The Water Project : 17-kenya4862-only-clean-water-source-in-the-area
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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

Kakwa Self-Help Group was formed in the year 2016 by 10 members. Over the course of one year, total membership shot up to 26.

The group members come from Kithatu and Kithumba villages, which are in Makueni County, Kenya, and have several hundred of residents. The group has also established a leadership committee made up of seven members; three women and four men.

The average age is 46 years, while their mean household membership is five people. 58% of the respondents interviewed said that their average income is below 3,000 shillings a month; 27% reported that they earn an average of between 3,100 and 5,000 shillings, and 15% respondents said that they earn income between 5,100 and 10,000 a month, regardless of the income source. None of the respondents earn above 10,000 shillings.

Water Situation

The main sources of drinking water for the respondents are; open springs, a hand-dug well, and water piped to a kiosk. Only 4% of the respondents get their drinking water from the kiosk – each container of water must be paid for there. The other 96% get their drinking water from either surface water or the well. The distance covered to the water source depends on the nearness of the respondent to the water source. The longest distance covered is four to five kilometers, with the shortest distance being less than a kilometer.

Because of the long distances traveled to the well, donkeys are especially helpful to bring along. A typical donkey can shoulder four 20-liter jerrycans full of water. But if a household can’t afford a donkey, an adult must hoist a 20-liter jerrycan upon their backs and haul it all the way home.

We talked to Margret Kavinya, who said “We fetch water from a community well dug in our village. It’s the sole source of clean water in our area and this therefore places a lot of pressure on this single point as it attracts people from Kithumba and the neighboring Kithatu village. I don’t practice any water treatment methods so I drink and use the water straight from the source.”

It’s obvious that many community members either aren’t able to make it to the hand-dug well because they live far away, or find the well overcrowded and the wait unbearable. At the time of our interviews, there were six waterborne diseases reported: two cases of amoeba and four cases of typhoid.

Sanitation Situation

100% of households have a pit latrine. Most of these lack doors and instead have a curtain. After touring the environment, it also seems that community members are using these latrines. Open defecation is not an issue here.

However, there are no hand-washing stations to prevent he spread of bacteria via hands. A little over half of households have a dish rack and clotheslines, and some have even dug a pit to throw their garbage. There is a general appreciation for sanitation and hygiene, but the community has also acknowledged room for improvement.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

To address gaps in hygiene and sanitation practices in Kithangaini Kithuluni Community, training will be offered to self-help group members on three consecutive days. The members will learn about useful practices and tools to improve health, and then will be able 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

Members of this group heard about us from a neighboring self-help group that we are working with. They then approached our field officer with a request for support, and after verifying that they had the relevant registration documents, they were put on our mandatory six-month probation period. During this time, locals are expected to seriously take development to heart and begin constructing hygiene facilities and gathering local materials to be used in the construction process. After that, we returned to verify their water challenges and their need for additional support. The evidence to warrant our support was sufficient, and the group was taken on board. Their first proposed site for a sand dam in Kithumba was also approved by our technical team because there is firm bedrock and wide banks. This particular sand dam is projected to be 32.3 meters long and 5 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 in Kithatu and Kithumba.

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

11/14/2017: Kithumba Community Sand Dam Underway

Kithumba 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 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:  Makueni, Kithumba
ProjectID: 4862


Project Sponsor - The Lifeplus Foundation

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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.