Agnes Kaunda is transforming her life. In the region of southeast Kenya where she lives, access to water was a daily challenge and growing enough food impossible. But, since Agnes and her self-help group built two sand dams, they have enough water for their homes and farms. Now she is learning new farming techniques and making plans for a better future.

The burden of collecting water

When we spoke to her in 2011, Agnes said: “There has been a water shortage due to low rainfall since 2004.” Agnes had to collect water far away from her home. This meant that she had no time to work on her farm. Sometimes her children would have to help and would miss school.

Agnes said: “We fetch water from very far ... There are long queues. If I arrive at 8am, I will have to wait until 2pm until it is my turn to collect water.

“When there is a water shortage, most of the children miss school to help me fetch water.”

Because of the time Agnes spent collecting water, she was unable to invest in her farm. Agnes said: “If I could save the time I would graze my livestock, terrace my farm and do other farming activities.”

Creating opportunity and hope

Now Agnes and her self-help group have built two sand dams, she has water close to her home and is saving time. With the opportunity created, she is fulfilling her plans to invest in her farm. We spoke to Agnes again in July 2013. Agnes said: “As a group, we have established a vegetable nursery. We use the water to water our trees at home ... and I use the water to make bricks. Now my livestock are looking healthy.” 

Agnes Kaunda, member of the Kakai self-help group, Kenya

"The life of my children will change because I am now empowered and know how to do projects that generate income."

Agnes Kaunda, member fo the Kakai self-help group, Kenya.

Agnes is also being supported by Sand Dams Worldwide’s partners, Africa Sand Dam Foundation, to learn new farming techniques. Agnes said: “Before (our crops) did not do well because they were not suitable for this climate. Now we have been trained and have changed our planting practises to plant seeds that do well in this area. The training has been of great benefit to me.”

Empowered for a better future

But it doesn’t stop here. Agnes is now thinking of the future. She said: “This year we plan to build another sand dam, dig terraces and plant more vegetables.

“The life of my children will change because I am now empowered and know how to do projects that generate income.”

With just a little support from Sand Dams Worldwide and our partners, Agnes is transforming her life.

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