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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

Community Profile & Stories

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

Kiluta Self-Help Group is from Matiliku Village of Makueni County. 1500 people live in this area, but only 26 members are part of the self-help group. The Kiluta Self-Help Group is in its second year of helping their community by implementing water projects and receiving farming aid through ASDF and TWP. In its first year, the group was able to construct its first sand dam and shallow well. The group has already enjoyed the benefits of the first sand dam constructed! (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. That’s why second projects, third, and beyond are so important for densely populated areas!)

Water Situation

The sand dam provided constant, reliable water throughout last year. The community no longer has to walk three kilometers in search of water. The community has also been able to generate income from vegetables grown using the sand dam’s water. The community plans to have more dams to give all of its members equal access to water. The construction of this new dam will enable more members to have water closer to home, and allow more users to get water at any given time.

Locals tote 20-liter jerrycans to the hand-dug well that was installed adjacent to the first sand dam. Once home, water is stored in pots meant for different uses such as cooking and drinking.

Water coming through the sand dam has improved a lot since it was first installed last year. The water must still be boiled before drinking, but it is expected to make even greater improvement as the dam collects more sand, creating a natural filter. The biggest issue is that this hand-dug well is still over four kilometers away for some community members; a new sand dam will bring water close to home.

Sanitation Situation

Kiluta Self-Help Group has not only benefited from a first year project, but has also benefited from hygiene and sanitation training. They learned the importance of having and using a latrine, and thus 100% of households currently have a latrine. One quarter of homes have a hand-washing station, and over half have useful tools like dish racks and clotheslines. Many of the group members are farmers, and highly value having a compost pit dug behind their homes.

Since that training, the community’s awareness of health has greatly improved. Now, some families have hand-washing stations. Most have a bathing room so that they can clean up on a daily basis. Water is integral in both personal and household hygiene, so more water will provide the opportunity for cleanliness. Local farmer and self-help group member George Muthiani says, “We have seen great improvement in terms of water supply from the first sand dam. Our aim is to have more sand dams, hence more water is clean for use at our homes.”

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Review

A refresher training will be conducted for one day, to check on and ensure that concepts learned last year are still being implemented today.

Plans: Sand Dam

The sand dam is projected to be 27.5 meters long and 4.8 meters high. It will be at a location further down the river, closer to community members who had trouble accessing the first sand dam. The area was chosen by the community, and we have confirmed that there is enough base rock and stable river banks to support a sand dam.

The self-help group is also building a hand-dug well adjacent to the dam that will give them safe access to water (click here to see the well project).

Recent Project Updates

11/15/2017: A Year Later: Kiluta Sand Dam

A year ago, generous donors helped build a sand dam for the Kiluta Self Help Group in Kenya. Because of these gifts and our monthly donors, partners are able to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from partners Mutheu Mutune, Joe Kioko and Titus Mbithi with you.

The Water Project : 4466_yar_2

09/13/2016: Kiluta Sand Dam Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the members of the Kiluta Self-Help Group and their families in Kenya have a new source of safe, clean water. A new sand dam has been constructed on a local river, which will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water. The self-help group members have also received training in sanitation and hygiene, and plan to share what they learned with their families and neighbors. You made it happen, now help keep the water flowing! Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this sand dam and many other projects.

The report below from our partner gives the latest details of the project. We also just updated the project page with new pictures. Make sure to click on the “See Photos & Video” tab to check them out!

Project Result: Reviewing Important Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held at a self-help group member’s home. Attendance was above average; 20 of the 26 group members met with us. They actively participated in the review. Everyone excitedly discussed the changes that have happened over the past years as families practice the things they learned. On the other hand, they talked about the challenges in practicing healthy behavior, such as maintaining latrines and hand-washing stations.

We reviewed how diseases spread and how to prevent water contamination. Water treatment was a highlight, with us teaching that not all clear water is clean water. It should always be boiled before drinking to ensure safety. We are committed to regularly testing the quality of the water from shallow wells near sand dams, to be sure it is safe to use, and investigate sources of contamination if needed.

