KenGen commissions Sh 1.6M earth dam to alleviate water shortage
Mbeere, Wednesday February 15, 2017…
KenGen, today commissioned Ngurunga dam to alleviate water shortage currently faced by 500 local residents and thousands of livestock in Mbeere area of Embu County.
The project located off the Mutuovale-Kiambere Road, about 3 km along the Cieria Road, is an excavation across Kutendera, a seasonal stream in Mutitu sub -location in Mutitu location, Muminji ward, Mbeere North Sub-county. The dam will serve 320 cattle and 4000 sheep and goats and will also improve safety by reducing crocodile attacks in the area.
Speaking when he commissioned the project, KenGen Chairman Mr Joshua Choge said the Ngurunga dam will provide relief to the local community as it is located in an area that experiences semi-arid climatic conditions with annual rainfall of between 300 to 650 mm.
“The surrounding communities are largely farmers who depend on livestock keeping and agriculture. The main challenge facing the local community is inaccessibility to water. Community members walk long distances in search of water for livestock and domestic use. With the commissioning of this dam, water will also be available for crop growing for the immediate residents and improve nutrition at the household level”, said Mr Choge.
The project—joint project between the World Bank Community Development Carbon Fund and KenGen —is set to improve access to water as residents will walk shorter distances to get the commodity and have more time to engage in other businesses or social activities.
“I wish to thank the World Bank for funding this project, which will go a long way in changing the livelihoods of people living around this area”, said KenGen MD and CEO Eng. Albert Mugo.
The idea of the earth dam was conceived during the World Bank mission on June 9 -10, 2014, where potential community benefit projects were discussed. Suggestions included a small water pan, sand dams and collaboration with the green schools initiative challenge. Out of the several options, a small water pan was found to fit within the US$10,253 budget. But a stakeholder engagement carried out on July 1 2014 proposed a small earth dam.
Ngurunga dam was selected as the possible community benefit project that would utilize funds from the Community Development Carbon Fund payment for Kiambere . The site was selected because it had a severe water shortage. The project was completed in March 2016 and water collected in long rains in April 2016. Since then, the local community has been fetching water for domestic and animal use. The project implementation management committee that was appointed by the local community has continued to manage the project since its completion.
It is against this background that in its quest to foster positive community relations, KenGen also launched the Seven Forks Stakeholders Coordination Committee to bring various facets of the local communities on-board as an integral part of the decision making process when it comes to social issues.
“It is in furtherance of our Corporate Social Responsibility ideals and being mindful to leave our footprint on the sands of time, that we have been implementing several community projects in the three counties of Embu, Kitui and Machakos. Through our CSR programme, we have constructed water projects, built classrooms and engaged in environmental conservation through planting of trees in several schools”, said Mr Choge.
Significantly, the youth comprise 70 per cent of the 72-member Stakeholders Coordination Committee, which has four sub-committees namely environment, health and safety; economic benefits; employment and sports, culture and social activities. The reason for having subcommittees is to ensure that all areas of interest to the community are given the attention they deserve.
“In line with our tradition, KenGen will use the Committee as a platform to reach out and listen to the communities and identify sustainable social investment opportunities that can be explored to improve the welfare of the people”, said Eng. Mugo.
Through the Committee, KenGen will undertake various projects covered by its priority CSR pillars of water and sanitation, education and environment. A similar committee was launched last week in Olkaria.