Project Status

Project Type:  Sand Dam

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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This is our second year working with the Itatini Self-Help Group in Kivani Community. We installed a dug well and hand pump alongside a sand dam to help households in the community access safe water.

However, we estimate a well can comfortably support 500 people, so more work needs to be done to ensure this region of nearly 1,500 people can access safe water. That is why we work together with the same group for five years to build sustainable water and sanitation solutions.

The majority of people living in this area practice small-scale agriculture to feed their families and make a small profit in the market. Locals grow maize, peas, green grams and are recently involved in the cultivation of fruit trees such as mangoes and oranges.

The average day starts at 6am. Children prepare for school with the help of their parents and after that livestock are either taken out or tethered in the bush for grazing. After that, the husband and wife are free to engage in the main income generating activities; farming, casual labor, etc.

The water system installed last year is properly taken care of, for the community members quickly saw its importance. The sand dam and well are easing the water challenges in the area with a substantial number of people able to access water easily.

It's for this reason that community members remain committed to implementing more projects in their area to continue easing water access. The construction of more water projects will help in making water easily accessible to everyone.

"Working on water projects is helping solve the water challenges in our area which has for long suffered continuous water problems, by coming together and working on more projects we will help bring water close to everyone in Kivani Village," Mr. Gedion Mutie said.

What we plan to do about it:

Our main entry point into Kivani Community has been the Itatini Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 37 farming households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. These members will be our hands and feet in both constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone.


We’re going to continue training Kivani Community on hygiene and sanitation practices. Though our visits to households were encouraging, we want to ensure that community members are practicing the day to day habits we’re not able to observe. Food hygiene, water hygiene and treatment, personal hygiene and handwashing will all be a focus during our next review.

Sand Dam

Building this sand dam at a spot further down the river will bring water closer to hundreds of other people. After the community picked the spot, our technical team went in and proved the viability by finding a good foundation of bedrock. Now, our engineers are busy drawing up the blueprints. We estimate the dam will be 49 meters long and 2.8 meters high.

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 Kivani, including Mrs. Makau and her family.

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 readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

September, 2019: Giving Update: Kivani Community

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kivani Community in Kenya access clean water.

There’s an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Kivani Community. Month after month, their giving supports ongoing sustainability programs that help this community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Read more…

September, 2018: Kivani Community Sand Dam Complete

Kivani Community, Kenya now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. A new dam was constructed on the riverbed, which will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water. Community members also attended hygiene and sanitation training, and plan to share what they learned with their families and neighbors.

New Knowledge

This hygiene and sanitation review was planned and organized by the Area Field Officer, Rhoda Mwangu, who communicated with the community members and settled on a date when Instructor Veronica Matolo could conduct sessions.

Household visits and interviews leading up to the review sessions informed Instructor Matolo about what topics she should highlight.

The attendance was not as expected. A good number of group members who previously said they'd be there sent the others with an apology that they had other engagements that could not be avoided. However, it was agreed that those in attendance would extend the knowledge acquired to those who could not make it.

We met outdoors under trees because it was sunny. There was not enough shade to accommodate everyone so we kept on moving to get enough.

Mrs. Matolo taught about the seasonal calendar, covering pit latrines, treating water, storing kitchen items, disposing of trash, and making soap. Participants look forward to not only using the soap they can make at home but selling it for a profit in the local market.

When recreating a seasonal calendar together, we talked about diseases, their causes, and prevention. People were surprised to learn that diseases are not directly connected to the weather, but to other things happening in the community. Many of these things, such as draining puddles to prevent mosquito breeding, can keep health complications at a minimum.

"The hygiene trainings have been done to us several times and we are very much grateful for the effort that is always made to ensure that we meet the content. The training has been very important to us because we are now rich in knowledge and what is expected of us as far as hygiene is concerned," said Mrs. Justina Pius.

"Our lives have changed; no more diseases because we already have the know-how on prevention. On the other hand, the knowledge of soap-making has been of importance to us in helping improve cleanliness levels at the household level."

Sand Dam

The community members collected all of the local materials like rocks and sand that were required for successful completion of the dam. This step required perseverance on the part of the work group; they struggled to find the natural construction materials like sand and stones. What they first gathered was not enough, so construction was delayed halfway through so they could all stop and hunt for more stones.

Breaking up more stones for the dam

Siting and technical designs were drawn and presented to the Water Resources Management Authority and a survey sent to the National Environment Management Authority for approval before construction started. Once approved, we established 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. Rocks are heaped into the mortar once there is enough to hold. Barbed wire and twisted bar are 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 are built up. The vertical timber beams are dismantled and the dam is left to cure.

As soon as it rains, the dam will begin to build up sand and store water. With this water, the surrounding landscape will become lush and fertile.

However, it could take up to three years of rain (Because sometimes it only rains once a year!) for this sand dam to reach maximum capacity. It is 49 meters long and 2.8 meters high and took 465 bags of cement to build.

Sand dam construction was undertaken simultaneously with the construction of a hand-dug well which gives community members a safe method of drawing water. As the sand dam matures and stores more sand, a huge supply of water will be available for drinking from the adjacent hand-dug well.

To see that hand-dug well, click here.

"Working on sustainable water projects such as sand dams and shallow wells is a good way of increasing water access in our area," said Mr. Gideon Mutie.

"We are grateful to God for having completed the implementation of this project in the wake of several challenges faced. The dam and well will be helpful to the whole community since water will be readily available from within the village."

May, 2018: Kivani Community Sand Dam Project Underway

A clean water shortage around Kivani Community still affects hundreds of lives, draining time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this 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!

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!

Giving Update: Kivani Community B

September, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kivani Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Gideon Mutie. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Kivani Community 2A.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kivani Community 2A 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!

Kivani community members are enjoying the sand dam and well constructed a year ago, mostly because of the water supply that is available. The water is clean and fresh for drinking and cooking. The water project was open for use by all the area community members.

"At my age having this project is a blessing because I can relax in my house and also fetch water for my small projects around the compound unlike when the project was not there," said Gideon Mutie.

"I have used the water to improve my diet by planting kale, spinach, and arrowroot on my farm Life is tenfold better."

Most group members have stated that their hygiene and sanitation standards have improved immensely since the training that they received as a part of the water project. The members shower daily, their latrines are cleaned frequently and they wash their hands with soap. Water treatment is now an assimilated habit because they are now knowledgeable on cost-effective methods such as boiling.

"The well has had water throughout the year and has been beneficial to all the community members. It takes less than 30 minutes to fetch the water. The best part about the project is that the water was available at any time of the day, with no boundaries," Mr. Mutie said.

The water has been flowing throughout the year which has helped them in reducing their cost of living and improving their living standards.

"The water project has really improved my life. Due to the availability of water, I planted vegetables at my vegetable garden and sold them to other community members," said Robert Kioka.

"My grandchildren enjoy fetching water after school and they are now practicing personal hygiene such as washing clothes because the water is readily available."

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 Kivani Community 2A 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 Kivani Community 2A – 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 - Pineapple Fund