News The African Way

Relief For Abandoned Kaduna Community, As Students Site First West Africa Sand Dam

By Bello Adisa

Kaduna (Nigeria) — It was joy, happiness and relief for abandoned Kaduna community, Anguwan Kanti as students of Kaduna Polytechnic stormed the area to construct first West Africa sand dam in the village.

Anguwan Kanti, is a community in Western Rigasa – Kaduna, northwest Nigeria, with a population of about 3000 inhabitants, predominantly, a Gbagyi and Fulani settlement who engage in farming and selling of firewood for livelihood.

Anguwan Kanti, came into limelight after a team of Investigative Journalists which includes our Correspondent visited the area and published stories revealing the challenges of the community.

Challenges in the community include absence of portable water, absence of health facility, absence of public school, except for the dilapidated structures built by the community, and absence of good access road.

Dam under cnstruction

Prior to the journalists visit, the community was left at the mercy of a pond water which is dirty, smelling, as its only source of water.

The Kaduna Polytechnic students under a non-profit organisation, called Entrepreneurial Actions For Us (ENACTUS), took it upon themselves to turn around the misfortune and address the water challenges faced by this community by constructing a sand dam to address their challenges permanently.

Interestingly, the dam upon completion will be first of it kind in West Africa and a multi-facet project to serve the community with water for drinking and irrigation farming.

With this, the students have succeeded in putting a smile on the faces of people of the community, as their only source of water is now upgraded and given a befitting look.

Interacting with the ENACTUS team, their leader, Adike Odeh said the Dam project is to be completed by the end of June.

According to him, “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.

“We were touched with the level of under development in that community. So, we decided to turn their only pond that serve as source of water for the residents to Sand Dam.

“The water drive project started last year. We were in Ligari village last year where they had water access problems similar with Kanti.

Rods for use in the dam construction
Rods for use in the dam construction

“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. 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.

“The reason why we chose sand dam is this, that place you saw with the gully stuff whether you like it or not will keep expanding and during the raining season you will see water there while in the dry season, it is off.

“Again, from the need assessment we discover that the water table of the community is low. And that is why you are unable to see water in the wells. 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 one whole year, they will still have enough water to drink with sand dam because it has large storage capacity. In fact, Kenya and Ethiopia sometimes they have drought problem and that is the reason it was built there.

“One other thing 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. We are also carrying out a survey to see how they will be able to pump the water and also use for their irrigation farm land. That 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.

Asked how it get money to fund the project, the students driven non-profit organization who said it is out to find and solve societal problems said it does that with entrepreneur concept and not begging for funds.

“The concept is a head for business and a heart for the world. We believe that it is just an empty head and an empty heart that can stop a man from solving a societal problems and not an empty pocket. But however, you need money in some cases through the power of business, so we engage in entrepreneur activities personally as an organization.

“We also go out to see individuals who are willing to partner in some certain areas and not necessarily begging for funds. For instance, you are an engineering firm, we approach you that can you help us bring out the architectural design of this place because we want to help this community. And ordinarily if you are to pay for that, it will be to the tune of N100,000. So these are the creative means we use in solving societal problems. We go about to identify individuals that wants to invest in communities. So these are how we get our funds here and there and then we move to solve societal problems,” he said.

He commended the journalists for their works in developmental and investigative reporting with the aim of identifying communities that need intervention in terms of education, health and water.

“We are impressed with your drive to take on investigative reporting with the aim of providing developmental solutions to our communities. We will very much like to partner with you; we can work together to help such communities within the state and beyond that need assistance.

“You can help us identify these types of communities. I wish we have more journalists that do investigative and developmental journalism because to us that is journalism,” he said.

imageThere was jubilation as the community rally round the team of Investigative Journalist who were on a revisit to the community and brought the challenges of the community to limelight.

However, a good Samaritan who the community described as an Army General have sunk a water borehole in the community.

While they appreciate effort of the General, they also appealled to the government to construct a good road and bridge linking the area with others and reversing the untold hardship of the community of having to be cut off from other communities when it rains.

“We have started witnessing development because initially we don’t have borehole but we have gotten one now. Again, there is a dam construction underway, so the achievement is double. What is remaining now is we are appealing to the government to provide good roads, electricity, schools and hospitals for us.

“We are appealing to the government to construct a bridge for us because as it is we are often cut off from the neighbouring communities when it rains. Our movements in and out, economic and social activities are grounded within this said period,” the Village Head of Angwan Kanti, Aliyu Bala said.

Corroborating the village head, a resident, Brother Osiah Emeka said during rainy season they are forced to remain in the area for three months as they are cut-off, even from their neighbouring communities.

He said they go back to their traditional foods as they feed on leaves such as moringa “zogele” mixed with kulli kulli during the period.

“when it is raining season, life is difficult for us in Angwan Kanti. Getting a place to buy Maggi (seasoning) or even getting a place to grind something is a problem.

“we are forced to stay in the village until after the rainy season before you can go out to do whatever or buy whatever you want. We manage whatever we have during this period. In fact, we remember our tradition food more at that time as we eat leaves, we eat Moringa “zogele” mixed with kulli kulli in fact without Maggie. We gain access to the town after the raining season is over,” Emeka said.

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