Katuluni Village is situated in Kitui County, southeast Kenya. The area receives little rainfall throughout the year leading to perennial drought, famine and a lack of adequate water sources for the community members.

United by a common need for adequate water at the household level, locals from the village came together and formed Wendano wa Katuluni self-help group (SHG) with the aim of working together in alleviating the water crisis in the area. Excellent Development has supported the community group in collaboration with partners Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF) in the construction of a water project (a sand dam, shallow well and climate-smart agriculture training activities) at the heart of the village.

"I have been able to successfully plant and take care of mangoes and papayas using the available water resources, they are doing well and I look forward to a bright future enjoying fruits with my grandchildren” adds Rhoda.

Rhoda Mwendwa, group secretary for Wendo wa Katulini self-help group, southeast Kenya.

Rhoda Mwendwa, 55, is a mother of eight children and has been serving as the group secretary. Here she shares her experiences living in the area and the change of fortunes attributed to the construction of a sand dam and shallow well in the village as well as the soil conservation and agriculture teachings from ASDF:

“I have been married in this village for the last 30 years and the rains were low resulting in constant poor harvests. Getting water was always the biggest challenge facing us; I would wake up early at 5:00am and walk with donkeys for more than 4km up to Kilyamboo River to fetch water from river scoop holes. Our crops performed badly and we could no longer plant any trees because of the lack of water,” says Rhoda.

After the construction of the sand dam and provision of nearby clean water, things have changed for the community members.

“Since the time we started working with ASDF, I have learnt important facets of soil conservation and agriculture, planting trees through the various trainings we have gone through. I have been able to successfully plant and take care of mangoes and papayas using the available water resources, they are doing well and I look forward to a bright future enjoying fruits with my grandchildren” adds Rhoda.

“Construction of the sand dam brought unlimited availability of water to us... Hygiene and sanitation training was also provided which has led to improvement in general cleanliness and sanitation standards in my home."

Simon Matei, member of Wendo wa Katulini self-help group, southeast Kenya.

Simon Matei, 62, hails from the local village and has been an influential member of the community group. Here he shares other significant aspects of the project which have had significant impacts at the household level:

“Construction of the sand dam brought unlimited availability of water to us. I have managed to start a small kitchen garden in my home where I have planted tomatoes, spinach, onions and kales for my family to eat; selling any surplus to generate revenue. The kales are ready, my children and grandchildren enjoy having them alongside Ugali as their favourite meal. This is helping diversify our eating habits in a bid to improve our health.”

Simon adds: “Hygiene and sanitation training was also provided which has led to improvement in general cleanliness and sanitation standards in my home, and now my children and I understand the need for washing our hands before all meals and after visiting latrines.”

Community members from Katuluni remain happy and thankful for everything achieved from the sand dam project, with hopes of building more sand dams in future.

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