Project Status

Project Type:  Sand Dam

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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The Kasekini area appears a lot more densely populated than the surrounding villages. The region is relatively hilly with partially motorable roads. Like most other parts of Mwingi, the dominant vegetation seems to be the indigenous trees, mostly the thorny acacia. There is a wider range of vegetation at the hillsides.

Most of the people seem to be living below the poverty line, with the village dotted with small homesteads of tiny houses, mainly made of mud or bricks. Yet, there is a feeling of great harmony among the people and a deep sense of hope and optimism as we talk to them.

However, access to water is a significant challenge for the more than 1,900 people here. The area has red loamy soils, which looks very fertile, with a great potential for crop production if only they can have sufficient water supply. During the driest months of the year, the day for most female beneficiaries starts at 4am in search of water.

An unprotected well, located 2km from the village center, is used during the few rainy months of the year. But it runs dry quickly and people must walk further to the nearest river bed found more than 5km away to fetch water from scoop holes. The water in both sources is heavily contaminated by human and animal activities. That exposes community members to the risk of contracting waterborne diseases from drinking the water. The time spent fetching water and the illnesses caused by the drinking it is a drain on this community.

"Water scarcity is a great challenge to us all. Often, we don't have any," Mary Muthangwia said.

"Sometimes, the water we drink causes our illnesses. And for us as women, it really makes our chores a challenge."

Our main entry point into Kasekini Community is the Makasini Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 40 farming households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. With a community of more than 1,900 people, we will work with this group for up to 5 years on projects that will ensure that every person has improved access to a reliable water point. These members will be our hands in feet in both constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone.

What we can do:

Sand Dam

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 37.5 meters long and 4.3 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 of people in Kathamba Ngii Village of Mwingi, Kenya.


We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with Makasini Self-Help Group, which are also open to non-members. These will teach about important hygiene practices and daily habits to establish in the community at the personal and household levels. Taking good care of self and environment will make for a healthy community.

Most households have poor compound hygiene and their general hygiene and sanitation standards are low. In relation to this, they need improvement on compound hygiene, effective water treatment methods, handwashing training, soap making lessons and knowledge of disease transmission routes. The members of this group seem to have little knowledge of hygiene and sanitation. This also exposes them to risks of contracting diseases such as cholera, typhoid, diarrhea and stomachaches.

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Kasekini Community

Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.

We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to rural communities like Kasekini, Kenya.

We trained community members on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19.

Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

We covered essential hygiene lessons:

- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station

- Proper handwashing technique

- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing

- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.

We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:

- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19

- What social distancing is and how to practice it

- How to cough into an elbow

- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.

- How to make and properly wear a facemask.

During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point.

Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.

Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.

April, 2020: Kasekini Community Sand Dam Complete!

Please note, all photos in this report were taken before social distancing recommendations went into effect.

Kasekini, Kenya now has access to a new source of water thanks to your donation. A new sand dam was constructed on a sandy riverbed, which will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water.

"We are very happy. The completion of this water project represents a very important milestone for everyone here and future generations to come!" said John Mukuta, a farmer who lives in the community.

"We are looking forward to a more water-secure community and healthier people through good service from the water project. It is such an amazing achievement. May God bless our donors for their good work."

Dam fills with water

We worked with the Makaseni Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor to complete the project. In addition, they were trained on various skills such as bookkeeping, financial management, project management, group dynamics, and governance. We also conducted a hygiene and sanitation training to teach skills like soapmaking and to help improve behaviors such as handwashing.

Thumbs up for the water available at the well adjacent to the sand dam

When an issue arises concerning the water project, the group members are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure it works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our team of field officers to assist them.

Sand Dam

The community members collected all of the locally available materials like rocks and sand that were required for the 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 large sand dam, materials collection could take up to 4 months.

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 rebar are used to reinforce the mixture.

Once the foundation is complete, a skeleton of timber is built to hold up the sludge and rocks 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.

This dam measures 37.5 meters long and 4.3 meters high and took 640 bags of cement to build.

Sand dam construction was simultaneous to the construction of a hand-dug well, which gives locals a safer method of drawing water. As the sand dam matures and stores more water, more of it will be accessible as drinking water from the well. To see that hand-dug well, click here.

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 3 years of rain for this sand dam to reach maximum capacity, however, since sometimes it only rains once a year!

New Knowledge

The trainer conferred with the field staff about their previous visits to households and interviews with community members to determine which topics the community still could improve upon.

They decided to train on topics including health problems in the community; good and bad hygiene behaviors; how diseases spread and their prevention; choosing sanitation improvements; choosing improved hygiene behaviors; planning for behavioral change; handwashing; and soapmaking.

The attendance was as expected with a good number of expected participants turning up for the event. The area village administrator, Mr. Joshua, in charge of Kiini village came to join the training in the afternoon and was very impressed with the theme of the training and termed it a very educative training for the entire community.

The weather was favorable since it was during the rainy season yet there was no day when the training was interfered with by rains. There was enough shade and a very conducive environment that allowed the training to run smoothly.

All members participated equally. All showed interest and were willing to learn and take part in the training. They asked plenty of questions in all of the activities and discussed deeper on how they can stop open defecation in their area.

Mixing soap

"This is the first time this group has received a hygiene training. We have never had an opportunity to meet an organization that is willing to help us live a disease-free life through a hygiene training. For that reason, we are going to change greatly," said John Mukuta.

"We have learned from community mapping that all the feces after open defecation go into our water sources, thus contaminating them. We will be ambassadors of hygiene through toilet construction."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

February, 2020: Kasekini Community sand dam underway!

Dirty water is making people in Kasekini Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

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 with news of success!

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: Kasekini Community

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Kasekini Community 1A.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kasekini Community 1A 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!

"It was not easy getting water in our community. We would travel for more than [2 miles] in search of river scoop holes, which would at times be crowded with many people waiting. This really delayed the wait, taking a lot of time to draw water and travel back home. The water was never safe for human consumption because of the open nature of the water source, which exposed them to contaminants," said Timothy Mutia.

"Getting water has now been simplified and brought closer to our homesteads. It takes less time to walk to the well and draw water. The water is clean, and the source is well protected, which guarantees its safety for human consumption. This project has allowed me to start a small kitchen garden at home with my wife, where we have planted kales and spinach. It helps us diversify our eating habits while also saving us on the cost of vegetable purchases."

Timothy Mutia

"Through water availability from this water point, I have been able to grow kales and spinach at home through irrigation, something which was never possible in the past due to the water scarcity in our locality. They are ready, and we eat them at home with my children, which helps us cut down the cost of vegetable purchases."

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 Kasekini Community 1A 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 Kasekini Community 1A – 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.


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