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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Under Construction
Estimated Install Date:   (Explain This?)  03/15/2018

Functionality Status: 

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

The Mitini Self-Help Group was formed in 2013 and registered with the government in 2015. It started with a membership of 40 people, but currently only has 30 active members. Its leadership committee is composed of 11 members; two male and nine female. The average age is 53 years and the mean number of family members is five.

The group is located at Mitini Village, which has a population of 8,478 people. (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. This community will be a great candidate for a second project in the future so that adequate clean water is available. To learn more, click here.)

Subsistence agriculture is the main source of livelihood for this community. When the rainfall pattern is better, the members harvest enough both for their families and to sell at the local market to earn money for other needs.

Water Situation

The main source of water for the Mitini Self-Help group is the river, where they scoop holes in the sand to get drinking water. During the dry periods they have to walk for long distances by the river, looking for areas where they can scoop holes and find water. Some members have been able to afford a plastic tank and gutter to catch rainwater, which lasts for a few weeks before needing another rain.

62-year-old Annah Mueni is a farmer who doesn’t have any alternative but to fetch water from the river.  “We fetch water from an underneath scoop holes at our stony river called Katheka. It’s always crowded with many people fetching water from the same water point. It takes more than 30 minutes waiting for my turn. At my home, I don’t treat drinking water. I use it for cooking, drinking and other household activities,” she shared.

The water fetched from the holes is dirty, contaminated by erosion and surface runoff that washes things like animal feces into the water. Community members admitted that after drinking, they’ve suffered from waterborne illnesses like typhoid.

Sanitation Situation

100% of group members have a pit latrine at their home, though most of them just have a curtain hanging in the doorway that provides little privacy. There are no working hand-washing stations, but families do have other helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines.

Around half of members pile their garbage up behind their compounds. To keep litter from blowing around in the wind and animals out, each home needs to have a deep pit to throw garbage in.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Since this is our first hygiene and sanitation training in Mitini, training will be held for three days. The members will learn about useful practices and tools to improve health, and will be encouraged to share those with their families and neighbors. Water transport, storage, and treatment methods will be taught, and hand-washing will be a focus. Group members will learn how to make their own hand-washing stations with everyday materials. To motivate participants, we must show the links between these activities and their people’s health.

Plans: Sand Dam

Their first proposed site for a sand dam in Mitini was also approved by our technical team because there is firm bedrock and wide banks. This particular sand dam is projected to be 58 meters long and 4.9 meters high.

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 dams mature and build up more sand, the water tables will rise. Along with these sand dams, hand-dug wells will be installed to give locals a good, safe way to access that water.

With these projects, clean water will be brought closer to hundreds living around Mitini.

As the sand dam construction begins, community members will start excavating their first adjacent hand-dug well (click here to see that well project).

Recent Project Updates

01/15/2018: Mitini Community Project Underway

Mitini Community in Kenya will soon be transformed by the construction of a sand dam. The dam will build up sand and eventually catch rainwater to help raise the water table in the area, providing clean water and helping with agriculture. The community will also attend hygiene and sanitation training to learn about practices that improve health. We just posted an initial report including information about the community, maps, and pictures. We’ll keep you posted as the work continues!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Project Data

Project Type:  Sand Dam
Location:  Machakos, Mitini
ProjectID: 4861


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.