Between May 2017 and November 2019 the project 'Ukambani Water Retention and Irrigation' was implemented near the villages of Kaani, Kikaso and Ikalaasa. The project was managed by our local partner NACODEV. The goal of the project was to enhance food security and income of the inhabitants.
9 dams built
265 farmers trained
34 horticultural businesses set up
1.500m of riverbanks protected
NACODEV has informed the community in Kaani that enough money has been raised to build three dams.
The community is busy now to find suitable places to build the dams. Preferably, these are sites where a rock layer crosses the riverbed. This rock will act as a foundation for the dam.
Technical survey and Environmental Impact Ass.
The dam locations are set and the sizes are measured to know how many materials are needed.
Besides the technical survey an environmental impact assessment (EIA) is needed. The community participates in the assessment and is also taught about environmental issues like protection of riverbanks.
Community collects materials
During the past weeks community members living near the dam locations have collected stones. A large part of the stones are hacked into small pieces, which takes a lot of time and energy.
These small stones will be mixed with sand and cement to make concrete to build the dams.
Construction first dam started
In Kaani construction of the first dam has started. First of all a strong foundation is built on a rock layer. Next a wooden mold is placed on top of the foundation. A steel casing is placed in the mold, in which the concrete, sand, gravel and stones are poured.
The community members can do a lot of work themselves. They are assisted by a skilled labourer. Governmental officers regularly check if the activities are according to the rules.
The first dam in Kaani is ready. A lot of water has been harvested during the past rainy season. A huge lake has been formed of about 250 meters in length.
Although the amount of rain this season was quite low, the dam was filled till the brim. A nice supply of water, which can be used by the community during the coming dry season
All dams finished
With some delay all three dams have been constructed. Besides Mamba dam in Ikiwe stream, the smaller dams Kwa Muendo (picture 1) and Kwa Kiki (picture 2) have been built in Kwa Kavili seasonal stream after the rains subsided too early.
Now we have to wait till the dams will be filled during the next rainy season (starting in March/April).
During the past month Ukambani has received a lot of rain. All dams contain water.
The first farmers started to grow vegetables next to the dams. For example along this dam (right side of the photo) where tomato seedlings have been planted on a large field.
At two of the six new dam locations inhabitant are digging the foundation trench and collecting materials to build the dam. For example in this seasonal stream where the participants form a line where the dam is going to be built
To build a dam a lot of water is needed. Cement, sand and gravel needs to be mixed with water. Using donkeys, the water is collected by the inhabitants and transported to the project site.
During the past weeks construction work on four dams have been finished by the community. The fifth is still under construction and the sixth will be built after the next rainy season, which will start end of October. Hopefully there will be a lot of rain.
Thanks to the first rains the dams are filling up with water. This is a dam in Kwa Kavili seasonal stream, near Kikaso, just before the first rains and just after.
Demo plots implemented
SInce water is available, demo-plots have been set up, where farmers can get practical training in starting horticultural businesses. Net- or shade-houses are being built, which protect crops against diseases and pests like insects and birds.
During the project period participants receive several theoretical and practical lessons like crop protection, water saving irrigation methods (drip irrigation), erosion control and environmetal protection, dry land farming methods, etc
In the meantime all dam (9 in total) are completed.
Protection zones are created along the seasonal streams to protect the banks and the adjacent farmlands against the force of water. Here, natural vegetation is left to grow and trees and napier grass are planted by the community. The roots keep the soil stable and prevents soil erosion.
The zones have a positive effect on nature as well. All kinds of plants and birds find a habitat here.
In the meantime vegetable seedlings have been planted inside the net-houses. The seedlings are irrigated, using drip irrigation. This system helps to save on water.
Being sparely on water is very necessary, since the rains of last rainy season (March-June) failed. Some of the dams retain little water and will only be filled again end of October when the new rainy season starts.
Harvesting time at the demo-plots and at the farmlands has started. Tomatoes, collards, onion and swiss chart are being harvested by the project participants.
Some of the produce is used by the farmer families. The remaining is sold on the local market.