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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

We are on our third year of partnership with the Vinya wa Mwau Self-Help Group, with two more years to go. We’ve worked with them to build two sand dams and two hand-dug wells that have drastically improved water access in the area. The group was also supported in installing a drip irrigation project which has worked well.

Using water from the sand dams, farmers have been able to grow vegetables for both their own use and for market sales. The water has also helped the group start tree nurseries that produce fruit for more income generation.

The group hopes to build two more sand dams because of the expansive area in which they live. They want water to be equally accessible for all. Before this partnership, locals had to wake up by 3 AM each day to beat the long lines that formed at the water source. Not only that, but this previous water source was eight kilometers away!

This area has a total population of 711 people. (Editor’s Note: Realistically, a single water source can only serve 350-500 people. That is why we are so excited to be working with this community for multiple years on multiple projects, that all might have adequate access to safe water. To learn more, click here.)

Water Situation

The community travels to either of the two hand-dug wells to fetch water. Though the two wells have brought water closer to many households, it is still a long distance for some. The farthest of families have to travel up to two kilometers to get water.

We noticed that since locals have learned about the importance of handling and storing water properly, water containers have been kept much cleaner. The standard 20-liter jerrycans that women use to fetch water with all have covers to protect the water during the trip. Once home, this water is separated into larger containers by intended use. Drinking water is always kept separate from water used for cleaning.

After testing water from the two wells we constructed, we found that there was no contamination. This was good news for the community! There is clean water here, but we must make it more accessible with the construction of a third sand dam and hand-dug well system. The two systems are always overcrowded; it still takes a woman an average of three hours a day to fetch water because she must wait in line.

Sanitation Situation

Since this is our third year with Vinya wa Mwau, we are happy to share that all households in this area have a pit latrine. These are well-constructed, deep, and cleaned on a regular basis.

Over 75% of households have a hand-washing station with ash or soap available. The same number of families have dish racks and clotheslines to dry their things up off the ground.

Each households has a trash bin inside the home that is regularly separated and emptied into one of two piles in the back of the compound. Biodegradable material is composted to make fertilizers for the farm, and excess garbage in the other pit is burned.

The training here for the last couple of years has increased awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the huge role that sanitation and hygiene play in good health.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

We will take two days to review hygiene and sanitation with self-help group members. We will also use one of these days to review the action plan that this group agreed on in the beginning of our relationship. We want to keep encouraging the self-help group members to share what they know about good hygiene and sanitation with their neighbors. Some still lag behind in the construction of useful and important tools like hand-washing stations, dish racks, and clotheslines.

Plans: Sand Dam

We estimate that this third year of project implementation will provide 90% of the community with accessible clean, safe water. Group member Patrick Kiema shared, “Yes, our work in the last three years has realized fruits. We are using water for vegetable planting. However, the water hasn’t been enough for all members. With the third water project, our efforts to have adequate water to all members will almost be achieved.” You can see Patrick and his household in the “See Photos & Video” section.

The community has already begun mobilizing the materials that will be used for sand dam construction. These include sand, stones, and ballast. The sand dam will be an estimated 25.6 meters long and 3.4 meters high.

The success of the group’s previous two sand dams has led to new membership. The group has grown, and more and more people will benefit from projects, both new and old. Through the sand dams, water will be available to even less-privileged neighboring communities.


Recent Project Updates


12/15/2016: Vinya wa Mwau Sand Dam Project Complete

We are very excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the members of the Vinya wa Mwau 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 reviewed and learned more about 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: New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held a group member’s homestead. This was because the home is located in a serene environment, and it has a big kitchen that gave the participants the chance to cook a big lunch! Training was organized in consultation with the group committee, letting all members know the time and place plenty in advance. Almost every single person ended up attending. Each member actively participated, asking and answering questions about tangible ways they can improve the health of their families.

The main topics we covered were:

– How to prevent the spread of germs

– Common diseases and germ routes

– Water hygiene: types of treatment

– Using the latrine

– Proper waste disposal

– Building sanitation facilities (dish racks and clotheslines)

– Hand-washing and how to build a hand-washing station

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The trainers used lectures, demonstrations, group discussions, and presentations to teach the above topics and many more! The sessions were successful; the self-help group developed an action plan that will be used to implement everything they learned. Latrines, dish racks, clotheslines, compost pits, and hand-washing stations will all be built. The self-help group has also selected members to form a committee that will oversee the project’s management and maintenance. Mr. Patrick Kiema was one of the farmers who attended. He told us, “I now know how simple it is to keep diseases away from my household: Just ensuring that I practice good hygiene!”

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Project Result: Sand Dam

Construction on this sand dam began in September.

The process went well, but there were a few challenges. Group attendance fluctuated as group members felt the pull to work on their own farms, preparing the plants for the rainy season. During this season, only a handful of group members showed up to work on the dam. Even before this, the group struggled to decided on a good place to build the sand dam, where it would benefit the most families. When they finally decided, they could start delivering construction materials to the site.

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The sand dam was measured to be 3.4 meters high and 25.6 meters long. Sand dam construction was simultaneous to construction of a hand-dug well which will give locals a safe method of drawing drinking water. As the sand dam matures and provides more water, more of that water will be accessible at the well. To see that project, click here.

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56-year-old Zipporah Wayua was a farmer who sacrificed time on her farm to work on the sand dam, knowing that her efforts would benefit bother her and future generations. She said, “The group has been able to achieve a great milestone! We now have three sand dams which will help provide clean water to cater for the needs of different households. This is going to make our lives healthier!”


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10/04/2016: Vinya wa Mwau Sand Dam Project Underway

We are happy to announce that the Vinya wa Mwau 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 under the tabs above, 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, Mukimwani, Vinya wa Mwau
ProjectID: 4469
Install Date:  12/15/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Functional
Last Visit: 09/14/2017

Visit History:
12/19/2016 — Functional
05/22/2017 — Functional
09/14/2017 — Functional





A Year Later: Vinya wa Mwau Sand Dam

December, 2017

It’s incredible to think that members of Vinya wa Mwau Self-Help Group and their neighbors had to walk over six kilometers to find water – and that water wasn’t even clean. Now, clean water is within a half kilometer from home.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a sand dam for the Vinya wa Mwau 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 our partner Titus Mbithi with you.


It’s incredible to think that members of Vinya wa Mwau Self-Help Group and their neighbors had to walk over six kilometers to find water – and that water wasn’t even clean. Now, clean water is within a half kilometer from home.

The little water people brought back would be rationed for drinking and cooking, and would only allow for occasional bathing. Plants, and more importantly livestock, would die during the dry seasons. Now, there’s water available for everything: drinking, cooking, household chores, watering livestock, and irrigating farms.

Interviewing Mr. Mutsya at the sand dam

We met the self-help group’s secretary, Musoi Mutsya, at the sand dam. He told us that no longer having to walk six kilometers for water has saved him an extraordinary amount of time. He said this time “we can now use in other income-generating projects. We now have enough water for household use, watering our cattle, planting trees at our homes and hence increasing forest cover.” And thanks to the surplus of water this sand dam provides, the adjacent hand-dug well is able to pump clean, safe water from the catchment area. Mr. Mutsya says that “the available water is clean and safe for drinking.”

By the end of our interview, many other group members had arrived to fetch water, and we could include them in our group photos.


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.


Contributors

Project Sponsor - Barbara Belle Ash Dougan Foundation


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Country Details

Kenya

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.