Hear from a remarkable community in Kenya who are in the process of building their fifth sand dam, motivated by the impact of their previous builds.

Mumbuni self-help group is a community development group based in Makueni County, southeast Kenya, which is categorized as an arid and semi-arid region characterized by its susceptibility to prolonged drought seasons.

To mitigate this crisis, the group partnered with Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF) and Excellent Development to implement sand dam projects in the region. These projects are geared towards providing long term solutions and establishing sustainable development in the region. To date, the group has constructed four sand dams along the riverbeds to ensure each community member has easy access to clean water. Currently, they are preparing their site and collecting raw materials for the construction of their fifth sand dam. A recent visit to the group provided an in-depth insight of their successes.

Dismas Mutinda, 64, has been the group’s Chairman since its debut and has been spearheading the developments of the locality through the construction of sand dams and shallow wells.

“As a group we have been meeting to strategize on the projects to embark on by utilizing the water. Most community members are doing well on their farms because the water is readily available. The group has received several trainings which we put into practice. In addition, we established a tree nursery (see photo) which has 35 mango tree seedlings that will be distributed evenly among the group members.” Mr. Mutinda stated.

Fellow group member, Kanyauwa Mbithi, 64, displayed her excitement and applauded the project’s impact on her life:

“The sand dam projects have helped us in establishing stable homes for ourselves. There’s plenty of water and there’s also enough time for engaging in income generating activities such as farming. The rains had delayed but we utilized the stored water from the previous sand dams to plant pigeon peas which will be harvested later.”

Kanyauwa added jovially: “Additionally, the distance covered to the water source is very short; in less than 10 minutes all my jerry cans are usually full of water and ready to be taken back home. Hygiene and sanitation has also improved; most homesteads have latrines unlike before. Our efforts will be beneficial to this community in the generations to come and we are very proud of our accomplishments so far.”

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