The Matumo Tree Growers self-help group was founded in 2012, with the incentive of finding solutions to many issues the community faced due to a lack of access to clean water. We discussed the current situation and future aspirations if they were offered enough funding to build sand dams.

One major priority for the community is the prevention of waterborne diseases, often contracted by drinking contaminated water from the nearest river. Anna Mangeli, 58, has two children who contracted typhoid, and they had no choice but to continue drinking the same water afterwards. She explains “most of the time we lack money for buying water treatment chemicals. So just take it the way it is and believe that God will make us safe.” Jackson Kimila Kyaka, 65, remembers suffering from belharzia; “I was passing urine that was laced with blood... When I was sick I could not work, I was very weak,” he says. They believe a sand dam would bring an end to these devastating circumstances.

“Most of the time we lack money for buying water treatment chemicals. So just take it the way it is and believe that God will make us safe."

Anna Mangeli, Matumo Tree Growers self-help group member.

Currently, reaching the nearest water source is a dangerous, timely journey, taking one and a half hours each way. Livestock have created gullies and holes in the already steep, hilly paths, causing many people to fall. The temperamental nature of donkeys, that are meant to ease the journey, create further risks when they get restless; “Gerry cans fall off and they get destroyed and there is also the danger of harming whoever is with the donkey,” says Anna. Livestock then continue to cause problems at the river, filling scoop holes with sand so more time is wasted scooping them out again to reach water. If they had the funding, the group would like to install a shallow well to significantly reduce the time spent collecting water and eradicate these grievances.

“I was passing urine that was laced with blood... When I was sick I could not work, I was very weak.”

Jackson Kimila Kyaka, Matumo Tree Growers self-help group member.

Another issue currently is that fetchers carry water home on their backs, meaning they take only what they can manage. This is never enough. Insufficient water affects Anna as she cannot run her kitchen garden or grow fruit trees. “I checked yesterday and the seedlings are already drying,” she says.

They trust this would change if they have nearby access safe water and would enjoy a much higher standard of living, having enough to eat and increased income from selling crops. Anna says “we hope to increase what we are planting by having kale, spinach, tomatoes.” Others hope to grow green maize, okra and sweet pepper. Chairman Alexander Mutuka Kituusye, 65, adds “our agricultural production will change for the better because irrigation will now be possible.”

Other aspirations include less reliance on relief aid, and Chairman added, “Our village will generally develop because once there is the flow of money, everybody will be happy, because ‘water is life.”

“Our village will generally develop because once there is the flow of money, everybody will be happy, because water is life.”

Chairman Alexander Mutuka Kituusye, Matumo Tree Growers self-help group.

Please consider donating today, to help us meet our urgent need. Your donation will ensure that fewer women and children have to face the terrible health consequences of collecting and using unprotected water, and more families can begin to thrive.

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