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!)
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.
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).