We consider this day of review a huge success. Everybody remembered what they had been taught a year before, and shared their huge strides in hygiene and sanitation. Helen Munyao was at training and said, “I never used to treat water. I thought clear water is clean water. The training has helped us to put extra effort in treating water.”

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Project Result: Sand Dam

Construction for this sand dam began on June 13th.

In comparison with the first sand dam Kiluta Self-Help Group constructed, the process went smoothly. Since the group already knew what would be required of them, they had gathered materials ahead of time. These included sand, stones, and water.

The community put in eight hours a day for five days a week to complete the dam. Since materials were gathered in advance, construction only took a total of 18 days. It ended up being 4.8 meters high and 31.1 meters long.

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Farmer Muteti Muthama has witnessed the change sand dams brings to his community. After the first dam, the group was able to plant a vegetable garden nearby that’s been generating income. Mr. Muthama also realizes that “with the additional sand dam, members who were far from the first sand dam have a source closer to get water. We will not have to make long trips to get water!”

The group plans to monitor how water is gathered at the sand dam. Scoop holes are for livestock and domestic use, and the adjacent hand-dug well is for drinking only (click here to see the hand-dug well). These two projects will work as a system: The sand dam will build up sand over time, raising the water table and naturally filtering water, and the hand-dug well will provide a safe access point to that water.

Thank You for unlocking the potential of Kiluta Self-Help Group!

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06/21/2016: Kiluta Sand Dam Project Underway

We are happy to announce that the Kiluta Self-Help Group and their community in Kenya will soon be transformed by the construction of a sand dam. The dam will help raise the water table in the area, providing clean water and helping with agriculture. The community will also attend an important review session on hygiene and sanitation practices that they learned about last year. We just posted an initial report including information about the community, GPS coordinates, and pictures. We’ll keep you posted as the work continues.

Take a look, and Thank You for your help!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Sand Dam
Location:  Makueni, Matiliku
ProjectID: 4466
Install Date:  09/13/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 12/21/2017

Visit History:
12/06/2016 — Functional
06/04/2017 — Functional
09/06/2017 — Functional
12/21/2017 — Functional

A Year Later: Kiluta Sand Dam

October, 2017

The group members have successfully planted trees on their farms. Some of which have already started bearing fruits and are earning an income for the groups.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a sand dam for the Kiluta Self Help Group in Kenya. Because of these gifts and our monthly donors, partners are able to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from partners Mutheu Mutune, Joe Kioko and Titus Mbithi with you.

The community surrounding the Kiluta sand dam are noticing some exciting changes. The group members have successfully planted trees on their farms. Some of which, like papaya, have already started bearing fruits and are earning an income for the groups. Secondly, there are less school dropouts because water is available for growing crops and vegetables for consumption as well as for selling. Thirdly, no pupils skip school to engage in water collection as was the case before. Also, a massive amount of time is saved on the activity of water collection.


“The shallow well has provided us with water near our homes and as a result the distance has significantly reduced. We used to walk all the way to river Kikuu. Now we only a few minutes and we arrive here,” says Chairlady Wayua Munyao.

Their current source of water is protected unlike the open scoop holes that they relied on before. This means they are getting clean drinking water.

Rhodah Samson, Self Help Group secretary reflects on the changes she has experienced. “Walking distance to the water points has since reduced after construction of the sand dam and shallow well. The time wasted in the process of fetching water is now utilized in other income generating activities,” she says.


To ensure a sustained observation of the hygiene trainings, a WASH (hygiene and sanitation) refresher training was conducted and our field officers who are constantly in touch with the communities observe and advise top management on areas that need further improvements for implementation. We are excited to report more development from this community in the future.

The Water Project and our partners are committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by monthly donors, allows us to visit communities up to four times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.

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.