Published in January 2024

When life becomes a daily struggle to find scarce but essential resources, people may find happiness difficult to come by and lose hope that things can change for the better. In southeast Kenya, we spoke with members of the Ukava wa Kithoni community who say that their sand dam project has brought joy to their lives and restored hope for a better future.

The Ukava wa Kithoni self-help group (SHG) is a community group based in the Kithoni Village of Makueni County, southeast Kenya. The area around Kithoni is classified as arid to semi-arid as it receives very little rainfall throughout the year, profoundly affecting water access and living standards for local people.

Members of the SHG have been working with Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF) and Sand Dams Worldwide (SDW) to implement a sand dam project, which will help address the water challenges that have been affecting community members.

The community recently completed the construction of a sand dam and shallow well in a nearby river channel, bringing joy and hope for a better future thanks to this new water resource, which will also help to conserve the local environment.

Joyce Mathuva is a members of the Ukava wa Kithoni community, who kindly shared her experiences and aspirations in the wake of the new project. She tells us that women in her community would traditionally make the difficult journey to fetch water, sometimes travelling long distances of more than 5 kilometres each day.

Joyce Mathuva - member of Ukava wa Kithoni SHG"The completion of this project has brought a lot of joy to me and my family. Having this sand dam is a big relief to us as women and girls, because we can now fetch water from a source much closer to our homes."

Joyce Mathuva, member of the Ukava wa Kithoni self-help group, southeast Kenya.

Another community member named Joseph Kivuva, who is 72 years old, says that gaining reliable water access and restoring the environment is a dream that community members have had all their life.

He tells us that the area has struggled without critical resources and good living standards for many years, without receiving the support they needed to address their challenging situation.

Joseph Kivuva - member of Ukava wa Kithoni SHG"Thanks to the ASDF training and projects, we now have water in our area and are improving our lives. We are seeing less soil erosion because of better conservation and agricultural practices."

Joseph Kivuva, member of the Ukava wa Kithoni self-help group, southeast Kenya.

The community expressed their gratitude towards ASDF, SDW and those who support them for helping them to implement their sand dam project. They hold the project in high regard and look forward to the transformation of their area as a result of what they have achieved.

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