Recent erratic weather patterns from climate change have made water even scarcer for Kenya’s dessert savanna landscape. The past few years have brought droughts and water shortages. Due to lack of water access in impoverished and rural communities, poor hygiene related illnesses and conditions are the root cause of many afflictions in these towns. Additionally, many girls are forced to miss school and are vulnerable to sexual assault by traversing at night or in remote areas to fetch water.
Women carrying 20 litres of water at Sasenyi Rock Catchment before improvements:
Along the Kasigau REDD+ Corridor, the responsibility of finding and fetching water for their families falls on the women and children. All the water they need for drinking, washing, cooking, cleaning, and livestock are collected by carrying heavy water jugs for miles both ways. The journey and queue up can take an entire day, which is a day’s earnings lost, or a day’s school missed. The work is back-breaking and all-consuming.
A woman with a baby climb the rocky hill to fetch water on Sasenyi Rock Catchment before renovation.
One of Wildlife Works’ top community development priorities is increasing water access. The best local strategies include renovating water rock catchment that store water in a small depressions during rains, building water tanks, improving water harvesting with gutter systems in hospitals and schools, digging water dams, and renovating water chambers in piping extensions.
For example, the Sasenyi Rock water catchment project that Wildlife Works enhanced in 2012 allowed water collection through a tap at the bottom of the rocky slopes. Before, women had to climb up the steep, rocky hill and descend it carrying a 20-liter jug full of water.
Renovation of Sasenyi Rock Water Catchment:
These upgrades now ensure that the 630m3 of water capacity in this catchment is not gone to waste from the physical stresses of treading the hill. This catchment serves an estimated 4000 people, who democratically elected a water committee to serve as the liaison between the community and Wildlife Works, facilitate the hygiene education program, and manage the community schedule for maintenance.
Sasenyi Rock Water Catchment Tap requires no rock climbing!:
In January of 2015, the Wildlife Works community team made a visit to another water project we lead; a dam we built in October 2014 in the community of Kisimenyi and Bughuta villages in the Kasigau area.
County Assembly Members, Wildlife Works and community members gather to hand over the dam to the people of Kisimenyi Village:
The water that was collected from the short but heavy rains between October and December 2014 is estimated to last the community for the next four months until it is expected to rain again. The Wildlife Works team monitors the use, production, condition and impact of the safe water to the community.
Wildlife works tractor building Mighoa dam at Kasigau location:
Laurian Lenjo, Wildlife Works community manager was proud to say, “There has been tangible results from the improved water access to the community. After many conversations with different families and community members, we can report that there has been an increase of girls’ school attendance, level of education and literacy rates, because they no longer need to miss school to secure water for their families. They also feel safer from sexual assault, as women and girls do not have to go to remote places to eliminate or to fetch water during the night. There has also been a reduction of physical injury to women from constant lifting and carrying heavy loads of water from far distances.”
The demand amount of water in this region generally is high and there is still a big need to continue improving water access solutions for the communities in our REDD+ project area. The table below shows the most recent water project we have completed.
|2014||Mighoa water dam||Kasigau||3000|
|2012||Jora water tank||Kasigau||2000|
|2012||Sasenyi rock catchment||Marungu||4000|
|2014||Jombo water project,pipe extension and tanks||Mwachabo||1800|
|2013||Renovation of water chambers: pipe extension and tank||Mwachabo||4000|
|2012||Roof catchment and tanks||Maili Kumi Primary School Mwatate||600 – 800|
|2014||10000 litre water tank||Marungu Primary School Marungu||600 – 800|
|2014||Kisimenyi Water pan||Kasigau||2000|
|2012||Marungu dispensary water Gatering system||Marungu||1000|
|2012||Makwasinyi water tank||Kasigau||2000|
Maili Kumi primary school students standing infront of a water tank made by wildlife works to their school:
Gutter system at Maili Kumi Primary School in Mwatate:
Ngangu water project where the water sourced from springs in the Taita forest: