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The Water Project: Mbau Community B -  Animal Enclosure
The Water Project: Mbau Community B -  Kalunda With Her Dish Rack
The Water Project: Mbau Community B -  Latrine And Handwashing Station
The Water Project: Mbau Community B -  Water Fetching Containers
The Water Project: Mbau Community B -  Water Storage
The Water Project: Mbau Community B -  Walking To The Mulwa Household
The Water Project: Mbau Community B -  Kalunda Mulwa
The Water Project: Mbau Community B -  Community Members Gathering Stones For More Water Points
The Water Project: Mbau Community B -  Community Members Gathering Stones For More Water Points
The Water Project: Mbau Community B -  Community Members Gathering Stones For More Water Points
The Water Project: Mbau Community B -  Walking Home With Water
The Water Project: Mbau Community B -  First Well System

Project Status

Project Type:  Sand Dam

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Under Construction
Estimated Install Date (?):  06/30/2019

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

To address water scarcity in arid Southeastern Kenya, we build sand dam and hand-dug well systems to bring water closer to families. Since each community is so expansive, we implement multiple systems over the course of five years to provide enough nearby water for everyone. This is our second year working in Mbau Community, which is home to 1,056 people.

The sand dam and well system constructed last year is now the main water source for everyone living in Mbau. However, hundreds of people still walk a long way to get there. The distance covered varies from household to household, so implementing more projects at different points within the community will help shorten the distance for many more families.

A dam and well can comfortably support 500 people. And since 1,056 people are relying on this one water source, it is often overused and overcrowded.

“Our first water project facility has been very successful in its provision of water. However, it has not been close to all of us in equal measure – exposing others to the water struggles of long distances and the fatigue involved in water collection,” reflected Mrs. Katethya Mutheke.

“We are ready to work on more projects spread across the village so as to reach everyone and address the water challenges facing community members.”

As soon as the community members heard that they have a chance to benefit from another sand dam and well system this year, they immediately started collecting the stones we’d need to start building.

Welcome to the Community

Mbau Community is found in a peaceful, rural area with a significant amount of trees. Among the trees are local homes made of bricks and covered with iron sheets. Other families live in traditional mud huts with grass-thatched roofs.

The average household has five members. The typical male leader in the home has a primary school education. In families where the adults make a decent income, they will hire help in looking after their children. Traditionally, the man is the head of the house and provides for the family. This is however only practical in larger cities. Most men living in rural areas abandon their economic frustrations to heavy drinking, abandoning their families to be taken care of by their wives.

The majority of adults have informal employment like casual labor at Migwani Market and Mwingi Town. Other community members are involved in subsistence farming at their own farms. However, their success depends on the natural rainfall. Most often, rain is too sparse and yields a very small crop.

What we can do:

Our main entry point into Mbau Community has been the Yangondi 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 and feet in both constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone.


Yangondi Self-Help Group and Mbau Community have participated in training sessions that teach about important hygiene practices and daily habits to establish in their homes. Taking good care of themselves and their environment will make for a healthy community. There has been progress, but training is still necessary to ensure continued improvement.

Current Sanitation Facility Coverage:

Latrines 90%
Clotheslines 100%
Dish Racks 50%
Bathing Area 60%
Animal Enclosure 80%
Proper Garbage Disposal 70%

And though most families have a good pit latrine, they need to clean them more often. Upcoming training sessions will strengthen weaknesses and continue encouraging each family that making the extra effort to clean homes, bathe, wash hands, and treat water is well worth it!

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 42.55 meters long and 4.50 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 Mbau.

Project Updates

05/07/2019: Mbau Community Sand Dam Underway

Hundreds of people living in Mbau walk a very long way to get water. Valuable time, energy, and health are lost in pursuit of one of life’s most important resources. Thanks to your generosity, we are working to solve this issue by building a water point nearby.

Get to know this community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out again with news of success!

The Water Project : 8-kenya19185-water-storage

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.