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The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -
The Water Project: Nzung'u Community -

Project Status



Project Type:  Sand Dam

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2016

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 10/08/2019

Project Features


Click icons to learn about each feature.



Community Profile

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

Tei wa Nzung’u Self-Help Group lives in the upper area of southeastern Kenya. This area is regarded as the driest of Kitui County with little to no rainfall. Kitui temperatures range from 14 to 34C (57 to 93F), with July the coldest month and September the hottest.

Because of a lack of rainfall, there are limited water sources. There are seasonal rivers that form after a bout of rain, but quickly dry up after. The Athi River and Tana River are the only main rivers in the entire county, and form the borders for that area.

There are cultural practices that persist rather than progress; women are still not allowed to make decisions without the approval of men here. Tei wa Nzung’u Self-Help Group was formed with the goals of not only addressing water scarcity in the community, but of countering this retrogressive structure. Most of the members of the group are women who rely on farming as their main source of income.

This area has a huge population of 880 people from dozens of different households. (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 it’s so great that this community has agreed to a five year plan to build more sand dams and hand-dug wells. To learn more, click here.)

Water Situation

The Kamuwongo River is the seasonal source closest to this community. There is also an unprotected spring. Still, these sources are quite a distance away, forcing women and children to spend an average of four to six hours a day fetching water. There isn’t a safe water access point at the river either, so scoop holes are dug along the river channel to get to hit the water table underneath.

20-liter jerrycans are used for fetching water, and are carried back home. Once home, water is dumped into a larger, 200 to 400-liter plastic container for storage.

A lot of time is wasted on water, making the community sacrifice many income-generating activities.

Sanitation Situation

A little more than half of homes in this area have a pit latrine. They are both shallow and poorly constructed. We met one of the women from the self-help group, Priscah Muteti. She said, “Having a good toilet is a luxury many cannot afford. Many still use the bush to relieve themselves. We are now learning that will increase diseases among the population.” You can see Priscah Muteti and her household under the “See Photos & Video” tab below.

We couldn’t find any helpful hygiene and sanitation tools like dish racks, clotheslines, or hand-washing stations. Garbage is sorted between biodegradable and not, so that compost can be fed to animals and fertilize farms. Excess non-biodegradable is often burned.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

To address the concerns above, hygiene and sanitation training will be offered to self-help group members on two consecutive days. Once the members have learned about useful practices and tools to improve health, they will be able to share with their families and neighbors. Since open defecation is an issue, an emphasis will be placed on latrine construction and use.

Plans: Sand Dam

This sand dam will be one of many construction projects to come in the next few years. We will spend a total of five years unified with this community to address the water shortage. More sand dams will be built to transform the environment. As the sand dam matures and builds up more sand, the water table will rise. Along with these sand dams, hand-dug wells will be installed to give locals a good, safe way to access that water.

This particular sand dam is projected to be 51.6 meters long and 4.38 meters high. The community has agreed that this is the best place to begin building; there are no property owners to interfere, and there is also good bedrock and a sand bank which will maximize water conservation behind the dam.

The members are ready and willing to contribute the local materials needed to begin construction, including sand, stones, and ballast. Once our artisans arrive, they are prepared to offer their time and strength to get this sand dam done right.

It is the girl child who will most benefit from a sand dam. She often misses school in order to help her parents fetch water. She also misses school because of hygiene-related challenges that result from a water shortage. With a new sand dam closer to home, less time will be wasted for fetching water. As the sand dam matures, there will also be enough water to use for personal hygiene and domestic chores, let alone enough to drink!

A hand-dug well is also scheduled to be installed adjacent to the sand dam, which will give people a safe way to fetch drinking water (click here to view that project).

Project Updates


12/20/2017: A Year Later: Nzung'u Sand Dam

A year ago, generous donors helped build a sand dam for the Tei wa Nzung’u 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.


The Water Project : asdf_tei-wa-nzungu-shg_yar_mwikali-muthini-lois-kisovo-titus-mbithi-22


Project Photos


Project Type

Sand Dam

Seasonal streams (and the sand they carry) are trapped by dams, replenishing the water table and allowing for adjacent hand-dug wells. Almost completely led by community-supplied sweat and materials, and under the supervision of engineers, dams are strategically placed within those dry river-beds. The next time it rains, flood-waters are trapped.

With a sand dam, this trapped sand begins to hold millions of gallons of rainwater. Soon enough, sand reaches the top of the dam, allowing water to continue downstream – where it meets the next dam. The result? A regional water table is restored.


A Year Later: Nzung'u Sand Dam

December, 2017

Initially, we used to get water from a river which is three kilometers away. We used to line up for long hours but currently, we only take 30 minutes.

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Nzung'u Community.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Nzung'u Community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

Give Monthly

A year ago, generous donors helped build a sand dam for the Tei wa Nzung’u 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.


Tei wa Nzung’u group members are very happy because the distance to water has been reduced to less than a kilometer after completion of their first sand dam. Just next to the sand dam, there are healthy and leafy kales and spinach growing. These act as the group’s source of income, for whatever they don’t eat themselves they sell in the local market.

Mrs. Mwendwa and her good friend, walking on all of the beautiful sand this dam has built up over the past year.

Kasyoka Mwendwa is the chairwoman in charge of this sand dam and its adjacent hand-dug well. She met us there to discuss the changes her group has witnessed since last year. “Initially, we used to get water from a river which is three kilometers away. We used to line up for long hours but currently, we only take 30 minutes. We now use the time saved to do constructive work like tending to vegetables. Watering our livestock is no longer a problem, and our cattle survive the dry season unlike before when water was a big problem. We have also established vegetable plots on our farms which act as a source of income,” she shared.

And thanks to the surplus of water this sand dam provides, the adjacent well is able to pump clean, safe drinking water from the catchment area.

Mrs. Mwendwa pumping clean water at the well adjacent to this dam.


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.


Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Nzung'u Community maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Nzung'u Community – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise!

Give Monthly


Contributors

Van Buren Elementary School
Data Abstract Solutions, Inc.
Fusion Youth Ministry
Aquarion Water Company of New Hampshire
Lake Don Pedro Baptist Church
Halls Christian Church
Plymouth United Church of Christ
Miramar High School/Pan African High School
The Episcopal Church of St. Peter By-The-Lake
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
First Baptist Church of Lincoln, NC, Inc.
Hartland Lakeside school district
Gift for humanity
Ernest Hemingway
Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada Inc.
Care of The Gail Foundation
Christ Outreach Church Women of Faith
WaterSmart Software
67 individual donor(s)