NAIROBI, KENYA, September 26, 2020—Mwaka Beja is from the Duruma community in Kenya’s coastal county of Kwale. Kwale is home to the site of the Mwache Dam. Construction of the dam begins in April 2021. Once completed, the Mwache dam will improve the security and reliability of water supplies to the county and nearby Mombasa city.
Like women in her family before her, Mwaka used not to own land, which traditionally belonged to the clan, and whose ownership was more recently shifted to men. When it became clear that Mwaka’s homestead would be affected by the construction of the Mwache dam, she was initially very excited because of the possible compensation paid to families being displaced.