Alema Water Project Brings Hope to a Community

Photograph or a man adjusting a solar hybrid pumpKevin Kafwa, Water Supply Operator for Busia County, looks proudly on the new solar hybrid pump in the Alema borehole pumphouse. He points to the numbers on the face of the pump, showing off how much energy the new solar panels are producing – more than the pump needs to operate. The quiet in the pumphouse is surprising. The new pump is nearly silent, yet it is working hard to send water up 1.8 kilometers through steel water main pipes to a new 100-cubic-meter catchment tank on the hill above the borehole. Situating the tank uphill means gravity will do the work to deliver water to customers downhill. On a sunny day, that means this portion of the operation is essentially free.

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USAID Commissions Water Project in Busia County

Photograph of men in suits amongst filled water containersOn February 6, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Assistant Administrator and Acting Global Water Coordinator, James Peters, together with Busia County Governor, Sospeter Ojaamong, commissioned the Alema Water Supply and Distribution Project in Busia County. The expanded water distribution system brings clean, affordable water to over 12,000 residents of Funyula sub-county.

“A lot of effort is underway to help improve the water situation in several counties. The Kenyan government has shown its commitment solving water access challenges in the country,” Deputy Assistant Administrator Peters said.

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Going the Extra Mile to Ensure Schools Have Water

Photograph of children outside using a water pumpStephen Mutiso knows the value of water to students in rural schools. The managing director for Mbooni Water and Sanitation Company that serves the Mbumbuni community in semi-arid Makueni County, Mutiso insists that he would gladly incur losses to ensure there is running water in learning institutions. “Education to children means a lot to the future of our country,” noted the soft-spoken Mutiso. “And whenever there is no safe water within their reach, children become susceptible to diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, trachoma, and hepatitis. This causes them to miss lessons while they recover,” he added.

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Training the Trainers: the Power of the Community Health Volunteers

Photograph of two women outside On August 29 to 30, KIWASH, together with Nyamira County Government, trained 60 Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) on WASH and agri-nutrition practices. These volunteers play a critical front-line role in encouraging households and communities to adopt practices that improve their hygiene, health and nutrition.

Phyllis Angwenyi is one of those CHVs. She has been working in her community of Bogeka in Nyamira County nine months, talking with her neighbors about the importance of latrines and other hygienic practices. When she first started her work as a CHV, only 40 out of 98 households had latrines. Now, thanks to her efforts, the sub county public health department has verified her village as Open Defecation Free. Each home has a latrine and a handwashing station nearby with soap or an alternative cleansing agent, such as ash. 

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Improving Water Service, Improving Livelihoods

Photograph of a man in front of water containersMulwa Nzame used to walk 10 kilometers to the heavily polluted Tia River each day to access water for his cattle. Now, thanks to improvements in his local water service provider, the Mumbuni/Katalwa Borehole Water Project, “I am able to satisfy all my water needs at this kiosk.”

KIWASH is partnering with 108 water service enterprises to help strengthen their management, operations and infrastructure to expand and improve water services. We are providing coaching on six key topics: water sector reform, operation and maintenance, understanding customer needs, marketing, computer skills and gender mainstreaming. 

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Launching into the Future: A New Water Plan for Busia County

Photograph of a woman filling a water containerThe Busia Water & Sewerage Services Company (BUWASSCo) currently only serves just over one-quarter of its population of 784,000 with clean, safe drinking water. That is about to change.

On July 26, KIWASH joined the Busia Water & Sewerage Services Company (BUWASSCo), Busia County Governor, Sospeter Ojaamong, and other county representatives to launch a five-year strategic plan aimed at improving and expanding water services.

BUWASSCo’s mission is to provide safe, reliable and affordable water and sewerage services in a sustainable manner to the residents of Busia County. To achieve this goal, the plan identifies four areas for improvement over the next five years:

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Educating Mothers and Saving Lives

Photograph of a mother with two childrenRose Otieno knows all too well the heartache of losing a child. At 38 years old, she has lost two babies to pneumonia; one was four months old and the other only six weeks old. But in February 2017, Rose gave birth to a healthy baby who is now thriving.

This good news is thanks in part to Rose’s participation in a program through the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) that is educating pregnant women and mothers about actions they can take to improve their nutrition, including using kitchen gardens to grow nutritious foods and breastfeeding for baby’s first two years of life. Rose is also learning about the importance of handwashing, using latrines, treating household water, and food safety to prevent diarrhea and other illnesses in her children.

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Celebrating Mothers, Babies and Hygiene: Partnering for a Healthier Kenya

Photograph of a woman carrying a child and two buckets“Sustaining Breastfeeding Together” was the key message during this year’s World Breastfeeding Week celebration at Oboch Health Center in Nyakach, Kisumu County. The celebration brought together 100 pregnant women and new mothers with representatives from the Ministry of Health and Kisumu county government, as well as staff from other USAID health projects operating in the county.

The event promoted the importance of breastfeeding for the first two years of life, as well as other hygiene and health practices, such as handwashing, household water treatment and food safety. Each of the 100 women received hygiene kits comprising of a handwashing facility, a drinking water storage container, a bar of soap and a water treatment. These tools help make it easier for women to make hygienic practices a normal part of everyday life, improving the health of their families in the process. 

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Small-scale water entrepreneurs apply newly gained knowledge to increase efficiency in water supply

Photograph of a group of men around a table At least 4,820 people in KIWASH focus counties are now accessing basic drinking as a result of improved supply from small-scale water enterprises. The enterprises often establish their businesses to fill the water supply gap in peri-urban areas where municipal water companies have not established infrastructure and systems of delivery.

KIWASH focuses on improving their business practices through training, on-site coaching and mentoring support enabling them improve customer care services and marketing outreach, improve operations and maintenance, enhance revenue collection, monitor performance and upgrade the registration status in order to secure legal recognition and increase their mandate of carrying out WASH services.

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Farmer groups spur adoption of simple farming technologies

Photograph of farmers with their cropsA group of smallholder farmers in Nyakach, Kisumu County are enjoying the benefits of adopting simple farming technologies in vegetable production. Members of Biju power group are now able to provide their families with a constant supply of fresh vegetables even during the dry season when vegetables are scarce, and the little available is very expensive.

KIWASH uses farmers groups to promote low cost farming interventions that can positively impact family income, nutrition and child health. KIWASH trains the lead farmers on good agricultural practices and sustainable low-cost farming technologies. The lead farmers then coordinate training and practical demonstration sessions to community members.

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Kiwash Blog

Kevin Kafwa, Water Supply Operator for Busia County, looks proudly on the new solar hybrid pump in the Alema borehole pumphouse. He points to the...
On February 6, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Assistant Administrator and Acting Global Water Coordinator, James Peters, together with Busia County Governor,...
Stephen Mutiso knows the value of water to students in rural schools. The managing director for Mbooni Water and Sanitation Company that serves the Mbumbuni...

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