Project Status



Project Type:  Sand Dam

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 250 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features


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Community Profile

Wendano Makiioni's 250 community members struggle to find sufficient water to drink and perform their daily tasks. The water they can collect comes from faraway water points and requires a lot of physical effort, leaving them exhausted and short on time.

"The community depends on scoop holes (one shown in the photo below) and two protected shallow wells as their sources of drinking water. However, the scoop holes quickly dry up due to long drought periods and erratic rainfall," reported our field officer, Alex.

"Residents who live far away have to walk several kilometers to get water from the current water points while carrying 20-liter jerrycans on their backs or donkeys. This is a time-consuming and tedious task under the scorching sun that leaves less energy and effort to conduct activities such as farming or studies for students," continued Alex.

Not only do people have to walk up to an hour to access water, but the water they collect from scoop holes is contaminated, leaving people suffering from frequent water-related infections like typhoid, amoeba, dysentery, and stomach upsets.

"The scoop holes expose me and my family to infections, such as typhoid, stomach upsets, and more, because they are contaminated by livestock [excrement] and dust. My son, Nzangi, developed stomach issues recently, and the other children often complain of similar symptoms as well," shared Benjamin Muthui, a 65-year-old farmer shown above collecting water at the distant well.

"I have to help my family fetch water during weekends or holidays. Sometimes there is no water at home; thus, I have to forego classes and remain at home, like today," said 11-year-old Emmaculate, shown below carrying water home. "I also get tired from the long walks to the distant shallow well or scoop holes and cannot get time to play with friends or study."

"Students do not have enough water to drink at school, and their energy and time are consumed by fetching water. This has led to dismal academic performances and several students dropping out, limiting students in accessing better career opportunities or livelihoods," Alex said.

A new dug well in this community will change the everyday struggle of people to find sufficient water and hopefully give them back their time and energy for other valuable endeavors like working and schoolwork.

What we can do:

Our main entry point into the community is the Wendano Makiioni Self-Help Group, which comprises households 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.

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.

Training

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

We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with the Wendano Makiioni Self-Help Group and other community members to teach essential 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 the water is flowing.

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

The community and we firmly 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


01/23/2023: Makioni Community Sand Dam Complete!

Makioni, Kenya now has access to a new water source 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 over time. We also built 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 easily draw water from this water point because it is well protected," said seven-year-old Dorcas M. "I often accompanied my mother to the previous water sources, which was exhausting. This will no longer be the case because this water point is close to my home. I will also have enough clean water to drink."


"Walking to [the] Tyaa River to fetch water was exhausting and time-consuming, and my mother could not prepare meals on time," Dorcas continued. "We could also skip meals because of the insufficient water, but now we will have enough water to cook and drink. I will also get more time to play with my friends after school."

"I will no longer have to walk to the distant Tyaa River's scoop holes or previous shallow wells searching for water, because this water point is very close to my home," said 50-year-old farmer Fatuma Mzili. "I will have enough time and energy to concentrate on farming because this water point will offer sufficient water for irrigation. My family and I will be healthy because we will no longer be exposed to diseases like typhoid or amoeba that are associated [with] the consumption of water from the scoop holes."


"My cows and goats will have a nearby source of drinking water," Fatuma continued. "This will improve their milk and meat yield because they are not exhausted. I will also grow pasture [plants] on my land because I can easily irrigate it. I will also be able to cultivate various crops like bananas, kale, spinach, [and] onions, as well as cabbages, which will supplement our daily diet."

Sand Dam Construction Process

The members of Wendano Makioni Self-Help Group 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 the plans were 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 compact 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. We then used barbed wire and rebar to reinforce the mixture.

Once the foundation was complete, we built a timber skeleton to hold the sludge and rocks above ground level. Once our first layer dried, we 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 27 meters long and three meters high and took 700 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 in this region, sometimes it only rains once a year!

New Knowledge

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

 

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 soap- and detergent-making and improve behaviors such as handwashing.

Everyone's favorite topic to learn was soap-making.

"The members were very happy to learn the process of soap making and promised to generate income from the project," said our hygiene officer, Christine. "During the stirring of the soap, the members sang choruses to motivate those who were stirring, and this increased their patience during the soap-making process."

We also touched on health problems in the community, good and bad hygiene behaviors, the spread and prevention of disease, and sanitation improvements.

Kavata at the training.

"The training was very good," said farmer Kavata Mutemi. "I have learned a lot about hygiene and sanitation. I have also learned how to prevent diarrheal diseases. The soap-making training has enabled this group to have an income-generating activity. The training has also united the group more, and we are thankful."

 

Conclusion

This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members themselves. 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 their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In our target areas, we’re working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!




12/06/2022: Makioni Community Sand Dam Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Makioni 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 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.


Contributors

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