January 6, 2015
Voss Foundation’s implementing partner, Milgis Trust, completed the construction of a hand-dug well outfitted with a solar-powered water system to provide water to Milgis School and the community of Ilgwe Eldome in Samburu, Kenya, earlier this summer. Moses Lesolyia, Milgis Trust’s Ground Manager, recently shared a project report that provided information about implementation, which included some of the basic indicators about how the project has influenced daily life at Milgis School and in the community to-date.
Funded by Lene Maria for Rent Vann, the completed project provides a reliable, year-round water supply to upwards of 2,000 people via three water access points – a community standpipe, a standpipe next to Milgis School’s kitchen, and a standpipe near the teachers’ homes. Previously, the communities depended on shallow, open wells and seasonal dams that they shared with their livestock and wildlife. Moses explained that “animals used to go into the water and drink while standing in it, which [contaminated the previous sources]. Now, the water source is protected (covered), and cannot be contaminated. Water is also collected from standpipes so no buckets are thrown into the source contaminating it.”
The new solar-powered water system has also reduced the amount of time spent collecting water. Prior to the completion of the project, some people travel over 5 km, which could take to three hours depending on the terrain, to collect water. In addition, Moses said that once people arrived at the source, “people could spend as long as 5 hours waiting [to fill their jerry cans] depending on the number of livestock [herds] getting water at the source.” Now, the majority of families travel less than 2km, approximately 20 minutes or less, to collect water, and the wait time has been reduced to about ten minutes.
Reducing the distance people have to walk to collect water has also enabled people to collect and use more water on a regular basis. According to Moses, before “families used [as little as] 10 liters per day as they rationed the use only for drinking and cooking. Now, families use up to 40 liters a day as they also wash clothes with it and even bathe at home.”
In addition, with clean water on-premise, there is no need for the students to bring water to school or leave to collect clean water during the school day, as a result more time is spent on lessons and homework. The water and sanitation infrastructure will also help minimize the number of sick days.
The community assisted with the implementation of the project by digging the trench, collecting ballast and stones, and building the tank base. Now that the project is complete, they will help oversee the water system. Milgis School’s management committee, which consists of 1 elder, 3 junior elders, 2 women, and 2 warriors, as well as two watchmen trained in basis maintenance. If larger problems arise, Lazaro, the Water Coordinator will provide assistance. School fees and camping fees received from tourists visiting the area will also be used to pay for maintenance.
Thank you to Helen, Pete, Moses, Lazaro, and everyone who helped Milgis Trust complete the Milgis School and Ilgwe Eldome water system, the Bergum family and everyone who supported who helped realize Lene Maria for Rent Vann’s second project in Kenya, and Namdalsavisa for the beautiful photographs from the opening ceremony trip.
Click the report cover image to see the budget and read our completion report.