New equipment revives a stalled community water project

Photograph of a community water projectMuhuru, 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

Photograph of a man filling a water containerThe 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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Trained water operators making a huge difference

Photograph of three men reviewing a documentThe 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.

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Reviving small water schemes offers hope for thousands in western Kenya

Photograph of a woman watering plants60-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.”

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The Miracle Well of Makueni County

Photograph of a group of people gathered by a water meterIn 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.

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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.

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Youth at the forefront of WASH interventions in Nyamira County

Photograph of a woman washing her handsBitabo 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.

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Improved management for sustained water supply

Photograph of community water infrastuctureDespite 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. 

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Climate-resilient water policies for a thriving future

KIWASH’s WASH Governance Specialist, Charity Gathuthi, presents during the workshop. KIWASH is spearheading efforts to enhance environmental sustainability through a climate-resilient water security planning training.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.

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Improved latrines to sustain sanitation and hygiene efforts in Busia County

Emmanuel Midida demonstrates how to construct a SAFI latrine. KIWASH is reaching out to communities to let them know about their options to improve their latrines and training hardware owners and local artisans in construction and installation methods.Since 2015, all villages in Busia County have been certified as open defecation free. This means that most households use a latrine and wash their hands after visiting the toilet. However, households with a simple pit latrine still suffer with bad smells and flies and are at risk of waterborne diseases. Moreover, in parts of the county where the soil is loose, latrines run the risk of collapsing.

To address these challenges and intensify sanitation and hygiene efforts, KIWASH, along with the county government and the Ministry of Health, are taking steps to promote safe and affordable improvements for pit latrines. Two options are the SATO pan, which has a unique self-sealing trap door that closes quickly, seals tightly, and can be fitted to an existing latrine, and the SAFI (Kiswahili for “clean”) latrine, which has concrete walls designed to withstand soil pressure and prevent structures from collapsing. Both options eliminate smell and flies for improved hygiene.

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Kiwash Blog

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...
KIWASH support boosts a water enterprise in Nairobi Nairobi County
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...
Trained water operators making a huge difference
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...

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