Ukambani Water Retention and Irrigation

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.

Results achieved

  • 9 'subsurface' dams built in seasonal streams to retain water
  • 265 farmers trained in water management, environment and improved farm methods
  • 34 farmers started to grow vegetables using water from the dams
  • 1.500 meter riverbank protection zones demarcated and planted with trees.





9 dams built

265 farmers trained

34 horticultural businesses set up

1.500m of riverbanks protected



In the spring of 2017 the following organisations sponsored each one dam:
- ASN Foundation,
- Voeten in de Aarde Foundation, and
- Overal Foundation.

And in 2018 we received finances for six dams (including other activities) from Dioraphte Foundation.
So, in total 9 dams.


June 2017

Community looks for suitable dam sites

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.

July 2017

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.

August 2017

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.

September 2017

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.


November 2017

Mamba dam in Kaani filled

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

December 2017

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).

June 2018

Farmers start to grow vegetables

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.

July 2018

Construction new dams has started

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

August 2018

Community working hard

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.

October 2018

Four out of six dams ready

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.

November 2018

First dams filled with water

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.

January 2019

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.

March 2019


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.

May 2019

Riverbank protection zones

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.

June 2019

Vegetable growing in net-houses

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.

August 2019

Vegetables harvested

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.