This project is a part of our shared program with Africa Sand Dam Foundation. Our team is pleased to directly share the report below (edited for clarity, as needed).
The group was formed in the year 2014. The group has a membership of 24 people comprising of 17 males and 7 female. Initially the members of the group were members of Kee Self-help group which borders the group. The members pulled out of the group as majority of the members come from the same village of Yaunde which has a population of 342 people. Due to the high demand of water in the village, the existing water sources that had been constructed by Kee SHG could not meet this demand. The group learned a lot and more and began mobilizing needed resources. After organizing, they decided to request support from ASDF as an independent group.
Reasons for group formation
• Starting of a merry go round financial support system. This enables community members to support each other on socio-economic issues which related to small loans and savings.
• Water problem. In the months of July to September the community members experience water problem in the area. Through coming together the group wished to a have sand dams along their river channels which would enable them to also engage in farming as economic activity to grow their incomes.
• Soil and environment conservation. The group wanted to dig terraces that would conserve soil on their farms and dig tree holes that they would plant trees in the farms to prevent soil erosion.
• Improve their knowledge on farming and income generating activities through trainings and exposure.
The main source of water is River Tawa. The distance of the water source from their homes is 3 km. The community only depend on river Tawa for water. During the dry season they face acute water shortage in the area. They spend 4 hours and above in the dry season due to long queues at the scoop hole.
They are many donkeys at the water point which are used to fetch water thus making long queues. "Most of us wake up early in the morning around 5 am in order to go and fetch water in order to return home by 7am. The children will also at times accompany us to the water points so as to get water to take to school. This makes them tired by the time they get to the schools and can’t concentrate well." - Mueni Peter
"Once we construct the dam in the river channel near us we will get water easier within shorter distance and use it for farming. The river channel usually has lots of water which we want to harvest and store for future use." - Paul Mutua.
The main crops the community grows are:
• pigeon peas
Reasons for poor harvest
• Lack terraces. Most of the farms their lack terraces which prevent soil erosion thus maintaining soil fertility which supports crop production. Also the farmers lack tools which are used for terracing and they cannot afford them. The lack of training and knowledge on how to dig the terraces reduces the ability of farmers to dig terraces which can last for more than two seasons hence the recurrent expenditure of repairing and redoing terraces each season discourages them from digging them
• Unreliable rainfall pattern. The community rely on rain fed agriculture. Unreliable rainfall in the area has led to poor harvest hence food insecurity.
• Late planting. Due to lack of seeds forces the farmers to plant late after the onset of rains leading to poor harvest.
Community members plant various trees which include:
• Paw paws
• Blue gum
They face challenges in tree planting:
• Water problem. Due to lack of water the survival rates still remain low as trees dry up especially during the dry season.
• Termite infestation. Farmers lack the skills to control the termites and the termite chemicals thus most of the trees not surviving.
The shallow well began on 4/05/2015. The shallow well has been dug 13 ft
The shallow well was dug by the group members. Most days 17 or 18 people worked together on the well.
The main challenge in constructing the well was the unavailability of sand needed for the project as the group had to buy it.
The well pump was installed June 11th, to the great joy of the community.
This shallow well is only possible because of another water project in the same community. The construction of a sand dam causes the water table in the area to rise, enabling this hand dug shallow well to provide safe water for this community. To see the sand dam, click here.