The Arenam Project joins Humanitarian Social Innovations’ network of social entrepreneurs.
A Model for Sustainable Agriculture
The Arenam Project is a program that provides access to freshwater to smallholding Kenyan farmers. It will use sand dam technology, which will allow farmers to collect and store runoff water during rainfall. Praveen Joseph and Becca Luttinen founded the organization. They use the term “arenam” because it is the Latin word for sand.
Access to freshwater allows these Kenyan farmers to grow more profitable and high yielding crops such as moringa. Farmers in regions such as Embu do not have access to sufficient water to sustain their agricultural productivity. The farmers need more revenue, work during the dry season, and better access to water, and those issues can be resolved through the use of sand dams. Praveen and Becca have developed a micro-finance approach to provide farmers with these sand dams.
What is a Sand Dam?
Sand dams are simple, low-cost, low-maintenance, replicable rainwater harvesting technologies. They are mostly in semi-arid areas in the world, such as Angola, India, and the southwest U.S. A sand dam is a reinforced concrete wall built across a seasonal sand river. During rainfall, the dam captures soil laden water behind it. The sand in the water sinks to the bottom, holding anywhere from 25-40% water. Users extract water either by digging a hole which the water rises up to or by a pipe that passes through the wall.
Passion Fuels Action
Praveen and Becca are students of Lehigh University. Praveen is studying Civil Engineering and Sustainable Development, while Becca is studying International Relations, Economics, and Sustainable Development. Their interests include economic and urban development and environmental sustainability. Their passion to improve people’s lives led them to partner with Akili Holdings and to create The Arenam Project. Akili Holdings will be able to sell the moringa locally and internationally, as well provide farmers contracts for the dams which will lead to farmer ownership.
HSI welcomes The Arenam Project to our community of social entrepreneurs, and we look forward to partnering with them for their growth and impact on humanity.
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