Sand Dams For Peace
Participants hold a discussion during the morning session
Members from a learning visit in August last year visit a dam. Some of the participants have visited ASDF again.
Baringo County is one of the 47 such units recently established in Kenya with the promulgation of the New Constitution. Its main inhabitants are from the Pokot, Turkana, Tugen and Elchamus Communities. All these are pastoralist communities who keep livestock for a livelihood.
They have, however, been in constant conflict over pasture, water and other natural resources, a conflict that has just refused to recede and one which has cost the country many a life.
In an effort to curb rampant, often fatal, intercommunity livestock raids and hostility between the communities owing to water scarcity, Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF) and Excellent Development (ED) have taken to supporting these communities to adopt the Sand Dam technology. The aim is to make more abundant the scarce water resource, and by encouraging the practice of other forms of agriculture, we hope for the communities to have plenty in their barns and perhaps shun violence.
We do this by hosting regular learning visits, with members from each of the conflicting communities. This week, we host one of those with participants drawn from the Pokot, Tugen and Elchamus communities. They will spend time, interact and learn together how to integrate crop farming as an alternative source of income to the dominant livestock keeping. They will take this knowledge back to their homes, where they will be tasked with implementing the projects and using them as agents of peace in areas where peace has proven evasive. This is a follow up to to two previous learning visits whose main focus hade been sand dams and sand dam construction.
As John Kaplich Kendagor a Tugen community member puts it, “Water and pasture are the major challenges in our area and that’s why we are here in this training; to come up with a lasting solution. Among the topics we are discussing are new farming methods. Eventually, we will go back to our communities and teach them the methods of adoption and at least there might be a peaceful co-existence between our communities. We will be the trainers which will be make things easier since we speak same language”.
With water from the sand dams, these communities will have enough water for farming and watering their livestock and again with water close to them, the distance and time wasted in search of water will be used in doing agriculture.
"Eventually, we will go back to our communities and teach them the methods of adoption and at least there might be a peaceful co-existence between our communities. We will be the trainers which will make things easier since we speak same language”.
John Kaplich, Learning Visit Participant