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).
This shallow well project is only possible because of another project also going on in the same area. A sand dam has been constructed that will cause the water table in the area to rise. To see the sand dam project, click here.
Kiluta self-help group, in Ngaa area of Matiliku region, was formed in 2009. The aim of forming the group was to fight a common enemy that has afflicted the area for many years: an acute water shortage. So acute has this problem been that the members feel it is responsible for their poverty. They have been grounded, their entire lives made to revolve around the search for water.
There are three main sources of water for the people of Ngaa area. Kikuu River is one of them. It is approximately 4 kilometers away and it would take a member around 5 hours to go, fetch water and get back home. The other option is to buy water from the chief’s camp in Matiliku Market. One jerrican costs five shillings and one has to pay for a motor bike to transport the water to their home. This costs between 150 shillings and 200 shillings depending on one’s proximity to the market. It’s quite a costly affair.
The last and most preferred option is to fetch water at Kwa Mukuti Scoop Holes. This is along the Ikuma River and is quite close to their homes. The problem is the water takes time to sieve into the well and the people are forced to wait long hours to fill their containers. It takes about thirty minutes to fill one twenty-litre jerrican. Being the closest source of water for the community, everybody fetches water there and thus there are long queues that one has to wait out in order to fetch water. They fetch water late into the night, sometimes till the wee hours of the morning. This becomes very risky, especially for the women, who are exposed to security threats, the danger of animal attacks and other such risks.
The members of Kiluta Self-Help Group, are confident that the situation will change with the construction of sand dams. The sand dam recently constructed nearby transforms the area by raising the water table. The raised water table enables the construction of this shallow well, providing a safe, clean, close source of water for household and agricultural use. They hope to engage in irrigation farming and plant vegetables which they may sell and generate income for the group. They will set up tree nurseries and a demo farm for the group. Individually, the members could make bricks to sell. The prospects are endless!
A distribution of seeds and tree seedlings was conducted at the end of June. With the help of these seeds, Self Help Group members will continue to use the sustainable farming skills such as terracing and planting of specific plant species that help fight erosion along the river banks, where some of the farms are located. The distribution not only helps thwart off soil erosion but also assists farmers in growing their farms to a point where they can grow a surplus well beyond subsistence farming and sell in markets for extra income.
The construction was scheduled during a rainy season, so the shallow well could not be finished on time. Workers also discovered hard bedrock that prevented further excavation. However, since this is a good site, the depth is adequate for water to filter into the dam.
The pump was not installed right away because the well was surrounded by rainwater received in May and June. Workers were forced to wait until September to complete this project.
Three workers excavated the well over the course of two months, March and April. This excavation project took two full weeks of work.
Materials were collected by nine community members in April.
It took one week for six people to wall in the well. This was completed on April 30th.
The pump installation was delayed. It was finally installed in the month of September.