Vinya wa Mwau Sand Dam Project

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Sand Dams in Kenya

Latitude -1.58
Longitude 37.56

500 Served

Project Status:

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Stories and 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!

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

11/18/2015: Vinya wa Mwau Sand Dam Complete

And so quickly, we receive news from our partner on the field that the Vinya wa Mwau sand dam is complete! It is such exciting information that the dam will begin to mature; building up sand and soaking up water to provide a sustainable, safe resource for the community. None of this would have been possible without your generosity.

Please take a moment to enjoy the updated pictures of the project results! You will notice that another project was completed beside the sand dam: Vinya wa Mwau Shallow Well. This well will access the water source that the dam provides.

The Water Project, Vinya wa Mwau Community and Self-Help Group Thank You for unlocking their great potential.


The Water Project : kenya4390-01-group

11/17/2015: Vinya wa Mwau Sand Dam Underway

We are excited to verify that construction for the Vinya wa Mwau sand dam has begun. Our partner on the field shares that there has been great community participation every step of the way. The community’s self-help group has been doing a great job making community improvements and helping organize this construction project. You can find an updated report that includes information about the self-help group and their community, pictures, and GPS coordinates. We will let you know as soon as we have another update.

The Water Project and Vinya wa Mwau Self-Help Group Thank You for making abundant, safe water a possibility in this community.

The Water Project : kenya4390-01-farm-preparation

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Sand Dam
Location:  Central Kenya
ProjectID: 4390
Install Date:  12/31/2015

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 12/20/2017

Visit History:
05/30/2016 — Functional
07/12/2016 — Functional
12/16/2016 — Functional
05/22/2017 — Functional
09/06/2017 — Functional
12/20/2017 — Functional


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)

Want to start your own campaign? Learn more »

Country Details


Population: 39.8 Million
Lacking clean water: 43%
Below poverty line: 50%

Partner Profile

Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF) supports self-help groups to harvest and conserve water through construction of sand dams & shallow wells, rock catchments and school roof catchments.