Nigeria: Students rescue rural community with first Sand Dam in West Africa
By Mohammad Ibrahim
June 27 (Kaduna) it was celebration all through at ungwar kanti village located in western Rigasa of Igabi Local government area of Kaduna state north west part of the country because a sand dam was under-construction to ease water problem in the area.
The community spent decades without adequate, portable water which has caused health hazards to the people in the village, particularly children and pregnant women.The only source of water in that community was a pond covered with dried lives and dirt and because they have no alternative they drink and cook with it.
Unguwar Kanti is a Gbagy dominated village which normally get cutoff from other communities for 3 months during rainy season because their only road get flooded every year.The community came to lime light a month ago when a team of investigative journalists based in the state among them this writer visited the community and reported their challenges to the public.
Weeks after the discovery a students driven non-profit organization under the auspice of Entrepreneurial Actions For Us (ENACTUS), Kaduna Polytechnic Chapter move into the community to construct a sand dam for the people.
It was gathered that the dam, a multi-facet project will provide clean drinking water and will also be used for irrigation farming in the community.The dam being constructed will served unguwar kanti's 3000 inhabitants.ENACTUS Team Leader, Adikpe Odeh said the dam project first of its kind in West Africa would look for the entrepreneur problem solving skills in the community to empower the people.
According to him, the only countries with sand dam are Ethiopia and Kenya built by USAID.He explained to the team of investigative journalists that ENACTUS three thematic areas are environmental factors, social factor and economic factor in solving any problems.
The dam will be completed at the end of this month according to the students " We came across that community weeks after you visited the area. The spirit is one actually, so you were reporting and the spirit was telling us. Our water drive project started last year.
"We were at Ligari village last year where they had water access problem. They encounter the same problem with Unguwar Kanti."We carry out the need assessment to understand their source of water and we discovered that it was nothing to write home about. Although they have wells but water was not forth coming.
"We now look at the environment for what will be suitable. Because if there is a well and the water is not forth coming, you may dig a borehole and have similar problem in the nearest future." So, we felt it is not just okay to dig a borehole right now, get water for one or two years and that's all. One of the things we consider while carrying out project is sustainability. It is key to us and in fact a project that is devoid to sustainability is not a project to us.
"So we now look at the terrain of the environment and we saw that it's good for sand dam. So what we are constructing in that community is a sand dam and the first of it kind in West Africa. The only place that has sand dam is Ethiopia and Kenya built by USAID.
"From our assessment we discover that the water table of the community is low. If the water table were to be high you would have seen water in the well. So the essence of sand dam is to raise the water table. And then you will get a very clean water which according to the United Nations, it is 98% clean.
"And the fantastic thing is that even if there is no rainfall in that community for a whole year, they will still have enough water to drink because it has large storage capacity. In fact, Kenya and Ethiopia sometimes have drought problem and that is the reason it was built there," he said.According to him, his team are also carrying out a survey to see how the people will be able to pump the water and use it for their irrigation farm land.
"We are using a wind mill to be able to pump the water because there is no electricity in the community. And that is the sustainability, because if you take generator set and petrol there, it means the community has to buy fuel which comes with more expenses and that they can't afford because they are poor.
" But with the windmill which is natural, all they need is pump the water and get clean portable water to drink all year round," he said.
The Village Head, Aliyu Bala commended the good samaritans for the kind gesture just as he appealed to the government to come to the aid of his community by providing them with good roads, electricity, schools and hospitals.