Meko Maw'o self-help group (SHG) are located at Kisaki Village in Machakos County, southeast Kenya. The community hails from an arid and semi-arid area that is predisposed to unreliable rainfall patterns. As a result, the community members experienced great challenges in pursuit of clean water pushing them to extreme measures of walking for more than 5km to access this precious commodity from the nearest rivers.

The water fetched from these sources was often contaminated leading to contraction of water borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, bilharzia and dysentery. It’s with this common problem that the community members merged to form the SHG in order to develop appropriate and sustainable solutions to the water scarcity challenge.

“The project has been doing well; the sand dam harvested large volumes of water and has never dried since the previous rains."

Benedetta Nduku, member of Meko Maw'o self-help group, southeast Kenya.

The group contacted Excellent’s partners in the region, the Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF) back in 2017 and expressed their need of water in the region. Through the support of ASDF in collaboration with Excellent, the group has now constructed two sand dams and two shallow wells. Both projects have been providing clean water to the community members. A visit to the group highlighted the benefits reaped from the project.

Benedetta Nduku, 62, is a group member who has been serving as a care taker of the project in the past year. She elaborated on the changes and benefits attained from the sand dam projects:

“The project has been doing well; the sand dam harvested large volumes of water and has never dried since the previous rains. The water has sustained the society’s needs since its establishment. Community members have been fetching the water for drinking, performing their household duties, livestock and farming activities. As a group we established a small vegetable garden of kales and spinach for sale. We also have a tree nursery of jacarandas which we plan to transfer to our personal farms when they are fully-fledged” said Benedetta.Meko Mawo self-help group farmer, Dorcas Wavinya, southeast Kenya

"Our livestock are healthier and more productive than before because they can easily access water. The environment is greener and there’s plenty of vegetation for us and our livestock.”

Dorcas Wavinya, member of Meko Maw'o self-help group, southeast Kenya.

Dorcas Wavinya, 42, is another active group member who shares her experience with the water project so far: “We have recently completed the construction of our second dam and it already has water, despite the delayed rains. This is mainly because the first sand dam increased the river’s water table. Additionally, the construction of the second dam project was seamless thanks to the available water in the first dam. All the group members can now comfortably access the water points with minimal strains” Dorcus explained.

She added: “Initially, we had planted tomatoes at our demo farm and we sold them amongst the group members. Now we have alternated with kales and spinach. We water them in turns with each member having their day of watering the vegetables. Our livestock are healthier and more productive than before because they can easily access water. The environment is greener and there’s plenty of vegetation for us and our livestock.”

The community members are optimistic about their future achievements and success as a result of the water project. And they remain thankful to ASDF, Excellent and all donors for their continuous support.

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