Project information

Creating Peace in Baringo County, Kenya

Establishing peace between pastoral communities in Baringo, Kenya. By working together to build sand dams, three communities will achieve water security and improved access to pasture – the root causes of conflict in this region.

January 2015 - July 2015

Charity information: Excellent Development

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  • Need


    Baringo County is a semi-arid region in mid-west Kenya. Most people are pastoralists and the lack of water and grasslands means that people are travelling far in search of water and pasture for their livestock. Where they meet, conflict is occurring over these limited resources. Many lives have been lost and thousands of animals stolen. This is a region of widespread hunger. By May 2014, six people were officially reported as dying of starvation. The real number is likely to be much higher.


    Communities are yearning for peace and they have identified sand dams as one of the solutions that will achieve it. Sand dams are the most cost-effective way of improving access to water and enabling the restoration of grasslands. The project will bring conflicting communities together to collectively learn about, build, and own, three sand dams.
    One community member, Mary Kuket, said: “Building a sand dam is a way of having food security, mitigating famine and supporting the engine of peace.”

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    1. To build trusting relationships between three conflicting communities


    » Enabling communities to participate in learning visits with our partners in Kenya, where they will work collaboratively to address their problems.
    » Facilitating three communities to support the construction of three sand dams.

    What success will look like

    -Successful completion of three sand dams through the collaborative learning and work of three communities.
    -Successful completion of learning visits, shared by all communities.

    Aim 2

    2. To improve access to water for people and livestock.


    » Facilitating a sand dam learning visit, where people can gain the skills needed to construct sand dams.
    » Building three sand dams, which will provide year-round, improved access to safe sources of water for all three communities.

    What success will look like

    Safe, clean water will be locally available to each community and they will no longer need to travel far to find water.

    Aim 3

    3. To increase pasture


    » Building three sand dams, which will recharge groundwater and enable the conservation and restoration of healthy grasslands.
    » Supporting communities with the skills needed to restore, and sustainably manage, healthy grasslands.

    What success will look like

    -Communities will be utilising irrigation systems, improved seeds and new skills to manage productive pasture.
    -Area of available healthy pasture in Baringo County will increase.

    Aim 4

    4. To improve agriculture.


    » Facilitating a climate-smart agriculture learning visit, where people can gain the skills needed to improve food production.

    What success will look like

    -Communities will be practicing climate-smart farming techniques , such as terracing land and planting drought-resistant seeds.
    -Communities will be producing enough food to eat.

    Aim 5

    5. To build peace between three conflicting communities


    » All of the above activities.

    What success will look like

    -Communities will no longer have to travel far, or encroach onto other land, to find water and pasture for their livestock
    -Livestock raids and revenge attacks will decrease.

  • Impact


    Working in partnership with the local government, we will embed knowledge of sand dams in this region, so that more can be built for the benefit of rural families. Through peer-based knowledge sharing, skills gained from learning visits can spread between communities, enabling many more people to benefit.

    Reducing the migration of people and livestock in search of water and pasture, and the diversification of livelihoods, will support peace-building and the alleviation of hunger.


    As sand dams store water from seasonal rains, the communities will not fully benefit until one or two rainy seasons have passed. If the rains fail completely, the community will have to wait until the next rains to reap any benefit.

    We will support people to prepare their land for agriculture (most importantly through terracing) and undertake soil and water conservation activities while waiting for the next rains.


    We will provide a report once the sand dam and learning visits have been completed. If there are any significant alterations to the project, we will report these. We can then provide quarterly reports on the progress we have made in achieving our aims.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £60,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £21,951 Three sand dams In the Tangulbei, Marigat and Tugen locations.
      £9,065 Design Design & Construction support.
      £8,703 Learning Visit 1 Sand Dam Learning Visit.
      £8,703 Learning Visit 2 Climate Smart Agriculture Learning Visit.
      £11,578 UK Support Fundraising & Governance.

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Blandford Lake £15,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Baringo was one of the 47 counties established following the promulgation of the new Kenya Constitution in 2010. It is located in mid west Kenya, with an area of 4,276 square miles and a population of close to one million people.

    There are five main communities that live here: Tugen (over 50%), Pokot and Ilchamus, the Turkana and the Endorois. The conflict is between the Tugen, Pokot and Ilchamus who are more dominantly pastoralists.


    The Tugen, Pokot and Ilchamus communities will each benefit by building sand dams to provide sustainable and safe sources of water. Working together across a number of learning visits, they will address the challenges of severe water shortages, degraded pastureland and hunger. Communities will own their sand dams from inception. Over time, their own efforts will be the driver for long lasting peace.

    Each completed sand dam will provide enough water for 1,000 people.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Excellent development has 12 years experience working with rural dryland communities to build sand dams. To date we have supported the construction of 415, mostly in southeast Kenya. We have also successfully introduced them to the drylands of Rajasthan, India. Our work takes a community-driven holistic approach – considering political, environmental, social, technical, legal and economic factors to deliver outstanding results.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Joseph Karanja

    Joseph represents Initiatives of Change, Kenya, with experience in conflict resolution peace-building . He is key to successful relationship building.

    Simon Maddrell

    Simon is Executive Director and Founder of Excellent Development. His leadership is core to the successful execution of the project.

    Musila Silu

    Musila is Development Director of Africa Sand Dam Foundation, our strategic partners in Kenya. Musila’s expert knowledge is key in delivering our aims