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Rock Water Catchment System Harvests Rainwater

Even after the heavy rains that drenched East Africa in April, Makueni County in eastern Kenya remains dry - and it's not clear when increasingly elusive rainfall will come again.

But the women of Kikumbulyu village are not worried. Last November, they built a rock catchment system to harvest rainwater. Now, despite dry weather, the village still has plenty of water.

"Apart from the gift of life from God, this is the other biggest blessing that has come to us," said villager Mary Mwikali Kiminza, a mother of five and a member of the village's Ithine Self Help Group.

"My feet are now rested without endless trips to (fetch water), and my children can now concentrate in school because I no longer ask them to follow me to the river," she said.

Kibwezi sub-county, where Kikumbulyu village is located, is hilly with huge rocks - not the kind of environment that supports traditional methods of water conservation such as water pans or "sand dams", which use wet sand to hold water.

Carol Von Canon

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