Despite their humble beginnings, the Chyulu Community-Based Organization (CBO), located in the heart of Makueni County, currently owns a solar powered borehole that supplies water to more than 5,000 households in the neighboring villages of Mbukoni, Kathiani and Mbotela. The new solar panels have cut their costs by more than 50 percent and increased distribution efficiency, boosting the group’s daily income to US $80.
This remarkable story of Chyulu CBO began in 2003 when 200 residents of Mbukoni, Kathiani and Mbotela villages came together to sink a borehole following many years of trekking nearly 10 kilometers to fetch water. All the group wanted was a water source closer to home. Little did they know they were creating a business that would become self-sustaining and a reliable source of living.
USAID’s KIWASH provided technical expertise to the CBO to install the solar panels and fit a bigger, more efficient pump. The project also helped extend the water pipeline infrastructure and built two water kiosks in neighboring Mukanda village that provides reliable, clean water to 1,200 households.
“We call it a miracle well. Even though the borehole is not very deep, it produces enough fresh water to reach so many households,” said Veronica Mbula Musyoki, the group’s chairlady.
Josephine Wanyua, the group’s treasurer is hopeful of the group’s plans to sink more boreholes to benefit more people. “A woman finds a lot of peace when she has sufficient water in the house,” said Josephine. “I am happy to report that women in this locality have adequate water for domestic use, and a good number have established kitchen gardens, knowing they will have water to maintain them,” she said.
The future is bright for Chyulu CBO. Makueni County has committed to help construct a 13-kilometer piping system as soon as the CBO has adequate water in the grid, which could be achieved by extending the borehole. This will enable Chyulu CBO to provide water to the 4,760 residents of the neighboring Mtito Andei town. The group is determined to reach this goal, and KIWASH will be supporting them every step of the way.