Sand dam technology has not only the potential to improve food access, water security and climate change resilience, but also to contribute to local transport infrastructure. The experience of the Kee self-help group, and their recently completed sand dam road crossing in southeast Kenya, is a perfect example of this.

The Kee self-help group (SHG) of Kee village, based in Makueni county, have recently been celebrating their newly completed sand dam road crossing. After a long construction period and a resilient effort from the local populace, the result of the project is a feeling of elation and hope for those who have worked so hard to achieve it.

The project, which has been implemented by the Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF) in partnership with Sand Dams Worldwide, is aimed at providing water security and improving transport infrastructure for the local residents. Sand dam road crossings represent an incorporation of the principles of sand dam technology with low volume road crossing designs, providing a source of clean water for locals while simultaneously improving their access to markets and services (you can find out more about sand dam road crossings and their benefits by clicking here).

In a recent visit by ASDF, some of the self-help group members shared their experiences and long-term aspirations with regards to the project.

Onesmus Muindi, a 63-year-old member of Kee SHG said: "With the water made available by this project we plan to embark on large scale farming activities... In addition, as a group we intend to start supplying water to the nearby town of Tawa through a pipeline project. This will be another source of income for the group members."

"It’s our dream that one day every community member will have water at their homes through this project."

Onesmus Muini, member of Kee self-help group, southeast Kenya.

As well as the benefits provided by the project in terms of water supply, the unique nature of a sand dam road crossing offers further advantages by creating new transport links where they were previously lacking. "We are very excited about the recently finished project, it’s like a dream come true." Onesmus shares. "Transportation of our farm produce to the market will now be much easier with the stable sand dam road crossing."

The jovial Peninah Makau Mbithe, a 56-year-old member of Kee SHG, was delighted at the completion of the road crossing project. Recalling the challenges she used to face with early morning water collection and intense dry seasons, Peninah found it difficult to believe that the project was finally complete.

"I remember how we used to wake up very early to come to the construction site. It was very hard work as it was a huge project. But for sure, everything that has a beginning has an ending." Peninah says of her project experience. "Once we have raised enough funds we also plan to start selling packaged water to stalls, shops and target a wider market because we have sufficient water supply in the area."

Peninah finishes by sharing her plans for her farm, now bolstered by the reliable water supply from the Kee sand dam road crossing.

Peninah Mbithe of Kee self-help group"The project has harvested plenty of water which we plan to utilize by farming vegetables such as kales, spinach, tomatoes, onions and green peppers among others."

Peninah Makau Mbithe, member of Kee self-help group, southeast Kenya.

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