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The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Complete Sand Dam
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Sand Dam And Well
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Water Rushes Over Sand Dam
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Construction
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Construction
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Emily Mbiti
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Handwashing
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Handwashing Demonstration
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Handwashing Lesson
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Kithumbi Kitheka
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Mixing Soap
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Mixing Soap
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Soapmaking
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Trainer Leads Wash Training
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Training
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Training Groups
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Dam Construction Work
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Digging At The Dam Site
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Digging At The Dam Site
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Large Rocks For Dam
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Mixing Cement
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Trenching
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Hauling Rocks
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Carrying Container Filled With Water
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Donkeys For Carrying Water Home
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Fetching Water
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Filling Container With Water
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Filling Up Container With Water From A Scoop Hole
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Scooping Water
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Shg Members
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Shg Members
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Walking With Water Containers
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Bathroom
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Chicken Coops
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Compound
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Cooking
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Inside Kitchen
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Joel Kilonzo
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Kitchen Building
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Latrine
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Walking Around Compound
The Water Project: Kasioni Community 2A -  Water Storage Containers

Project Status

Project Type:  Sand Dam

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 700 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/22/2022

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

“Our area suffers from a lack of a reliable water source which has greatly affected our way of life here,” said Joel Kilonzo, a farmer living in Kasioni Community in southeast Kenya.

“Women have been waking up early and traveling for more than 4 kilometers to the Kase River in search of water. The water is not even safe because it is drawn from open river scoop holes. The water has exposed community members to health risks such as waterborne diseases.”

Mr. Kilonzo and the 700 other people who live in Kasioni share the same experience trying to access water. They rely on seasonal rivers to fetch water to use for everything from cooking to bathing and drinking. The community members report frequent cases of waterborne diseases including dysentery, typhoid, bilharzia, ringworms, and other stomach complications. The time lost and money spent treating these illnesses has a significant cost on people here.

“I have had bad water experiences since the time I was married here. During the dry season, I wake up at 4:00 in the morning to walk for more than 3 kilometers to the Katse River in search of water – sometimes with my children,” shared Tabitha Mulatya, another farmer we met while visiting the community.

“It has never been easy walking in the darkness and endangering my life in search of water. Only God has been protecting me.”

The long hours spent walking to and queueing at the water points have caused a lot of fatigue to community members and loss of valuable time. The majority of the community members rely on farming as their main source of income. Their primary crops include pigeon peas, cowpeas, green grams (mung beans), and millet. Water is an essential part of their lives. The time spent getting water could otherwise be spent working on the farm, taking care of family needs, or focusing on the many other responsibilities that are sacrificed as a result of their water crisis.

This community group is found in a rural setting on the slopes of Mumoni Hills which rests near the border of Kitui and Embu Counties. The area is generally hilly and made up of steep slopes with average vegetation cover made of a majority of indigenous trees. An average house here is made of bricks with iron sheets for the roof. Some homes use grass thatching for roofs. A majority of the houses lack cemented floors and the walls are not plastered.

Most of the latrines we observed at homesteads are made of mud floor slabs and the walls made of bricks. They are well-roofed with iron sheets and fitted with doors made either of wood or pieces of clothing.

What we can do:

Our main entry point into Kasioni Community is the Kamami Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 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 in this area.

Sand Dam

After the community picked their ideal spot for a sand dam, our technical team went in and proved its viability by finding a good foundation of bedrock. Now, our engineers are busy drawing up the blueprints. We estimate the dam will be 37 meters long and 3 meters high.

We are unified with this community to address the water shortage. As more sand dams are built in this area, the environment will continue to transform. As the sand dams mature and build up more sand, the water tables will rise. Along with this sand dam, a hand-dug well will be installed to give community members an easy, safe way to access that water.

Building this sand dam along with the well in this community will help bring clean water closer to hundreds of people living here.


These community members currently do their best to practice good hygiene and sanitation, but their severe lack of water has been a big hindrance to reaching their fullest potential.

We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with the Kamami Self-Help Group and other community members to teach about important hygiene practices and daily habits to establish at the personal, household, and community levels. This training will help to ensure that participants have the knowledge they need to make the most out of their new water point as soon as water is flowing.

