May 22, 2014
The solar-powered water system in Ndonyo Nasipa, Voss Foundation’s third project with our longest-standing implementing partner, Milgis Trust, in the Samburu region of Kenya, was completed in 2011. Three years later, this 2010 Women Helping Women project continues to provide water to the community.
Voss Foundation’s Program Director, Caitlin Rackish, visited Ndonyo Nasipa on her trip in March, and drew a rough sketch to map out the system like the one of Latakwen. See the page from her notebook above!
The well is located approximately 50m from the Seiya river, where the community used to collect water. Livestock still use watering holes dug in the dry riverbed.
The solar water system is well protected! To enter the well compound located in the lower right corner of the sketch, it’s necessary to climb over fence made of natural brush.
The well was dug by hand, 16 meters deep. The 120W solar panels, which power the solar pump, and the hut for the two watchmen who are responsible for guarding the well and solar panels, are also located in the compound. (NB: Voss Foundation budgets with Milgis Trust include an annual salary of the watchmen for five years.) The watchmen have their own small water storage tank. The watchmen even have a small garden in the compound.
Water is pumped approximately 3km uphill to the main tank. The pipeline is marked with stones. Women and children had to walk up and down this same hill to collect water prior to the completion of the solar water system.
The water pumped from the well goes from the main storage tank to three additional tanks and four water access points at (1) a storage tank and tap at the health center; (2) the community tap; (3) a storage tank and tap at the teacher’s house; and (4) a storage tank and tap at the school kitchen.
The main pipeline goes from the main tank to the 10,000L storage tank at the health center. When Caitlin visited in March 2014, she and the Samburu warriors met a little girl en route who had just been bitten by a baboon. The baboon, which has canines 2-5cm long, bit the girl when she tried to break up a fight between her family’s dogs and the baboon. The girl and her parents joined Caitlin and the warriors in the jeep, and rode with them to the health center in Ndonyo Nasipa where the nurse gave her a tentus shot and cleaned and bandaged her wounds with clean water from their tap. Another example of the ripple effect in action!
There is one branch along the pipeline to the health center at the main t-joint. This takes water all the way to the school storage tank, the farthest point to the top left of the drawing, and then to the standpipe next to the school kitchen. The community standpipe and the storage tank and tap at the teacher’s house are halfway and two-thirds of the way to the school. In Ndonyo Nasipa, they switched out the top of the taps at the school tap (pictured to the left) for ones that locked because donkeys had figured out how turn on the water.
There was a fifth water point approximately 1km to the right of the main tank, which unfortunately has not functioned for sometime. According to Lazaro, the Water Coordinator, this is due to a blockage, but it may be because the standpipe is at a higher elevation than the main water tank. Lazaro will look into this.
We are so pleased to report that another Voss Foundation water system functions smoothly and everyone in Ndonyo Nasipa continues to have access to clean, safe water years after completion!