February 28, 2014
In October 2013, Voss Foundation and implementing partner Milgis Trust completed the rehabilitation of an old government borehole and the construction of five new water access points in the communities of Seren and Kasipo in Samburuland, Kenya. This was our second project funded by the 2011 Just Around the Corner Art Auction. Clean water, pumped to a water tank and piped to the access points now provides over 3,000 people with access to clean water; in dry periods, that number is upward of 6,000. Previously, some people walked over 25 km, or over 15 hours, for clean water. Now, the longest distance anyone has to walk is 7km and the wait time for water has been reduced from 8 hours to 10 minutes.
Through a series of meetings, the community identified locations for the five water access points. When it came time for construction, community members dug the trenches for the piping and covered the pipeline in areas not accessible by tractor. A community-elected management committee consisting of 7 women and 5 men was established and trained. A maintenance plan was also put into place, as well as a contingency plan should any maintenance costs arise.
Prior to the completion of the project, the communities struggled to meet their needs such as drinking, cooking, bathing, washing, and caring for livestock with often-contaminated water from hand-dug wells and dams that they shared with local wildlife. Now, they have ample clean water.
Reducing the distance people have to walk to collect water has enabled people to collect more water on a daily basis. According to Moses, the Milgis Trust Ground Manager, “before the project, a family of 6 [often used]20 litres [of water]for 3 day, [now]the same family uses the same amount in 1 day.” Access to more water has meant that families can allocate more water toward personal hygiene, reducing the chance of disease.
In addition to better health, access to clean water is helping to improve the economic circumstance of the communities. Amongst the Samburu, retrieval of water is seen as women’s work. Women must travel long distances in the absence of a local water source, and face immediate dangers such as attacks by animals or humans. Access to clean water means that women can devote their time to other activities. For example, women now have time to focus on income generating activities like bead-work and basket making. Additionally, more young girls will be able to attend school instead of staying home to help collect water.
Voss Foundation thanks Helen, Pete, and everyone who helped Milgis Trust complete our project at Seren and Kasipo, as well as all donors and supporters of the 2011 Just Around the Corner Art Auction.
Click the report cover image to see the budget and read our completion report.
Please check the Voss Foundation website for continued updates about the project in Seren and Kasipo. In the meantime, you can read European Representative Anette Krosby’s trip report about the opening of the project and more about our work in Kenya on our website.