Project Status

Project Type:  Sand Dam

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 255 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/20/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Community Profile

Welcome to the Community

Ngwatanio ya Utui wa Maluvyu Self-Help Group was formed in the year 2015. The average size of each member's household is six, while the average age of the members is 54. The group is located in Maluvyu Village, which has a population of 255 people from 52 households.

50% of the group members said that they rely on agriculture as their main source of income while 45% of the group members get it from manual labor. 5% of the group members said that they rely on remittances from their relatives as their main source of income.

Water Situation

Some families living in Maluvyu have connected rainwater catchment tanks to their gutter systems. But even they have to travel to the river to fetch water. Since it's so dry in southeastern Kenya, holes must be dug in the riverbed to get to any water. Women dunk their plastic containers in this visibly contaminated water to fill them.

40% of Ngwatanio ya Maluvyu members travel a distance of less than one kilometer, which is within a range of acceptable access. But the rest of the group members still must travel more than one km to get to the water source every single day (30% of the members travel a distance of 1-2km to fetch their drinking water while 25% travel a distance of 2-3km to fetch their drinking water. The other 5% travel a distance of 3-4km to fetch their drinking water). When water is delivered home, it is emptied into larger storage containers ranging from 200 liters to 1500 liters.

Sanitation Situation

The people in Maluvyu have already had opportunities for hygiene and sanitation training provided by the government, so they are ahead of most other communities.

Almost all of the households here have their own pit latrine. In contrast, only a few of them have hand-washing stations or helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines (you can see examples of what we found under the pictures tab).

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

The group will meet for two days for an extensive review on what they’ve learned about hygiene and sanitation. There are also holes in their knowledge, apparent by the lack of hand-washing facilities. During training sessions, group members will learn a locally sustainable way to construct their own 'handsfree' hand-washing station. We will also focus on safe water handling, storage, and safe food preparation.

Plans: Sand Dam

We worked with the community to determine the best location along the riverbed for their sand dam. As it matures, it will build up sand and naturally filter the river's water and the rainwater supplied during the rainy season.

It will raise the water table and transform the land, making it fertile for farming. With the ongoing installation of a hand-dug well (click here to view that project), water from this sand dam will be safely used for drinking.

It is projected to be 54.4 meters long and 4.55 meters high.

Project Updates

September, 2018: A Year Later: Maluvyu Community Sand Dam

A year ago, generous donors helped build a sand dam and hand-dug well for Maluvyu Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories. Read more...

August, 2017: Agnes Speaks For Maluvyu Community

Dear Friends, we have uploaded a new video to this report. We gathered around the finished sand dam and reflected on our teamwork, dreaming of the impact this water system will have on our community. We captured a video of Agnes, one of the many farmers in Ngwatanio ya Utui wa Maluvyu Self-Help Group, explaining how this project will change life for generations to come. Joe Kioko, our staff in the field, translates to English for her.

Thank You for bringing this kind of hope to Maluvyu Community!

June, 2017: Maluvyu Community Sand Dam Complete

Maluvyu Community, Kenya now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. 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. Community members have also learned 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: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Hygiene and sanitation training was held for three days at one of the self-help group members' homesteads. 30 people attended in all.

5 kenya4759 training

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

10 kenya4759 training

This little girl remembered to use soap!

The trainer worked with the community to write up an action plan for implementation of all they learned. Each household will need to have important facilities like pit latrines, hand-washing stations, clotheslines, and dish racks. A select committee will work with the trainer to keep their neighbors accountable. This same committee will also oversee the management and maintenance of their sand dam system.

7 kenya4759 training

Can you read this hygiene and sanitation action plan for Maluvyu and its neighboring villages?

Project Result: Sand Dam

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.

The community members collected all of the local materials like rocks and sand that were required for successful completion of the dam. They also provided unskilled labor to support our artisans. Out of the entire process, collection of the raw construction materials takes longer than the actual construction. For a super large sand dam, material collection could take up to four months! But because of the hard-working members of this community, there were no delays to this project.

