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).
Welcome to the Community
The members of Matoma Nyumbi Kumi Self-Help Group came together to find a solution to their water problems by sharing resources and constructing new water points. Matoma Nyumbi Kumi means "10 jerrycans" in Swahili. They constructed a sand dam in 2014, though without knowledge on how to do so properly. The group members want to control soil erosion in the area, and have started doing so by building terraces on their farms. They are all farmers who either keep livestock or cultivate fruits and vegetables, with the majority growing fruit trees. These farmers then sell the fruit tree saplings. Without water, the farmers' opportunities are suppressed and income is lowered. They have a merry-go-round project (a local fund-sharing program) which encourages them to meet frequently. In the case a member is not feeling well, they help each other in catering for medical expenses. Mumbuni Village is home to 400 people.
This sand dam will be the second that this group is implementing with us. The first official sand dam was completed in the beginning of 2015, and is still maturing. A hand-dug well was also built in order to give locals an even safer water point (the water will grow clearer as the dam matures by building up more sand). The sand dam has proven a huge asset to agriculture in this area. Just last year, the group was able to plant 800 fruit tress! However, the first sand dam and hand-dug well are too far (over 1.5 km) for some of the community members, and so they will implement the new sand dam further along the river. With just one sand dam, long lines are the norm. A second dam will reduce the crowds at the water points and provide a sustainable supply of water for everyone in the community. Some families can't even afford a reservoir tank for water storage, so they have no choice but to fetch water on a daily basis.
100% of households have a pit latrine. The conditions of these latrines vary according to a family's income level. Families that have more money invest in a deeper pit, while families that don't have much cannot. Most of the pits we saw during our visit were almost full. Most women had a dish rack and clothesline to dry their families' things, but we only counted eight hand-washing stations. This certainly isn't enough for 400 people!
Each household has a designated compost pit where they dispose of their waste. The compost is then used to increase soil fertility on farms.
The group is in their second year of working with ASDF, and in the first year, the group was trained on hygiene and sanitation to increase awareness on waste disposal, hand-washing, personal hygiene and water treatment. With the availability of water, the community is able to practice some of the learnt concepts. Farmer and mother Ann Muia says "With water close to our homes we have improved cleanliness. Our children bathe daily and go to school in clean uniforms. More training on how to treat water is needed..."
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training
This group of people is made up of many elderly members, so a serious refresher training is planned. We are planning to invite more young people than last time, so that they can learn and remind their parents and grandparents about good health practices. Training will take two days, and will focus on water treatment.
Plans: Sand Dam
Community members are doing a great job taking care of their current sand dam, as can be seen in the pictures. The sand dam raised the water table within good access of the hand-dug well, so water will be available year round. This second dam will bring a sustainable source of water to people further away in this community. Another hand-dug well will also be built adjacent to the new dam (click here to see!).
Farmer Veronica Mutungar says that "The first sand dam we built last year has helped in providing us with water. We still are going to construct more sand dams to have more water for all our needs." The sand dam is projected to be 22.1 meters long and 4.4 meters high.
The community will be involved in all phases of project management and will be consulted in the planning stage to identify the sand dam site most convenient for all. The community will also be involved in the implementation and monitoring stage, the collection of local materials and provision of labor during construction. The community will also help along the legal processes for registration of the projects through signing agreements with landowners. The community will be able to participate in the maintenance of the project, always ensuring that the sand dam is functional.