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The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Finished Sand Dam
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Finished Sand Dam
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Finished Sand Dam
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Finished Sand Dam
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Finished Sand Dam
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Finished Sand Dam
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Sand Dam Construction
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Sand Dam Materials
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Sand Dam Construction
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Sand Dam Construction
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Sand Dam Construction
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Sand Dam Construction
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Sand Dam Construction
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Sand Dam Construction
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Bernedatta Mukei Kioko
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Training
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Action Plan
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Training
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Training
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Training
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Latrine
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Jackline Using Clothesline
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Jackline In Kitchen
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Water Storage
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Household
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Household
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Community Environment
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Self Help Group Neighbor
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Jackline Kioko
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Carrying Heavy Water
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Filtering Water Before Pouring It In Jerrycans
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Scooping Dirty Water
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Using Open Water Sources
The Water Project: Uthunga Community -  Using Open Water Sources

Project Status



Project Type:  Sand Dam

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Installed - Dec 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features


Click icons to learn about each feature.



Uthunga Village is a calm and fairly vegetated rural area whose terrain is graded with red fertile soil. The houses are made of red bricks and are somewhat modern. However, among the homesteads we visited, not all the floors were cemented.

There are many occupations in the area but the most common are farming and casual labor. The young men mostly resort to casual labor where they work on other people’s farms or they work as constructors and are paid on a daily basis.

On an average day, the women wake up at 6am, go to fetch water, and then prepare breakfast for the family as the children prepare for school. The men go to the farm to get grass for the livestock and prepare to run errands.

Errands that are most common are farming, taking farm products to the market, and feeding the livestock. During the day, the women wash the family’s clothes, tidy up the house, washes utensils and prepare lunch as well as supper for the family. They also have the community meetings such as fellowship and self-help group meetings during the day.

Water

Community members walk up to an hour to reach the spring near the Kinyongo River. Long lines at the water source mean people sometimes wait up to an hour to fetch the water once they have arrived.

The spring water is always crowded since its the sole water point in the community during the dry season. Some families enlist donkeys to help carry the water. Those who cannot afford the assistance usually can only carry one jerrycan of water at a time.

“We struggle a lot to fetch water from this spring but we have no option. It is very far,” said Mrs. Esther Mutheu said.

“The problem is that it is usually overcrowded and since it’s the only source of water we have we have to be patient.”

The water is not safe for drinking since the source is not protected, thus posing a high risk of contracting typhoid, amoeba and other waterborne diseases. The water is especially prone to harbor all kinds of pollutants during the rainy season.

“Typhoid is the most common because people rarely treat their water here, only a few people have that knowledge and patience,” Mrs. Mutheu said.

Sanitation

The members of these homesteads posses some of the structures needed for good hygiene such as latrines and bathing stations. Fewer than half of homes in the community have latrines, but many will share with their neighbors.

In one of the homesteads observed, the bathroom did not have a door instead they put sacks on the door area. The latrines are rarely cleaned since there is no nearby water source – hence emitting foul smells. And there are no handwashing stations near the latrines. People opt to use ash as a cleaning technique because water is a scarce commodity.

What we plan to do about it:

Our main entry point into Uthunga Community has been the Ngwatanio Ya Kinyongo Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 44 farming households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. These members will be our hands in feet in both constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone.

Training

We’re going to train Uthunga Community on hygiene and sanitation practices. 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 sessions together.

Sand Dam

Building this sand dam at a spot along the sandy riverbed 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 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 Uthunga.

Project Updates


12/10/2018: Uthunga Community Sand Dam Project Complete

Uthunga 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.

Sand Dam

“We are very honored to be part of establishing such a massive project in our community. Accessing water has been a great challenge and this project marks the end of the water hassle in Uthunga Village,” said Mr. Benson Kyuli.

“The sand dam will hold gallons of water that used to run off after the rainy seasons. We are very grateful for this project and we intend to develop our community using the water supply attained from this water project. In addition, we are happy because this is a project that will serve the community and its forthcoming generations.”

The Process:

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 labor to support our artisans. The collection of raw construction materials takes longer than the actual construction. For a super large sand dam, materials collection could take up to four months. All of this stone and sand compliments the tools, cement, lumber, and metal that we provide.

The bags of cement delivered to the construction site

Our engineers drew siting and technical designs 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.

Group members gathered together to hear from our artisans about their first construction tasks.

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.

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 39.2 meters long and 3.8 meters high and took 450 bags of cement to build.

Sand dam construction was undertaken simultaneously with the construction of a hand-dug well that will give 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.

New Knowledge

The mobilization and planning of hygiene and sanitation training was done by the area field officer, Paulson Mukonzi. He corresponded back and forth with self-help group leadership and our trainers. After coming to a consensus on the most suitable date, the field officer informed the trainer, Veronica Matolo, and the chairman informed the group members in order for them to attend training. Training was held at the sand dam site, which was the preference of the group members.

Attendance was lower than we expected. Trainer Veronica Matolo found out there were some differences among group members concerning leadership, which had affected the coordination and functionality of the members. However, after the training, the field officer continued to meet with people to figure out the best way to resolve their issues.

Topics included:

– Identifying health problems in the community
– Investigating community practices
– Good and bad hygiene behaviors
– How germs spread
– Blocking the spread of disease
– Choosing the right improvements
– Making an action plan for the village
– Handwashing
– Soap-making

There was a big discussion about water treatment, too. This was one of the most impactful topics because all of the participants admitted that they don’t treat water. They told us it was a waste of time and money. By the time we had finished a discussion about water treatment costs versus medication to treat waterborne disease, the group members agreed that boiling water is worth it.

Discussing the facilities that each household needs to have to live clean and healthy lives.

“We will change our lifestyles, especially when it comes to prevention of contracting waterborne diseases by treating the water, maintaining good food hygiene, and sustaining a clean and habitable environment,” said Bernadetta Kioko.

“As a group, we plan to educate our fellow group members to ensure they have the information they missed. Most of us have had moringa on our farms for a while now although we had no idea about its uses and benefits in the treatment of water. This training has taught us a lot.”

Since there was still a low latrine count during our last visit, Ms. Matolo shared the importance of having a latrine to properly dispose of waste. To have an ideal latrine, a lid also needs to be constructed to cover the pit and keep flies out. Flies are one of the major spreaders of germs!

The group was also shown how to construct a tippy tap handwashing station with a plastic container, sticks, and string. They worked together to write an action plan for how and when each household will have the facilities they need to live healthy lives.


The Water Project : 17-kenya18190-finished-sand-dam


11/01/2018: Utuneni Community Sand Dam Underway

People from Utuneni Community walk a very long distance just to get dirty water from open holes in the ground. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a nearby water point and much more.

Get to know your community through the narrative 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 : 5-kenya18190-carrying-heavy-water


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.



Contributors

Project Sponsor - Pineapple Fund