Project Status

Project Type:  Sand Dam

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 1,200 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/15/2024

Project Features

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The majority of the 1,200 community members in this locality rely on a single water source for all their water needs - a dam and well project that we completed last year. Many community members still walk a long distance to access the water point, making the daily chore of water fetching exhausting.

"Having adequate water in our community has been a big challenge for a long time. I am required to travel for more than one hour to the water source. It is tedious and time-consuming since I am required to make several trips there to get enough water for the family's needs. More water projects evenly distributed can help all of us have easy access to water within our homesteads," shared Mwanziu Ruendo, a farmer in the community.

Our main entry point into Kasioni Community has been 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 constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone. This region of Kenya is semi-arid, which means that rains are infrequent, and people often travel long distances for water.

We work with self-help groups like this one for up to five years to build multiple water points in seasonal riverbeds to ensure everyone has access to a reliable water point close to home. The implementation of more water projects in the locality can help address the challenges of distance and overcrowding.

"During the dry season of the year, our water source is always full with many people drawing water here, even from other villages, which shows the need for more water projects in our community since the available ones are not enough. More water projects would reduce the dependency on the available main source of water," explained Musya Mutemi.

Kasioni village is a quiet rural location with average vegetation cover made of predominantly indigenous tree species. A majority of community members have houses made of brick walls and iron sheet roofs. The roads in the locality are dry weather roads penetrating the steep slopes leading to the community.

On an average day, the women and children wake up at 6:00 am. The women will prepare breakfast for the family as the children get ready for school. The responsibility for fetching water each day falls on the women who must go out with containers carried either by a donkey or on their backs. Depending on the size of the family and their water needs, many women and children may be required to travel back to the water source multiple times to get water for their use at home.

What we can do:

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 and 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 hindered 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 level. This training will ensure that participants know they need to make the most out of their new water point as soon as the water is flowing.

One of the most important topics we plan to cover is handling, storing, and treating 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.

The community and we 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 training 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

November, 2021: Kasioni Community D Sand Dam Complete!

Kasioni, 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 will no longer be walking for kilometers searching for water, which will give me ample time to focus on my studies," said 13-year-old Susan P. "I will also get enough water to practice proper personal as well as household hygiene and sanitation."

Susan in front of the sand dam.

"I will also get enough clean water for drinking and cooking that does not expose me to infections like diarrhea, typhoid, or worm infections," Susan continued. "I will also be able to plant some vegetables after school which will improve food security."

"The clean water from this water point will allow me to plant trees, water my cattle and I will no longer have to walk long distances searching for water for drinking or cooking," said 26-year-old Joseph Mbithi.

Joseph shows off the sand dam.

"Due to its close proximity, I will have more time [to] focus on farming and increase my produce, which will also improve my financial security," Joseph continued. "My cattle will also grow bigger and fetch me a higher sale price."

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 took 844 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 Kamami Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and a tremendous amount of physical labor.

New Knowledge

We've worked with the Kamami Self-Help Group before, so we conducted a refresher training to reinforce lessons they've learned as well as answer any questions they have.

"I can say that in terms of latrines construction, we have improved since after the follow-up was done, all members have constructed them," said the group's chairwoman, Kithumba Kithuka, 58.

Kithumba at her home.

We trained the group on various skills, including bookkeeping, financial management, project management, group dynamics, and governance. We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training to teach skills like soapmaking and improve behaviors such as handwashing.

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.

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.

"Implementation of sanitation infrastructures will be our number one priority because it is for our own good and not the trainer's," Kithumba continued. "We will ensure that we construct utensil racks, dig rubbish pits, construct animal sheds, and have tippy taps. The soap-making skill will continue helping us initiate an activity that can make us earn some little income and keep us together."

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!

October, 2021: Kasioni Community D Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Kasioni Community drains people’s 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 steady supply of water even during the dry months"

February, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kasioni Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Muyathi. 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 3A.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kasioni Community 3A 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 a sand dam was installed in Kasioni Community last year, community members spent countless hours searching for water, leaving them exhausted and still without sufficient water to meet all of their needs.

"We experienced water scarcity because this area is semi-arid, and the nearby rivers are seasonal. We used to walk over five kilometers to [the] nearest waterpoint," said 29-year-old farmer Muyathi Mwanza.

"We had to travel several kilometers searching for water, which left me tired and unable to concentrate on activities like farming. Also, there was meager water for household activities due to the lengthy dry seasons."

But since the installation of the sand dam, community members have had access to water, which has opened up time and energy to do other things.

"I now spend less time looking for water because the water point is nearby and offers a steady supply of water even during the dry months," said Muyathi.

"This has allowed me to focus on other developmental activities such as farming and rearing cattle. I can now plant trees because of the sand dam’s water availability, which will change my environment in the long term."

And having access to water has also enabled Muyathi to make other improvements.

"It also allowed [me] to achieve higher hygiene and sanitation standards because I get enough water to practice good hygiene practices. This has helped keep off diseases like typhoid, amoeba, and diarrhea because we are drinking clean water," Muyathi concluded.


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 3A 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 3A – 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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