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The Water Project: Mbuuni Community D -  Using A Compost Pit
The Water Project: Mbuuni Community D -  Handwashing Station Next To Latrine
The Water Project: Mbuuni Community D -  Latrine
The Water Project: Mbuuni Community D -  Mbalu Household Uses A Dish Rack
The Water Project: Mbuuni Community D -  Mr Mbalu In His Kitchen
The Water Project: Mbuuni Community D -  Mr Mbalu Using His Clothesline
The Water Project: Mbuuni Community D -  Mbalu Household
The Water Project: Mbuuni Community D -  Muli Mbalu
The Water Project: Mbuuni Community D -  Mbuuni Self Help Group

Project Status

Project Type:  Sand Dam

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Under Construction
Estimated Install Date (?):  06/30/2018

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Community Profile

Mbuuni Self-Help Group was formed in 2010 and currently has a huge membership of 254 people; 194 men and 60 women. The group is located in Mbuuni Village, which has a population of 1,978 people.

The average household size is five, and the average age of the group members is 45. The main sources of income are farming and casual labor – if one doesn’t own their own farmland, they’ll look for work on someone else’s farm. Most people earn less than 10,000 shillings each month.

This self-help group has been involved with us for two years now, and their aim is to bring much-needed water to their region. We stand alongside them, providing the tools and finances needed to achieve this goal: To see all of Mbuuni Self-Help Group’s undertakings, click here. 


Mbuuni Village has a population that’s nearing 2,000 people – and they all used to rely on one borehole. This was installed by the Machakos County government, which would charge people for each jerrycan of water collected from the pump. Those who couldn’t afford that water dug holes in the sandy bed of Thwake River to access its water.

Thanks to our partnership with the self-help group, there isn’t only one clean water source in Mbuuni. We’ve built a sand dam and hand-dug system that supplies clean water. While this water isn’t free, the fees that are paid by users are kept in the community for pump maintenance and development opportunities. But with such a large population, these two wells are not enough, and there are still families living a great distance away. (One water point can only reasonably serve a few hundred people. That’s why multiple projects in one community is important. To learn more, click here.)

As of now, many families spend a lot of time walking to and waiting at these clean water points. Thus, we have accepted the self-help group’s application to construct a third sand dam and well system in Mbuuni. Construction for the second system is currently underway – this group is so huge they committed to constructing two at once for their community!


Continuing hygiene and sanitation trainings are a big part of our relationship with Mbuuni. They’re doing a great job implementing everything they’ve learned, including latrines, bathing shelters, and handwashing stations. There’s 100% latrine coverage, and almost everybody has a bathroom for washing every morning. Almost half of household have a handwashing station called a “tippy tap,” a jerrycan that pours water as a string tilts it.

75% of people are treating their water before drinking it. Though water from these wells is clean when gathered, it should be treated after transportation and storage.

Here’s what we’re going to do:


We recently visited over a dozen households to check on sanitation and hygiene standards. One of the most impressive households we visited was that of Mr. Muli Mbalu (pictures on this page). These visits inform our trainers on what they might need to review with the community during their next trainings. We will continue to teach about the importance of handwashing, for though Mr. Mbalu has a tippy tap, many of his neighbors still don’t.

Sand Dam

The location for this sand dam is on the same river as the first and second dams, but further down. Our engineers are currently working on the blueprints for this dam.

We are unified with this community to address the water shortage. As more sand dams are built, the environment will continue to transform. As the sand dams mature and build up more sand, the water tables will rise. Along with these sand dams, hand-dug wells (check out the hand-dug well being installed next to this dam) 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 Mbuuni.

This project is a part of our shared program with Africa Sand Dam Foundation. Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (edited for clarity) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

04/18/2018: Mbuuni Community Sand Dam Underway

A severe clean water shortage still affects hundred of families living in Mbuuni Community. Families are having to walk long distances to find clean water, wasting hours of time and tons of energy. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point nearby and much more.

Get to know your community through the introduction and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

The Water Project : 3-kenya18170-mbalu-household

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.


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United Way of the Capital Region
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Global Awareness Committee - Bayside Secondary School
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Brighter Horizons Academy
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