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Rebuilding the Waterwell


With the support of friends from the Netherlands, the Indupa community was able to build a sand dam and shallow well along the seasonal suree dry river bed. The Dutch friends met the community during the first and second walk through Maasai land organized by Across Maasai Land Initiative (AMLI) annually. The six days annual walk covers 100 kilometers starting in Amboseli national park through four different Maasai sections in Kajiado County in Kenya. The goal of the walk is to provide space for people to connect with nature and their own inner peace.

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The sand dam serves as a reservoir for the shallow well, storing rain water underground which drains into the shallow well for community use during the drought period when water becomes scarce. The sand dam and shallow well was constructed in 2018 and has been providing clean and safe drinking water to some villages in Indupa sub-location.

The sand dam and shallow well has improved the lives of the people living in the area especially rural women. Women can now access clean and safe drinking water near their homes, drastically reducing the distance that women usually walk to fetch water. With a reduced walking distance, rural women have more time to concentrate on other productive activities that improve their lives. More water is also available in homes for drinking and cleaning, and this has reduced water borne diseases like diarrhea and typhoid and saved them money for medical bills as a result which had been difficult to afford.

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Additionally, the water and soil has been conserved and the environment around the shallow and sand dam is now flourishing. The sand dam has reduced the speed of flowing water in that particular section of the river and this has reduced soil erosion and increase the water table.

In mid-January 2022, Elephants looking for water destroyed the water pump and rural Maasai women went back to the long walks to fetch water from far away wells which are not protected. The water from the wells is neither clean nor safe to drink but people had no alternative but to drink the water for some time. Friends of the Maasai worked with our Maasai friends to raise money to replace the water pump and repair the shallow well. Currently, the community is accessing clean and safe drinking water nearer to them like before and this is a very big relief for rural women who are mainly responsible for fetching water for their families. Through Friends of The Maasai, more money was made available to us to construct a lion-proof fence to stop Elephants from destroying the water pump or damaging the shallow well in future. The fence is made with locally available poles that are durable, termite and manure resistant. The local experts dig a very deep trench and carefully arrange the poles in a way that will not allow any predator {lions, Cheetahs, Leopards, Hyenas etc.} to get access and that is why it is called the Lion-proof fence. This is a strategy used to stop predators from sneaking and killing livestock in the Manyatta at night to mitigate the human-wildlife conflict and this strategy is supported by conservationist around the world.

With their indigenous knowledge, the community is aware that Elephants are very intelligent and they avoid places with formal structures build by human fearing that a trap might have been laid for them.

When Elephants encounter formal human constructions including the Lion-proof fence they avoid it for fear of being harmed or killed and that is how the shallow well will be Elephant-proof.

The sand dam and shallow well serves a few villages and many more villages require more sand dams and shallow wells in order to easily access clean and safe drinking water. Sand dams and shallow wells help to conserve water and the soil making the area around it wet and moist for a long period of time, thus increasing the water table and drastically reducing soil erosion. Water and soil conservation is widely believed to be effective in rehabilitating and restoring range lands and is widely supported by environmentalists around the world.

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