NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 21 – The APA Apollo foundation has invested over Sh150 million in the construction of over 20 sand dams in different Arid and Semi Arid regions in the country in n a bid to increase access to water.
The move has seen over 15, 000 Kenyans benefit from the projects where Kenyans are struggling to find water.
The Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of Kenya make up to over 80 percent of the country, covering 29 counties and a population of about 16 million people.
For decades, these areas were marginalized, seen as unproductive, with news on cattle rustling, drought, insecurity and poverty. hiding the great potential of the region especially in renewable energy sector, tourism and livestock production.
The arid counties include Baringo, Garissa, Isiolo, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana, Wajir. The semi-arid ones are Embu, Kajiado, Kilifi, Kitui, Kwale, Laikipia, Lamu, Makueni, Meru, Narok, Nyeri, Taita Taveta, Tharaka Nithi and West Pokot.
In a bid to realise the great potential in these regions Sand Dams have been seen as an effective way to bring productivity.
“Sand dams provide the water and time necessary for people to productively farm. A year-round water source saves time and enables farmers to invest in improved agricultural techniques such as: inter-cropping, crop diversification, zero-grazing, and seed banks. Such activities facilitate the production of a secure and diverse supply of food, even during periods of drought,” says Apollo Group Chief Executive Ashok Shah.
In Kenya, about 130 sand dams are built every year in the south-east counties of Machakos, Makueni and Kitui.
UNDP says Arid and Semi Arid areas have great economic potential and if unlocked, can change millions of lives, lift upcommunities and secure prosperity for many generations. The body says agriculture has been proved to pull the maximum number of people out of poverty
“What we have seen is a lot of productivity as residents are able to save on time and work on their land, improving farm productivity, and children are able to go to school. In every dam we built, we also build a well, so as residents can get access to clean water,” he said.