The Kamwonyeni self-help group (SHG) was established in 2015 in an attempt to address the problems accompanied by the lack of accessible water within the community. Excellent Development met with two members to discuss how the construction of a sand dam has impacted their lives.

Please introduce yourselves...

Cosmas: My name is Cosmas Musyoki Kalonzo, I am 49 and I am the group coordinator of this SHG.

Rachael: My name is Rachael Kisio Ngui, I am 45 and I am the secretary of this SHG.

How big is your family?

Cosmas: I have a wife and six children, two boys and four girls.Rachael Kisio Ngui

Rachael: I have got two children, a boy and a girl.

"Before the sand dam was constructed, we used to start the day by going to the river to fetch water. It used to take us time because once we left home in the morning we could not be back until around 11am."

Rachael Kisio Ngui, secretary of Kamwonyeni self-help group, southeast Kenya.

Describe a typical day in your life prior to the construction of the sand dam.

Rachael: Before the sand dam was constructed, we used to start the day by going to the river to fetch water. It used to take us a long time because once we left home in the morning we would not be back until around 11am.

Cosmas: We used to go to the river and queue for the water. That could take from 10pm to the early hours of the morning – at around 5am. Even then, we could only get around four 20-litre jerry cans of water.

Cosmas, why did you decide to travel at night?

Cosmas: Throughout the day you would find a lot of people fetching water at the water point, so the only chance we had was the night hours because you would get fewer people queuing for the water. Cosmas Musyoki KalonzoHowever this came with the danger of being attacked by bad people in the area or even animals such as lions.

"There is a lot of big change; big change is now going on. Now, we see no stomach problems and not a lot of typhoid. We didn’t use to be able to wash our hands when we came from the toilets; we can now do that because we have got a lot of water."

Cosmas Musyoki Kalonzo, coordinator of Kamwonyeni self-help group, southeast Kenya.

How long has access to clean water been a problem in your community?

Rachael: That has been a prevalent issue throughout my lifespan; since I was born, until this point. Now we are able to at least pump clean water from the shallow well (connected to the sand dam).

So how have your lives changed since the construction of the sand dam?

Cosmas: There is a lot of big change; big change is now going on. Now, we see no stomach problems and not a lot of typhoid. We didn’t use to be able to wash our hands when we came from the toilets; we can now do that because we have got a lot of water.

Rachael: With the sand dam and the shallow well water I can plant trees. For my livestock I used to have to skip days giving them water; but today I know I can give them water on a daily basis. I am also hoping to start growing vegetables soon and start a vegetable garden within my farmyard.

What vegetables would you like to grow?

Rachael: Tomatoes, kale, spinach, and onions.

How do you feel now when you think about your sand dam project and everything that you have achieved so far as a group?

Cosmas: We are really very happy for having achieved the construction of the sand dam and the shallow well.

Rachael: We have also received several trainings from African Sand Dam Foundation (partners of Excellent) like tree planting, soil and water conservation through terracing, and exchange visits to other self help groups in the area.

Finally, we would really wish to thank the donors for their support, and we hope they continue to support us.

Could you help more people to break free from poverty by supporting them to build sand dams and carry out climate-smart farming, so they have enough water to drink and food to eat? Please donate what you can.

Please select a donation amount: *
Set up a regular payment Donate