13 kenya4759 construction

Community members transported all of these large rocks to the sand dam site.

Before actual construction started, siting and technical designs were drawn and presented to the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) for approval. Once approved, we had to begin establishing firm bedrock at the base of the sand dam wall. In the absence of good bedrock, excavation is done up to a depth at which the technical team is satisfied that the ground is firm enough to stop seepage. Then mortar (a mixture of sand, cement and water) is mixed and heaped into the foundation. Once there is enough mortar to hold rocks available, rocks are heaped into the mortar. Barbed wire and twisted bar is used to reinforce the mixture. Once the foundation is complete, a skeleton of timber is built to hold the sludge and rocks up above ground level. The process is then repeated until a sufficient height, width and length is built up. Then, the timber form is dismantled and the dam is left to cure.

30 kenya4759 construction

The wooden frame is halfway off the dam as rods are added to fortify the structure.

The sand dam is now complete and can begin to store water. It measures 4.6 meters high and 54.4 meters long.

Mr. Musyoka Masaku is a farmer and member of the project committee. "This will be our new water source for the four villages of Maluvyu, Masaani, Ngomeni and Nthunguni. There will be no more queuing at river Ikaasu, which is very far away. Our plan is start growing vegetables immediately because there's enough water at the dam and we already have planted kales and coriander. When we sell the surplus, this will boost our income," he shared.

Project Videos

Project Photos

Project Type

Sand dams are huge, impressive structures built into the riverbeds of seasonal rivers (rivers that disappear every year during dry seasons). Instead of holding back a reservoir of water like a traditional dam would, sand dams accumulate a reservoir of silt and sand. Once the rain comes, the sand will capture 1-3% of the river’s flow, allowing most of the water to pass over. Then, we construct shallow wells on the riverbank to provide water even when the river has dried up, thanks to new groundwater reserves. Learn more here!

A Year Later: Maluvyu Community

September, 2018

Community members used to have to walk up to 2 hours to get water. With a new well, they walk less than 10 minutes!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Maluvyu Community 1A.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Maluvyu Community 1A 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!

A year ago, generous donors helped build a sand dam and hand-dug well for Maluvyu Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – and we’re excited to share this one from Joe Kioko with you.

Collecting water for people living in Maluvyu Community used to be time intensive. People walked as long as 2 hours to get to the nearest reliable source of water, wait 30 minutes in line, and then walk home for another 2.5 hours (it is a lot slower carrying all that water back!). That 5-hour journey is now a story of the past, thanks to the new sand dam and hand-dug well system.

Katheu Muema

"I used to get extremely tired from the trek to and from the nearest water point, but this has now changed because we have a well nearby," Katheu Muema, a young girl from the community, said.

The proximity to water has also helped families grow kinds of vegetables that they never imagined were possible to plant in this arid region.

Construction of the dam and well is only one step along the journey toward sustainable access to clean water. The Water Project is committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by donors like you, allows us to maintain our relationships with communities by visiting up to 4 times each year to ensure that the water points are safe and reliable.

This is just one of the many ways that we monitor projects and communicate with you. Additionally, you can always check the functionality status and our project map to see how all of our water points are performing, based on our consistent monitoring data.

One project is just a drop in the bucket towards ending the global water crisis, but the ripple effects of this project are truly astounding. This well and dam in Maluvyu is changing many lives.

"The project has enhanced unity among the community members because we work together more often at the vegetable garden," Laureen Mooki said.

Laureen Muoki

"Water from the shallow well has enabled us plant tree seedlings at a communal nursery jointly managed and run by all members of the local self-help group from which we share and plant seedlings in each rainy season at our farms."

This is only possible because of the web of support and trust built between The Water Project, our local teams, the community, and you. We are excited to stay in touch with this community and support their journey with safe water.

Read more about The Water Promise 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 Maluvyu Community 1A 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 Maluvyu Community 1A – 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.


Project Sponsor - The Lifeplus Foundation