Water for Life, Not Profit: The Chemisimgut Dam Protest

Chemisimgut Dam was drained by Bomet County government for de-silting and expansion in July 2019; but the exercise stalled for over seven months, leaving young women and girls to walk more than 20kms daily in search of water.

The dam is located in Chebunyo Ward of Chepalungu Constituency and borders the Transmara East Constituency in Narok County. It serves over seven villages including schools, and also the neighbouring parts of Dikirr and Siongiroi during the long drought season.

When the renovation began, there was no public participation by the community, and when the work by the contractor stalled, there was no explanation from the County government. The amount of funds allocated for the dam expansion remains undisclosed.

After IFA Kericho Team conducted a film screening and discussion in Chemisimgut Village in January 2020, community members mobilized themselves to take action. They planned to hold a peaceful demonstration, starting from their dam, walking to the Office of the Chebunyo Ward Administrator.

On 27th February, over 150 residents gathered at the dam site of Chemisimgut to begin their protest. They marched peacefully for 3km to the Office of the Chebunyo Ward Administrator where they handed their petition to the area Chepalungu Sub-County Administrator. It was accepted, and the County Administration returned to the dam site the same day, assuring the protesters that the work of renovation would resume.

On 20th March, the County government of Bomet re-started the desilting of Chemsingut Dam. It has since been disrupted by continued rains, but with a promise to resume after the rains settle.

Story By IFA Kericho Team

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