January 10, 2014
“One of the many reasons we like to work with Voss Foundation is that they, like we, want to see the projects that they fund last for ever! Not like many projects that we see in Northern Kenya that last for, give or take, 3-6 months and that’s the end. In fact these days there’s a saying for AID/NGO projects.. ‘Kula twende’ (Eat and lets go), and sadly there are many… I do think that if people want to put money into helping communities out in these remote areas, you need to be careful who you choose. There are NO pictures of these projects here, but they exist!,” explained Milgis Trust founder Helen Douglas-Dufresne in a recent blog post. We feel the same way.
Voss Foundation funded our first project in Kenya with Milgis Trust, our longest-standing implementing partner, in 2008. Since then, we have funded seven clean water projects with Milgis Trust that provide communities with clean water from 23 water access points. One of the many reasons our partnership with Milgis Trust has continued over the last five years is that they, like Voss Foundation, believe that providing sustainable access to clean water starts before implementation and continues after construction and rehabilitation are completed.
Voss Foundation European Representative Annette Krosby wrote a trip report about the opening of our project in the communities of Seren and Kasipo last October. We think Helen’s pictorial explanation, below, of implementation of the project at Seren and Kasipo that accompanied her blog post is a great complement to Annette’s report, and shows just what it takes to complete a project. We thought we’d share some of the highlights!
Gathering all the materials from Nairobi is a challenging start. [Note: The solar panels, pump, and controller come from Nairobi. The materials for the frames for the solar panels come from Nanyuki, which is where the workshop is located.]
We take every thing to our workshops and weld everything ready. Here’s the sign post, the gate and behind the solar panel frames… [Note: Milgis Trust employs with local workers to complete implementation, which helps stimulate the local economy.]
Next is getting a lorry owner who will agree to take his lorry up into these remote areas! The heavy stuff, like the cement goes on the bottom, and it’s always a concern if it rains so here it is well covered! [Note: This may sound intuitive, but a proper packing is one of the many things Miligis Trust has learned based on years of experience.]
Here’s unpacking everything about 20 kms away from Kasipo, as the lorry can not get there.
… but it’s all soon scooped up into the cruisers, and carried on to Kasipo, the final destination… If one thing is broken it is about 400 kms back to the suppliers to replace it!
…5 kms of piping, frames for the panels, generators for welding, wheelbarrows for carting sand, camping gear and bedding, food, the precious Lorentz pump, and all the wiring, control boxes, etc [are all unloaded].
The old hand pump in use provides very little water, because the pipe bringing the water up from the bore hole is full of holes, and the pump barely works. It’s been fixed hundreds of times! General scenes in Kasipo before the new system is installed.
…the people of Kasipo were worried about us taking the old system away because there are so many solar systems that have been put up in these areas – ‘kula twende’ ones! – that they preferred us to leave the old hand pump that broke down every day, because at least there was a little water coming out of the borehole! But we persuaded them that we would do a good job, and it will be properly maintained! [Note: Milgis Trust is in regular contact with the communities where Voss Foundation projects are implemented, and is trusted by the communities. Community meetings are held to discuss all projects. Nothing is implemented without community support.]
Fixing the legs on to the panel frames, and then welding the panels into the frames… so as to stop any one stealing the solar panels. [Note: Voss Foundation and Milgis Trust help communities implement security systems. Each project budget includes a salary for a “water watchman,” or a security guard for the source.]
Wiring up the solar panels to the controller and then to the pump.
This solar pump is the best quality that one can buy.. good quality means continual and long lasting service, for MANY YEARS! [Note: Voss Foundation and Milgis Trust help communities establish a water management committees who oversee the water source and follow up regularly to ensure the water systems remain in working order.]
70 meters of pipeline to go down into the [existing] bore hole…
Connected to the solar panels and BINGO… WATER. When they saw that water really flowed, they were absolutely delighted. the animals were first to drink. [Note: The communities we work with in Samburuland are pastorlists. Livestock are essential to their livelihood. Several of our projects include multiple water access points with one watering hole for animals.]
Now to get the water to the Seren community… [Note: The community helps lay 5 kms of piping to get water to Seren. They also help get the water tank to the top of the hill.]
The people still walk many many miles, but at least when they arrive they find WATER…
All animals, wild and domestic, are welcome at this trough. It’s always full.
Thank you, Helen, for a wonderful recap of the Seren and Kasipo project! Helen posted much more, along with additional photos, on Milgis Trust’s own blog. 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, which funded the project. We look forward to more reports as Milgis Trust continues to follow up.