• Development is not free

    The dam construction itself is part community celebration and another round of hard work. Joshua Mukusya is adamant that development has a cost. You cannot get something for nothing. The idea of giving a community a dam or a pump or a tree nursery will not work. In fact that is a fundamental problem of development whether it comes from multilateral, bilateral, government or non-government organizations. A gift does nothing to develop the managerial skills, local accountability and community ownership necessary to keep a project functioning in the long term (Mugambi and Kebreab, 2005). By insisting on the establishment of disciplined and internally accountable community groups prior to dam construction UDO has developed a system with a very high success rate that has become self propagating.
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  • Sand dam supplies water

    I am a member of the Ikangaani self help group and I am a commercial vegetable farmer. I started growing vegetables as a form of self employment to get income in order to support my family. I now sell vegetables to my neighbors and in the local market. I use water from my nearest sand dam #71 which was constructed by my group , supported by UDO, in 2007. This sand dam supplies water throughout the year, so I can irrigate my farm.
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  • Without you we cannot

    We would like to express our sincere gratitude to groups, individuals and donors who have supported us to implement integrated and holistic projects in the arid and semi arid areas of Kenya. Through your support, many families have moved from subsistence to sustainability. Special thanks go to: • Menonnite Central Committee (Canada) • APA Insurance (Nairobi, Kenya) • Canadian Foodgrains Bank (Canada) • Alberta-Canada Team (Western Canada) • Prairie Wind Mennonite Church (Manitoba, Canada)
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“Utooni Development Organization (UDO) has strong capacity and is committed to being a corruption free organization. We have had the privilege of working together with them for the past 5 years”. ~Ron and Martha Ratzlaff, Representatives for Mennonite Central Committee, Kenya

Utooni Development Organisation works with community self-help groups to transform the environment in a sustainable manner, enabling farmers to improve water supplies, food production, income and health through inter-community education, peace, and justice.

Utooni Tree Fruit

An example of fruit from the Utooni tree. When ripe, locals chew it for a sweet taste.

Utooni Development Organisation is supporting community self-help groups in semi-arid areas of Eastern Kenya. The goal of the project is for rural communities to obtain water, food, and income security and improve health. The outcomes expected are to improve the local water supply to free up time for women and children; to improve farm land and food production methods; to increase fuel trees; to improve livestock management; to improve varieties of seeds planted; and to increase diversity of agricultural production.

The rationale of the project is that if people are able to obtain a year round supply of water near their homes, and increase the amount of water available to them, they will have increased time to work on food production, and thus improve their food security.  As one woman said to us, “We don’t want relief. We want water.  Give us water, and we can grow our own food.”  As water and food become more plentiful, people are freed up to start selling extra produce and get income to jump start other income generating activities.

The areas suffer from poor soil fertility and rainfall.  One in three rainy seasons usually fails.  Even after good rains, riverbeds and springs dry up quickly, leaving people to travel long distances to find water. The quality of soil is poor and erosion is serious.  Deforestation is severe.

Community self-help groups are appealing to UDO for help in creating sand dams and making terraces and planting trees to alleviate these conditions.

UDO is familiar with the local conditions and the problems people face, and has been helping farmers since its inception in 2005. The Mennonite Central Committee and Canadian Food and Grans Bank grant has enabled UDO to increase the help given to the community self-help groups that request it.

UDO has worked with rural communities in Machakos, Makueni, Kibwezi, Kitui and the Maasai in Kajiado. Because of its track record in building community cohesion and food security through water harvesting and food production in semi arid areas, it has a waiting list of groups waiting to work with it. Visitors are welcome to visit some of the projects the organisation has implemented in the community and if interested, they can fund a project of choice.

We target Self Help Groups seeking support and assistance with a good work history.  Approximately 72% are women.  Membership lists kept in the UDO office for each group give the exact breakdown by gender in each group.  UDO currently supports 67 groups. There is an average of 37 members in each SHG. Each member of the SHG represents a family.  Each family consists of approximately 8 people. Thus the number of direct beneficiaries this year (2010) will be 67 X 37 X 8 or 26,640 people.

Utooni Development Organisation has a qualified and experienced cadre of professionals in its Management.  The team consists of the CEO, the Finance Team, HR & Logistics team, the M.E.T. (Monitoring Evaluation, Training) team, Development team, the Field Managers, the Field Officers and Skilled Artisans.


The About Us by Utooni Development Organization (UDO), unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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