At the heart of Kithunthi village in Kilili area of Makueni County is a group of men and women who came together to form Kithunthi self-help group with the aim of tackling the water crisis in the locality. Through support from Africa Sand Dam Foundation and Excellent Development, the group has been able to realize the construction of a sand dam and shallow well kick starting their journey to clean water availability in the region.
Members of the group and locals came out to share their experiences in the arid and semi-arid land on life before and after implementation of the projects. Jones Kateng’e, 72 is a father of four with six grand-children who are in their primary school and hails from the locality.
“Before the construction of this Dam and Well, we could walk 8Km away to Kwaliku river and fetch water from scoop holes, the long distance called for both me and my wife to participate in water fetching as well as involving our children. It was such a tiresome exercise which provided us with dirty water unsafe for human consumption, its only God who protected us from all the associated risks” said Mr Kateng’e.
The projects have come with unprecedented change to the locals who showcased the joy of having clean water from within the village. Julius Muli, 43 is a father of two children both in upper primary school.
“The struggle of waking up early and walking for long distances to get dirty water is gone, my wife and children can now fetch water from a stone’s throw distance 500 Meters away. The water is clean and safe for our consumption, it’s such a big joy realizing this dream” said Mr Muli.
Drinking water from scoop holes came with health effects to the community members.
Cases of stomach problems and typhoid were common in the past. They were associated with drinking dirty water. Today they are no longer reported in this era of clean water availability. My children used to miss school as a result of such illnesses, now they attend school smoothly with a clean bill of health” adds Muli.
In a society where women and young girls are tasked with the work of collecting water for family use, the projects have a bigger meaning to local women and young girls.
Esther Kyalo, 25 is a mother of two who says the projects have been a revelation to her.
“As a young family my children are young and its only me who can fetch water for the family, these projects have brought water close to my home, I only walk for five minutes to the well and fetch water without struggling where to leave my children and who to take care of them.
“Moreover, availability of clean water for drinking & cooking has made my family healthy, more water on the dam coupled with the WASH training has also worked towards ensuring high standards of sanitation and general cleanliness of my compound” said Mrs Kyalo.