The Rotary Club of Princes Risborough has helped to fund a number of Sand Dams projects since 2016. Below is an update from Bruce Irwin of the Rotary Club of Easthampstead on two projects in Kenya. A sand dam is a reinforced rubble cement wall built across a seasonal sandy river. They are a simple, low cost, low maintenance technology that retains rainwater and recharges groundwater. Sand dams are the most cost-effective method of water conservation in dryland environments.
"Here is a short report, along with some photos (attached), that I received about the Kithunthi SHG sand dam, S.E Kenya, a few days ago. I hope that you can find a way of sharing this information with your club members.
Your clubs joined Easthampstead RC and made generous contributions to this D1090 sand dam project in 2017, for which we are very grateful. Our funding contribution of c. £5000.00 was doubled by the "Big Give" in December 1917 and was augmented by Chertsey RC and Kenilworth RC. The dam was completed in March 2018 and is now full of water as you can see from the photos. (Clubs mentioned on the plaques have contributed £1000.00 or more.) Sand is building up below the water level as the community are now able to get clean, filtered, and drinkable water from the water-pump. As you are aware this is just the beginning of the project and already, the impacts of this project are beginning to be felt by the local community as described below.
Here are some photos of your sand dam under construction for the Wendo Wa Katuluni SHG sand dam, S.E Kenya.
The funding of this sand dam includes the payment of £5000.00 from the Rotary Club of Easthampstead to the "Big Give" in November of 2018. This amount was made possible by the wonderful contributions from the Rotary Club of Princes Risborough and our twin club in Belgium, Charleroi Val de Sembre. The £5000.00 was immediately doubled to £10,000.00 , enabling the construction of a dam for the Katuluni community
These photos were received a few days ago and, as you can see the dam was close to completion when the photos were taken. I am sure the construction phase is now finished, so the local community will now be waiting for a good rainy season to fill up the dam and start the sand deposition process. Hopefully we will soon receive more information and photos of this project.
Thanking you all for your on-going support.
Rotary Club of Easthampstead"
"Life is easier than before"
The Kithunthi self-help group was set up in 2012 by members of a rural Kenyan community, in an attempt to manage problems the community faced as a result of water scarcity. We (A.S.D.F.) met with two such members,
Chairman Justus Mulu Kalenge, 44, and Vice Chairman Immaculate Nduku Kioko, 45, (see Photos below) to discuss how the implementation of the sand dam has helped them achieve this goal so far.
Prior to the construction in 2018, it was an everyday struggle to obtain water. The nearest source was a 5km walk away and fetchers faced lengthy queues once they reached it. "Life was hard"says Immaculate, "after you go
back home you are late, you are tired, you can do nothing else, only finding water." Wasted time took a massive toll on people's lives. Justas explains, "You can't work at night, most hours have been drained in search of water,
the other duties are abandoned." This pressure has been massively reduced since the sand dam was completed in 2018. "It takes only about 30 minutes from the river, the main source of the water, to back home, so life is easier
than before," says Immaculate. Now more time is spent on farming, terracing, irrigation and tree planting, and every household has a garden to provide fresh vegetables.
Another benefit is the huge increase in the quality of the water, which has drastically improved health conditions within the community. Describing the situation before, Justus says, "the river water is easily contaminated, so
waterborne disease was the order of the day." Things are different now. "We have also been trained on sanitation, how to take care of your water after fetching it from the well, how to keep it safe, water treatment, washing
hands." Children are now taking less time off school due to illness and their overall health has improved as they develop and grow in a nourishing environment.
Economic growth is another advancement currently being enjoyed by members of the community. They have received further training and learnt of opportunities to boost income through selling surplus crops at local
markets. Immaculate is beginning to see an increase of income thanks to the extra 150 orange trees she was able to grow, and Justus says he makes income from surplus produce. They hope that this money will secure a
better future for their children. "With water they’ll be doing their farming easier than us, so they'll be living in a nicer world than me," says Justus.
An overall feeling of gratitude is felt by the Kithunthi self-help group members towards The African Sand Dam Foundation, Excellent Development, and the Rotary supporters as their,"dreams have become a reality."
Immaculate ends our discussion saying, "We are proud and we thank you.”
Justus Mulu Kalenge, 44, Chairman of Kithuni SHG Immaculate Nduku KiOkO, 45, Vice Chairman Of Kithuni SHG