Project Status

Project Type:  Sand Dam

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/20/2024

Project Features

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Kaketi Village is a peaceful and rural area with a community of more than 500 households spread across the community. People here own large pieces of land that feature thick shrubs and bushes of indigenous and exotic tree species.

The average day begins at 5:00 am. Women prepare breakfast and start the journey to go and fetch water. Men, at times, join the women during the dry season. But typically the men go run their errands on their farms or travel to informal labor jobs in the morning. Women will sometimes spend their whole day at the water source, especially during the dry seasons. They use a variety of sources, from scoop holes dug into dry riverbeds until they hit water, to rivers, or water points over 30 minutes away from their homes 1-way.

Most times they get back home in the afternoon very tired. They then have to perform the household chores and maybe go back to the water source for more water. Afterward, they prepare supper and have dinner as a family. The cycle continues like that every day for this community.

In the drought periods as some water sources dry up, the women trek for very long distances to fetch water. These strains have reduced substantially thanks to the completion of a sand dam and well in this area last year. However, some members still have to walk for long distances on the rough terrains to fetch water. More than half of the 1,500 people living here are not close enough to the well.

"Life is very hard with an inadequate water supply. The current water point has very fresh and clean water for use, which is highly appreciated, however, it's still far from my home. Walking for long distances is very tiring as the terrain is rough, slopy, and very steep. No other work can be done because all we do is search for water," said Elizabeth Nzuki, a farmer in the community.

Some people still travel more than 30 minutes each way to get water and will travel even longer in order to avoid lines. The chore has been known to consume most of their time thus hindering them from engaging in other productive activities.

What We Can Do:

Our main entry point into Kaketi Community has been the Kalawa People Living with HIV 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.

Sand Dam

After the community picked the ideal 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 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 Kalawa People Living with HIV Self-Help Group and other community members to teach about important hygiene practices and daily habits to establish at the personal, household, and community level. 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

August, 2021: Kaketi Community B Sand Dam Complete!

Kaketi Community, Kenya now has access to a new source of water thanks to your donation. We constructed a new sand dam on the riverbed, which will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water. We also constructed a new hand-dug well with a hand pump adjacent to the sand dam, providing the community with a safer method to draw drinking water supplied by the dam.

"I was used to walking for very long distances to fetch water for drinking, cooking, and for general hygiene and sanitation practices at my home," said Josephine Liku, a community and Self-Help Group member.

"Now, I will fetch water at my comfort, at any time of the day, and with no limit because the water point is adjacent to my home. I will improve my personal hygiene by washing clothes often, bathing on a daily basis, and also clean my household surfaces daily."

Another community member, Mutinda Mateng'e, said, "I am very happy about this project and the benefits that I will gain from it. The sand dam will enable me to engage in farming practices easily. I will also utilize the water for household chores, and I will not have to trek for long distances as we used to do in the previous years."

Sand Dam Construction Process

The community members collected all of the local materials like rocks and sand required to complete the dam. The collection of raw construction materials takes longer than the actual construction, lasting up to four months for a large sand dam. The group also dedicated their time and energy to support our artisans with physical labor throughout the project.

First, our team drew siting and technical designs and presented them to the Water Resources Management Authority. We also sent a survey to the National Environment Management Authority for approval before we began construction. Once approved, we established firm bedrock at the base of the sand dam wall. In the absence of good bedrock, we excavate to a depth at which the ground is firm enough to stop seepage.

Next, we mixed and heaped mortar (a mixture of sand, cement, and water) into the foundation, followed by rocks once there was enough mortar to hold them. We then used barbed wire and rebar to reinforce the mixture.

Once the foundation was complete, we built a timber skeleton to hold up the sludge and rocks above ground level. We then repeated the process until reaching a sufficient height, width, and length. Finally, we dismantled the vertical timber beams and left the dam to cure. This dam measures 34 meters long and 5 meters high. It took 451 bags of cement to build.

As soon as it rains, the dam will build up sand and store water. With this water, the surrounding landscape will become lush and fertile and the well will provide drinking water to the community. It could take up to three years of rain for this sand dam to reach maximum capacity because sometimes it only rains once a year!

We worked with the Kalawa People Living with HIV Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and a tremendous amount of physical labor to complete the project. We trained the group on various skills, including bookkeeping, financial management, project management, group dynamics, and governance.

The community members expressed their gratitude for the continuous support granted to ensure their region has sufficient water for drinking, cooking, livestock, and establishing proper hygiene and sanitation.

"I plan to use the water to establish a vegetable garden," said Josephine. "I will plant spinach, kale, onions, and tomatoes for domestic use as well as reduce the time I spent walking to far markets."

"I plan to use the water from the project to farm," said Mutinda. "I will plant vegetables on a large scale, as I have a huge piece of land that has been idle for a while. I will utilize this water project very efficiently."

We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training to teach skills like soapmaking and improve behaviors such as handwashing.

New Knowledge

Our trainer conferred with the field staff about their previous visits to households and interviews with community members to determine which topics the community could improve upon. As we've worked with this community in the past, this was a refresher training to fill in gaps in knowledge.

We decided to train on health problems in the community, good and bad hygiene behaviors, the spread and prevention of disease, sanitation improvements,  planning for behavioral change, handwashing, and soap-making.

The training took place at Mr. Benson Ndaka’s homestead, who is the group's Chairman. On the training day, the weather was quite favorable, as it was sunny and cool. The compound had abundant tree cover that sheltered all the members from the scorching rays of the sun when it got hotter.

Community members really appreciated the WASH Training, as they acquired helpful skills that will enable them to generate more income, which will go a long way in improving their living standards.

The attendees were very active and jovial throughout the training session: they asked questions and aired concerns about some of the sensitive areas of hygiene and sanitation.

While making the latrine disinfectant, the members said that as a result of the continuous usage of the latrine disinfectant, which they learned from the previous WASH Training, they no longer have rodents like rats, snakes, and even cockroaches in their toilets.

"The whole community has transformed in terms of hygiene and sanitation," said Benson. "It’s now routinely known that hand washing at all times is very vital. We have been acting as the change agents in this region to the rest of the community members by educating them on best practices. The community greatly appreciates the work of the organization in the provision of protected water sources."

"With the availability of water, I will start making soap for sale," said Josephine. "The raw materials are readily available."

When an issue arises concerning the sand dam, 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 field officers to assist them.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

July, 2021: Kaketi Community sand dam underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Keketi, Kenya drains peoples’ 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!

A Year Later: A Clean House and Clean Hands!

September, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kaketi 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!

“Before the construction of this project, life was very hard," said 17-year-old Everlyne.

"We used to get water from very far [away] in a river that is about four kilometers from home, and the water was not very safe for drinking. We did not have enough water for maintaining our hygiene and sanitation as well as for watering our trees and other crops on the farm. The other source of our water is a nearby earth dam which is very open to contamination, hence the water source cannot be relied on by anyone.’’

But since rains have begun to mature the sand dam, there is always water nearby for Everlyne.

She said: "Now, I fetch water with a lot of ease, and I don’t waste much time as it’s a short walk [before] one is back home with water. I am very happy about this project, and the source has made me realize the goodness of having clean water near us.’’

Since the project was installed a year ago, easy accessibility to water has relieved more than just thirst.

“In the past year, I have been able to improve our sanitation levels at my home, as I am able to do all the cleaning of our houses, clothes, and utensils using this water point," Everlyne concluded. "Also, I have managed to install more handwashing points at home specifically to improve [our] sanitation that use [the] water supplied from this project.”

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 Kaketi 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 Kaketi 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.


2 individual donor(s)