Establishing sustainable water businesses, one at a time

Frida Musyoka, the revenue clerk and project manager at the Kithambangii Water Project (KWP) in Kitui County, is passionate about her job. She describes it as “tough but manageable.” On her daily trips to the KWP borehole, chlorine dosing station and solar pump house, she inspects that the amount of chlorine in the water is just right, empties the chlorine residue and balances the piping system to ensure that there is efficient water flow to the distribution pipes.

Frida was trained in water resource management and technology at the Kenya Institute of Water. To strengthen her skills, she and her colleagues at KWP have been receiving regular training and mentoring support from USAID’s Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (KIWASH) Project for the past two years. “KIWASH has improved our skills. We have learned effective ways of revenue management, customer billing, record keeping, pipe management and how to run a chlorine doser to ensure the water going to customers is clean.”

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Supporting community-managed water in Kibera

Like many slums and shantytowns worldwide, water in the Kibera area of Nairobi is scarce, costly, unreliable and contaminated. The largest slum in East Africa, Kibera is comprised of single-room rental units built side-by-side along unpaved avenues. Unregulated water points with toilets and faucets charged residents often exorbitant amounts each time they need to use them.

But that is starting to change.

In December 2018, the USAID Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project (KIWASH) completed the Soweto Highrise Savings Scheme Water Project located in Line Saba Ward of Kibera. The project is communally owned through membership and obtains its water from the Nairobi County Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC), through a delegated management water service delivery model.

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Water boosts health and education outcomes

For years, the Sivilia Primary School struggled to provide water to its students. The school is in hilly Navakholo village in Kakamega County. “The school did not have piped water and we relied on a river which is about a kilometer away. This meant that pupils had to disrupt their classroom time to fetch water,” explains Evans Juma, the school’s head teacher.

During the dry season, the school asked students to bring their own jerrycan of water – between 10 and 20 liters – to school with them each day. “Pupils had to carry water from home in the morning. This was physically demanding, especially for our younger students and the ones who come from far away. Imagine a small student carrying a minimum of 10 liters for 40 minutes, then expecting that child to focus in his or her classes. Practically impossible,” said Evans.

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A concrete improvement plan brings dividends to small water suppliers

Tindinyo Water Scheme which serves rough 7,800 people is growing from strength to strength courtesy of the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) which has been their roadmap. Happy customers mean more revenue for the Scheme.

The hilly and rocky village of Tindinyo in the border of Kakamega and Nandi County sits Tindinyo Water Supply Scheme. It was started in the year 2010 built by the Lake Victoria North Services Board and is under the management of the Kakamega County Water and Sanitation Company (KACWASCO).

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Contributing to a gender-balanced WASH sector

Purity Kerubo is a laboratory technologist at the Gusii Water and Sewerage Company (GUWASCO). The company is among 13 water utilities that USAID’s Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (KIWASH) project is supporting to improve service delivery. One such support has been on gender equity mainstreaming.

“I joined GUWASCO as a casual laborer and after a few years was promoted to laboratory technologist,” Purity says. She holds a diploma in analytical chemistry. Despite her qualifications, Purity has faced challenges in her career because of her gender. “It is unfortunate that male chauvinism is still rampant. Some still hold the belief that technical fields are meant for men only,” she says.

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Kakamega County targets water for all by 2022

Kakamega County has an ambitious plan to supply piped water to 80 percent of its close to two million people by 2022. “With the capacity development and infrastructure support we have received from Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (KIWASH) Project we are ready for take-off.

As a government, we are very confident in achieving this since we have recorded remarkable improvement in our water services. We envision having 750,000 people connected up from 450,000 by the end of 2019.  This total coverage is projected to be 80 percent by the year 2022,” Explained Joseck Maloba, Chief Officer Water.

KIWASH has assisted the county government in developing their policy and legislation that will guide their water services. According to Joseck, to achieve this milestone, the ministry’s budget has been increased from KES 130 million to KES 400 million in the fiscal year 2018-2019. The increased funding will help them carryout a data collection exercise to update their water services information and connect critical institutions such as schools and health center to piped water.

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Running taps, a dream come true for Nyalenda residents

Nyalenda is one of the low income neighbourhood in Kisumu County. It is home to about 12,000 people and with that always came the perennial water shortage. Taps would constantly run dry and people would either rely on water vendors or other sources to which the safety of the water was always in doubt. This however changed as a result of collaboration between Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (KIWASH) Project and Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company (KIWASCO).  Clean and safe water now runs from the former dry ones all day all week.

“We are very grateful to KIWASH and KIWASCO for rehabilitating and laying an over 3 kilometer pipeline and which is also larger hence the supply is higher,” says Abdillahi Swaleh, Administrator at Pamoja Uzalendo Self Help Group.

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Improved latrine restores dignity for the physically challenged

Martin Omorro is 72-year-old and hails from a small rice growing village in Nyando Sub-County, Kisumu County in the Lake Victoria region.  He was a farmer just like many of his neighbors who engaged in rice farming until one fateful morning in 2013 when he was tilling his maize farm and things took a wrong turn. A hippopotamus attacked him. “Things happened so fast, a charged hippo was on the loose and it had spotted me as its target.” Martin remembers precisely. His right leg was severely damaged leaving amputation as the only option.

“After the attack, I had to improvise a way of going to the toilet given my new condition where squatting was totally hindered,” Martin. He ended up getting a plastic chair that he made a hole on the sitting rest and a bucket under it to collect waste. He would later empty the bucket in a latrine and wash it for next usage.  “I had to do all this behind my latrine sometimes under the hot sun and with visitors around. It was very humiliating,” he says.

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New equipment revives a stalled community water project

Muhuru, a small fishing village in West Kenya enjoys close proximity to Lake Victoria. However, the community could not enjoy clean drinking water as their community water project had stalled. “We started Muhuru Community Water and Sanitation (MUCOWAS) in 2012 but experienced enormous challenges soon after. They included high diesel costs, engine breakdowns, gate valve malfunction and pipe breakdowns increasing our no-revenue water loss,” said Enoch Waseka, Chairman of MUCOWAS.

In 2016, the Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (KIWASH) Project supported MUCOWAS revive its operations. This was through installation of a new water pump, solar power, electricity connection, automatic chlorine dispenser and rehabilitation of water tanks. The laying of new water pipes also enhanced water supply to homes and community institutions.

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KIWASH support boosts a water enterprise in Nairobi

The Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (KIWASH) Project promotes sustained water supply to communities by supporting 231 community water projects across the country improve their business services.

ESWAND Water Enterprise (acronym derived from the owner’s name-Esther Wandia) is one such beneficiary. The 67-year-old runs the business in Utawala area in the outskirts of Nairobi County. The family business started its operations in 2011 to compliment the work of Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company. The business supplies piped water to nearby households and a water kiosk from a borehole 12 hours a day. Before KIWASH, the business owners had never attended any business training.

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Kiwash Blog

Frida Musyoka, the revenue clerk and project manager at the Kithambangii Water Project (KWP) in Kitui County, is passionate about her job. She describes it...
Like many slums and shantytowns worldwide, water in the Kibera area of Nairobi is scarce, costly, unreliable and contaminated. The largest slum in East Africa,...
For years, the Sivilia Primary School struggled to provide water to its students. The school is in hilly Navakholo village in Kakamega County. “The school...

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