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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
The Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (KIWASH) Project has been at the forefront of enhancing water sector reforms in many parts of Kenya. This has been mainly through technical assistance that include capacity building and rehabilitation of infrastructures. These training target employees of water utilities and members of community based water enterprises.
One such county is Siaya in western Kenya region. “Efficient water utilities aligns with one of the top priorities of the Siaya County Government which is to supply clean, safe and reliable water to most of the residents over the next five years. As a result, the government has increased the water budget to KES 390 million,” explains Henry Juma the Acting Director of Water.Read more
60-year-old Isabella Andeso had given up on ever having reliable water at her home in Khwisero Constituency in western Kenya. The retired teacher moved to Khwisero in 2009 and soon discovered accessing water was a daily challenge. “I used to get water from my neighbor’s well at a fee, or I would go to the river two kilometers away or buy expensive water from a vendor,” she said.
Khwisero Community Water Supply was established in 1990 with support from the Finnish Government. But due to poor management and technical challenges, the project failed after five years, leaving the 10,000 residents of Khwisero reliant on rivers, shallow wells and water vendors for their daily water needs. The community revived the water project in 2009, but, as Project Chairman Charles Omukholo recalls, “it collapsed again in 2012 mainly due to mismanagement and lack of operations and maintenance knowledge.”Read more
In 2003, 200 residents of Mbukoni, Kathiani and Mbotela villages in the heart of Makueni County joined hands to sink a borehole after years of suffering, with women and children trekking up to 10 kilometers to fetch water each day. The collaboration was later named the Chyulu Valley Community Based Organization (CBO). Their main aim was to have a water point closer home.
Little did they know they were creating a business that would one day become a self-sustaining source of livelihoods for the community. Yet after just a few short years, the water supply collapsed due to weak management and low revenues.Read more
Community 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.Read more
Bitabo 1 village in the Masaba North Sub County of Nyamira County is home to 480 people. Of the 90 households in this village, nearly half (43 households) lacked access to latrines. This meant that half the village practiced open defecation and were at risk of preventable diseases like diarrhea, typhoid and dysentery.
Gilbert Manyibe is a motorcycle taxi driver from Bitabo I village. He is also the community health volunteer (CHV) working in his village to promote improved sanitation and hygiene. “I was touched when I learned that latrine coverage was only 51 percent. I vowed that I would work tirelessly to safeguard the health of my village and future generations,” he said.Read more
Despite having an above-average annual rainfall of approximately 1,743mm, households in Nyamira County still struggle to access clean and reliable water. As of 2016, the main water service provider, Gusii Water and Sanitation Company (GWASCO), served only 37 percent of the nearly 700,000 residents with water.
The majority of the population must travel long distances to get water for domestic use. Such water access challenges contribute to low sanitation and hygiene standards in the county where, despite a high latrine coverage, open defecation remains significantly high. Because of this, diarrheal disease is prevalent in Nyamira.Read more
During the dry season, many communities in Kenya struggle to find enough water to meet their daily needs. As climate change continues to make the dry seasons hotter and longer, and the floods during the rainy season more powerful and destructive, these challenges only grow. Planning for a changing climate can help make the environment more resilient to change.
In June, KIWASH led a five -day workshop with the Kitui, Makueni and Nairobi county departments of water and the environment, water service providers (WSPs), county meteorological departments and the National Water Resource Authority (WRA) to develop climate-resilient water security policies. Some of the topics in the workshop include: policy and advocacy, identifying water resources, vulnerability assessments, water safety planning and environmental monitoring.Read more