Home · Blog · Just Around the Corner Art Auction : Kenya trip report: Seren & Kasipo

European Representative Anette Krosby recently led a trip to attend the opening of our sixth clean water project in Kenya. This solar-powered water system serves the communities of Seren and Kasipo in the northern Samburu region and is the second project funded by our 2011 Just Around the Corner Art Auction in Norway. Anette submitted a trip report upon her return, excerpts of which we have provided below.

IMG_4516We landed in Ngurunit [in Samburuland] Thursday morning, [and immediately set out for several days of rather strenuous walking] until we set up camp just down the dry lugga [a dried river bed] near Kasipo on Saturday late afternoon. The area is so dry that [our partners, Milgis Trust] actually had dedicated water carrying camels and an extra delivery by car because it was not possible to get water on the way there. [Note: Usually, we get water from the same watering holes the Samburu use, and filter it.]

On our way to Kasipo, we passed by a warthog that had fallen into a water hole. The Samburus do not eat (or touch) pork so it was left there – contaminating the water in that well and maybe spreading contamination to nearby water sources as well. [Note: By negating the need for water holes, Voss Foundation’s clean water projects protect both wildlife from falling in, and humans from drinking contaminated water.]

On Sunday morning, we walked up the lugga towards Kasipo. It is a village situated at the end of a flat area, surrounded by mountains, apart from the side from which we came. Anywhere between 1,000-5,000 people live there, depending upon the grazing available. As we walked to Kasipo in the morning we passed several manyatta compounds, some quite large (with 10+ “huts”).

Thérèse switches on the pump

Thérèse switches on the pump

There was already a borehole there but it was not functioning. It was drilled by the government and used to have a diesel generator which broke down. [With the funds raised by Voss Foundation through the Just Around the Corner Art Auction, our local partners, Milgis Trust] put in 9 solar panels to power a pump… There was a pipe leading from the tank to the tap, maybe 100 meters away…

The children we met all went to the school in Seren (more than 7km from Kasipo). There were so many women circling, singing and dancing around the water tap. They were joined by a lot of men as well, all very happy…

An elder from the community said that the area has suffered for many years from the lack of water. The suffering has taken place since his father’s time. He said there were three enemies: 1) thirst, 2) drought and 3) diseases. As of that day, one enemy was dead…

[We] estimated some 4-500 people attending the ceremony! One of the mothers…stood up and said she had never seen so many women gathered at Kasipo…

There were 6 groups of women:

  • Two from Kasipo (in brown and in yellow)
  • Three from Seren (in white and in brown and blue/red)
  • Lastly, a group of women in blue/red came all the way from Urra [site of our first Just Around the Corner Art Auction-funded clean water project]. It is more than a day’s walk!
Women from Kasipo thank Anette with a gift.

Women from Kasipo thank Anette with a gift.

One lady said that the well works very, very well. They no longer have to walk a long way to find water and to carry the heavy water back. They are no longer afraid of wild animals [encountering them at water holes]. They get more free time for other things… like making beads [to sell] and getting firewood. It seemed that a very positive effect is that the children now can get water alone, without the mothers’ help. She claimed that more children are now attending school…

…After the speeches and the groups of women did their songs and dances, we traveled back to the camp by car for a quick lunch. Afterwards we walked to the water holding tank, which is situated 5,5 km from the borehole at Kasipo.

The trough for the elephants and other wildlife just at the bottom of the hill from the water tank. Actually there were fresh elly tracks the next morning!

The Seren water tap being officially opened.

The Seren water tap being officially opened.

Seren is situated at the foot of the mountains ahead… It’s about 2-3 km from the tank…but much better than before, when they collected water high up in the mountains above Seren. The tank is about one km from the water tap. This is also where the only school in the area is…

We stopped in Illaut on our way from Kasipo to Ngurunit to look at some failed water projects – a cooperation between the Kenyan government and USAID. I saw two boreholes with tanks where the solar cell panels had been removed (stolen) and the pipes cut off (stolen). Apparently they were only a few months old and only were in operation for three months. I was told these were two of 7 or 8 boreholes, none working…

[Note: Voss Foundation and our partner, Milgis Trust, teach help communities implement security systems and follow up regularly to ensure the water systems remain in working order.]

Pete and Moses [of Milgis Trust] reported that all [Voss Foundation’s] other water projects [in Kenya] are working well. There was a problem with the Latakwen pump but it is sorted out now…

By the way, Pete and Moses had calculated that [the six Samburuland] VF water projects produce almost 38 million litres of water pr year!

We will be posting more photos of the trip and the project soon. In the meantime, read more about our work in Kenya.

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Clean water for Seren and Kasipo!

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Supporters from Norway join the celebration.

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A long hike to Kasipo.

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