Ol Malo


(Silango: a place where there is a natural collection of water.)

Samburuland experienced a two-year drought between 1998-2000 and a further drought in 2005/6. Then in Nov/Dec 2006 Northern Kenya experienced a most unusual amount of rain: 159mm in November, and 230mm in December. Within 4 days there were gulleys created by rain-water erosion, but none left for the people to drink or wash in. The steep banks of the Ewaso Nyiro collapsed, washing excessive amounts of soil downstream, which in turn is causing the Lorian swamp in the north to dry up, and the nomads living in that area to push south in search of water. Daily the women have to walk for an hour or more to collect water.

The recent change in rainfall patterns – drought followed by heavy rains - has confirmed to us that building a network of Open Water Reservoirs (OWRs) is the right thing to do. Each OWR will measure 80m x 50m x 10m and contain 40 million litres of water. This water is collected during the rainy seasons (long rains April and May, short rains Aug and Sep).

The Ol Malo Water Project ties the people to the wildlife and the environment: we aim to follow ancient elephant migration routes as we move this project north, providing clean water to the Samburu population and their livestock, educating the Samburu children and benefiting the environment as we go.

Sampiri Arts Programme

The programme aims to provide a clean water supply within a 30 minute walk of every Samburu homestead; place the OWRs where they will naturally collect rain / flood water, thus preventing erosion; provide wildlife and livestock access to the water; create a micro-environment for local flaura and fauna, birds and insects by planting a variety of indigenous fruit and nut-bearing trees around every water source; educate the children on the wildlife and environment in which they live; develop pre-existing water sources, such as freshwater springs.


At the beginning of 2007 we purchased reservoir-building equipment (OWR Building Unit) and plan to build a minimum of 60 Open Water Reservoirs over a 10-year period.

In addition to generous individual and corporate donors, The Ol Malo Water Project is mainly being assisted by a UK Charity – Wherever The Need. See www.wherevertheneed.org.uk for information on fund-raising events being held to raise money for the Ol Malo Water Project.

Sampiri Arts Programme


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