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. 

The Mumbuni/Katalwa Borehole Water Project in Kitui County is one of those enterprises. KIWASH connected the business with water engineers from Tana-Athi Water Services Board who provided technical guidance to repair damages in their water system that often led to polluted or insufficient water supply. As Mulwa Nzame testified, “Instances of water shortage at the water kiosk have reduced because they have been repairing pipe bursts in good time.” Through these efforts, 1,300 new beneficiaries, including 20 individual households, two schools, a church and a health dispensary, now have reliable access to clean water.

Livestock is the main source of livelihood in Mumbuni and Katalwa. The area experiences harsh weather patterns, and water can be scarce. The borehole improvements are a lifeline for herders, who can now bring their cattle to the kiosks for water.

“The coaching and mentoring we received from KIWASH opened our eyes to potential opportunities to increase revenue and serve our people better,” says Justus Langi, Chairman Mumbuni/Katalwa Borehole Water Project. This increased business is providing an incentive for further improvements. The water project has already developed a proposal to receive a $15,000 grant from KIWASH to install a solar generator and reduce the cost of pumping water, which is approximately $1,200 every month.

Mulwa Nzame already has his eyes set on additional improvements: “I have requested they construct additional kiosks and spread them out in the area to avoid long queues. I would also like them to build a cattle trough closer to the water kiosks to avoid the congestion experienced when the community brings their livestock to drink water.”

By supporting local water businesses to improve and expand water coverage, KIWASH is working toward our goal of ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

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