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A woman rides a bicycle that has 4 jerricans hanging from the back carrier

Kinango Dam


Kinango Dam was constructed in 1952 by the British Colonial government. Gradual siltation, unforgiving climatic conditions and a lack of maintenance caused it to lose its functionality as a water basin. It has been over four decades since it functioned properly.

In 2004, the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) led intervention measures when a severe drought swirled through the Coast, North Eastern and Eastern regions of Kenya as well as parts of the Rift Valley. So brutal was it that the Government declared it to be a national disaster. At the Coast, the district hit hardest was Kwale. Of those affected half of them resided within the Kinango location.

In 2013, the Society felt that time had come to empower the residents of Kinango. Together, they identified the rehabilitation of the Nyalani Dam as key to securing and improving their living conditions.


After months of research and deliberation including looking at the reasons why five previous attempts failed, the Society put together a proposal for the rehabilitation of the dam. The project’s objective was three fold: secure a reliable water supply, provide safe water for consumption, and irrigation for a large scale food security project.

Keen to improve their living conditions, 417 households around Nyalani Dam donated 105 acres as part of their ownership of the food security scheme.

The M-PESA Foundation immediately responded to the Society’s request. The clear community involvement as well as humanitarian organisation’s immense track record led the Foundation to invest shs. 207 million towards the life altering mission.

Once complete, the integrated food security project is expected to benefit at least 2,500 people directly and 10,000 others indirectly.


Luvuno Haranga is a resident of Vigurungani village in Kinango, Luvuno has followed the progress of the Nyalani Dam rehabilitation with more than keen interest.

“I go through many challenges living here in Nyalani. This dam with so little water is everything for the community. You will find people bathing here. You’ll find people washing their clothes here. You will find people feeding water to their livestock here. And this is the same water that we drink!

Every morning I take my jerricans with me on my way to my farm. At the end of the day, I walk about 3 kilometres to the dam; collect water and sometimes firewood and then walk back home.

Women fight each other because of water. It is even worse during the dry season where each household digs their own little well at the dam. If you find someone else fetching water from your well, you fight to protect your own. What will I do if that well runs dry? What will happen to my children?”


Luvuno and 416 other residents are trained on a variety of subjects. They learn how to preserve and harvest water. They are also taught better farming practices that will empower them to produce their own food and earn a decent income.


Despite the low education levels, Vigurungani residents have been very receptive to the healthcare and hygiene teachings offered by the Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) training programme run by the Society.

Luvuno has dug a pit latrine at her dwelling. In addition, she volunteered a portion of her land to serve as a pilot kitchen garden. The residents ate taught how to improve their nutrition by planting the right vegetables for home consumption

The Kenya Red Cross because has introduced them to water tabs and water guard. They have also been taught the importance of boiling water they use for drinking. ‘‘It’s been a long time since we suffered from cholera in my house, “ adds Luvuno.


The Nyalani Dam will be extended by one metre, thanks to the Kwale County government’s involvement. According to Hemed Mwabunzo, the County Executive Commissioner – Water Services, Decentralized Units and Urban Areas, “The Nyalani Dam rehabilitation will be an eye opener for the Kwale community. We have added value to it by investing Kshs. 25 million so as to extend the dam, increasing its capacity by 50 percent. Thus, from the original volume of 500,000 cubic metres, the redesigned dam will now hold 750,000 cubic metres of water”.

Beside the increased capacity, the county government has committed to piping water from Nyalani to the nearby households, Luvuno’s included. “We want them to get clean and safe water to use for their domestic consumption. We are also working out plans with Red Cross to build cattle troughs for livestock to avoid contamination,” the County Executive adds.

“When the water comes, the trees will grow again.

When the water comes, you will know how hard working we are.

When the water comes, I’ll be able to take my children to university”.

For Luvuno, this project means the world to her. “We were so happy that the Kenya Red Cross and M-PESA Foundation heard us and came to our rescue.

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Kinango Dam