One of the most important topics we plan to cover is the handling, storage, and treatment of water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it is consumed. We will also emphasize the importance of handwashing.

We and the community strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve living standards here, which will help to unlock the potential for these community members to live better, healthier lives.

We typically work with self-help groups for 3 to 5 years on multiple water projects. We will conduct follow-up visits and refresher trainings during this period and remain in contact with the group after all of the projects are completed to support their efforts to improve sanitation and hygiene.

Project Updates

05/20/2020: Kasioni Community Sand Dam Complete!

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

Kasioni, 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.

"Access to clean water will give me unlimited water access within my home, which will lead to improved levels of cleanliness and regular handwashing, especially in these times of Coronavirus," shared Kitumbi Kitheka, a 65-year-old farmer.

"I am looking forward to improved health in my family and more time created to engage in other income-generating activities as there will be no more long walks in search of water."

We worked with the Kamami Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor to complete the project. We trained the group 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.

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.

"This project will change our lives greatly because we will no longer be required to walk for long distances in search of water. Available water is clean and safer compared to the scoop holes we have been relying on before. This will improve our hygiene levels for the better, leading to a more healthy community," said Emily Mbiti.

Sand Dam

The community members collected all of the local materials. Rocks and sand are 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 can 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 meters long and 3 meters high and took 750 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.

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 field officer in charge of the Nguuku region, Stephen Mwangangi, informed the community members about the planned water, sanitation, and hygiene training in the community during their project construction. The area sub-chief and village administrator were also invited and notified about the training.

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 most of the community members turning up in good numbers for the training. The venue for this training was at Kasioni Primary School inside a spacious classroom. The weather was sunny for the first 2 days and rained on the third day. The environment was quiet and conducive to learning.

The first case of COVID-19 was reported in Kenya days before the training started. With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the self-help group members showed a lot of interest in handwashing since it is one of the simplest and cheapest methods of preventing such diseases.

The training on this topic began with a demonstration on how to construct a tippy tap. We used local materials, including 2 fork sticks, a string, and a 5-liter jerrycan to construct the simple handwashing station. The members participated well in this hands-on session and promised to construct one at their homes once they returned.
"The training was very good. We are happy we have learned a lot about hygiene and sanitation. This knowledge will help us to prevent infections like coronavirus, which is emerging, and waterborne diseases, like typhoid," said Mrs. Kitheka.

Next, we led a demonstration on how to make liquid soap. The materials used to make this soap are locally available, and few skills are required. The whole process involved a lot of stirring to ensure all of the materials mixed well, and quality soap was obtained at the final stage. All of the participants took a turn in the stirring of the liquid soap. They were patient enough until the final product was obtained.

During the stirring of the soap, one of the members led the rest in singing a Kamba traditional song that motivated them and encouraged them to put more effort into all of the activities that they do together as a group. This made the topic very interesting.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

The Water Project : kenya20300-complete-sand-dam-1

03/24/2020: Kasioni Community sand dam underway!

People travel long distances just to get dirty water from open holes in the riverbed. This is making the families of Kasioni Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean 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 : kenya20300-20301-fetching-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.

Giving Update: Kasioni Community Sand Dam

August, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kasioni 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!

This area suffered from long drought periods which culminated in various water scarcity issues. We could not conduct farming or proper hygiene practices because there was insufficient water. My parents and other members of the community could travel up to 8 kilometers searching for water, which made it difficult to concentrate on other matters such as farming. This reduced our financial stability, because farming was rare.

We now have sufficient water from this waterpoint, which can sustain us even during the long drought periods. My hygiene and sanitation levels have also improved because water is enough to drink and clean. My parents have now participated in farming and have grown vegetables. This farming has improved food security and also offered a source of income. My parents can use the extra cash for my school fees.

My academic performance has improved since I live in a clean environment that supports learning. I have also achieved higher standards of hygiene because this water point offers a steady flow of water. My village now exhibits greener scenery, which was not the case in the past. I have also managed to protect myself against diseases such as COVID-19 because of the improved levels of hygiene.

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 Kasioni 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 Kasioni 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!


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