they plant and the rains usually end before their crops reach maturity leading them to eat the food while they are green in the shamba leaving them with no food to harvest and keep in store for the next season.

In the  last two year no members of the group had any training on improved farming practices. 10% said they had dug terraces in the last season and the reason was to conserve soil erosion. 90% said that they had not dug terraces and the reason was that they lacked knowledge on digging standard terraces in their farms.

Crops grown by the group in the last season were cow peas with a mean of 35 kg , sorghum with a mean of 36 kg, green grams with a mean of 3.5 kg, and Pigeon peas with a mean of 122 kg.

Tree planting

Fourteen of the members interviewed plant trees.

Survival of the trees planted is minimal. The farmers said that termite infestation and lack of reliable water for tree planting were the main reasons the survival was affected


The collection of local materials began in August of this year. Trenching of the sand dam began on September 14th and continued until October 1st. 24 community members participated in this construction process, which began on October 2nd and continued until the 28th.


The sand dam is complete and now maturing. The water table will rise as the sand builds up at the dam, but thanks to your generosity, the community is already benefiting from a new source of fresh, clean water!

We're just getting started, check back soon!

Project Photos

Project Type

Sand dams are huge, impressive structures built into the riverbeds of seasonal rivers (rivers that disappear every year during dry seasons). Instead of holding back a reservoir of water like a traditional dam would, sand dams accumulate a reservoir of silt and sand. Once the rain comes, the sand will capture 1-3% of the river’s flow, allowing most of the water to pass over. Then, we construct shallow wells on the riverbank to provide water even when the river has dried up, thanks to new groundwater reserves. Learn more here!




Project Sponsor - The Moxley Family Foundation
Harold J. Belkin Foundation
Kaplen JCC on the Palisades
Oak Island Presbyterian Church
Walnut Street School Cares
Data Abstract Solutions, Inc.
The Hermosillo Family
The K Foundation
Faith Chapel
Larissa Schultz's Fundraising Page
Temple's Treehouse Fundraising Page
First Baptist Church Mens Breakfast's Fundraising Page
56 individual donor(s)