A lakeside community celebrates improved access to safe water

Pamela Adhiambo operates one of the water kiosks owned by the Osieko Nambo Water Project in Siaya CountyCommunity members in the busy fishing village of Osieko Nambo on the shore of Lake Victoria in Siaya County no longer worry about drinking unsafe water. “Though we live next to one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world, piped water to our homes has been unreliable due to erratic and expensive power supply, broken pipes and mismanagement,” says Vincent Omore, secretary of the Osieko Nambo Water Project.

“But thanks to  KIWASH, we can now drink water straight from the tap,” he adds. Over the past year, KIWASH supported the community water business by providing business and financial management capacity training, installing a new 100,000-liter water tank, a solar-powered pump, and an automatic chlorine dispenser. KIWASH also helped lay a six-kilometer pipeline to supply connected households and institutions with water.

As a result, the community water project, which serves 16,000 people, has witnessed major performance improvements over the past year. Its monthly revenues have seen a three-fold increase from KES 100,000 to KES 300,000, and water connections have gone up from 350 to 500, including two health clinics and six schools with over 3,000 students now receive clean and safe piped water. Moreover, five beach management units – landing sites where the freshly-caught fish are cleaned before going to market – are also connected to clean piped water.

Vincent believes that the training the community water project received from KIWASH in customer care, business management, operations and maintenance, and electronic billing and payments has made all the difference. They are confident that their project is sustainable now and into the future. The improved management practices have led the water project to expand. This year they hired a new manager, two technicians and meter readers, revenue collectors and nine female kiosk operators.

Pamela Adhiambo, a small businesswoman selling cereals and charcoal in Uhwaya market, is also one of the female water kiosk operators employed by the Osieko Nambo Water Project. She says that the community members are very pleased that they can now get water regularly at her kiosk. She is also happy that the days when waterborne diseases affected their children and community members are now a thing of the past. “Our children are healthier, and we are not scared that we may get sick from cholera or typhoid from untreated water,” she said.

The Water Project is already looking at how they can expand operations. “We plan to lay additional pipeline to supply water to the neighboring community of Usenge. We are also interested in setting up a water bottling plant to help generate more income for our project. Further, we want to construct a chlorination and filtration unit in order to increase our supply of clean and safe water,” Vincent says with pride.

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