Water is Life

One of my favorite things about working in Kenya is the opportunity to go into the field and see how the projects work firsthand.  Fortunately for me, this past week was chock-full of opportunities to travel and see completed projects and get a handle on what it is exactly that I am fund raising for.  I visited four sites over two days throughout Laikipia West and was treated to great receptions at all of the locations, with program chairs happy to show off the completion of their projects.

Sipili Primary School commissioning reception
Visima Integrated Community Project tree planting
Water tank
Community farm pond with hip pump

In short, GHARP/KRA Secretariat establishes projects in districts throughout Kenya and works with the local communities to implement rainwater harvesting techniques.  Many of the sites are primary schools which are working toward creating better learning environments for the children by giving them access to clean water, toilets, and the vegetables from the gardens watered by drip irrigation from the farm ponds.  Thirty farm ponds were also built on various individuals' properties who had been selected by the community committees.  The individuals who received the ponds showed a lot of initiative as well.  One gentleman's daughter built a greenhouse on his property after seeing the potential of the KRA sponsored pond during a visit home.  He also guttered his house to drain into a separate tank to provide an additional water source.  It was great to see the community getting so involved and embracing the techniques they had learned as well as coming up with their own innovations to best suit their needs.  Others told us stories of how having the farm pond on their own land allowed them to be self sufficient at the domestic level and have more time to do other work during the day because they no longer had to walk 14km round trip to the river.  They explained that the gerry cans they use to collect the water from the river don't even last a day but the water from the farm pool has lasted them months. 

The goal is not just to help agriculturists manage their resources better but to also better the people of the district as a whole either directly or indirectly.  During one of the commissioning speeches the District Officer mentioned that many of the security issues that had arisen in their area during the 2007 post-election violence had stemmed from disputes over water rights and this project has allowed them to work together and resolve those issues.  He was hopeful this would encourage other IDPs to return to their homes.

No comments:

Post a Comment