Water for Peace – World Water Day in Western Kenya

Monday, March 18th, 2024

The following is a message from Humphrey Buradi, Regional Director at The Water Project’s Regional Service Hub in Western Kenya.

Here is the global water crisis at a glance as we leverage Water for Peace on World Water Day 2024:

Based on the above facts, human beings have always found themselves in conflict accessing water. The big question that lingers in people’s minds is, what then is this water conflict? The term “water conflict” is all about the tensions or disputes between groups of people surrounding the utilization, consumption, or control of water resources. 

In the context of Western Kenya, the rivers that cross county or sub-county borders are, in most cases, the source of water conflict. The neighboring communities are dependent on these shared water sources. Growing populations and economies, unsustainable management practices, and mounting environmental pressures are exerting increasing strains on vital regional freshwater resources. A larger part of the Kwisero Sub-County in Kakamega County gets its water supply from Siaya County. The Kakamega Municipality is supplied with piped water flowing from Tindinyo in Nandi County by gravity. 

With that in mind, The Water Project (TWP) is heavily investing in the development of clean and safe water components in communities and institutions as an entry point to reducing water crisis and water conflict. 

This World Water Day, The Water Project joins hands with the county government of Kakamega and other key Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) actors in the region to plan and celebrate a World Water Day event. This will be a demonstration of unity and peace by ensuring access to clean and safe water for all. We strongly believe that together, we can turn water into a source of cooperation and harmony.

As a natural resource, water knows no boundaries; it flows freely and connects us all. As we celebrate World Water Day this year, there is a need to recognize the power that water has in bringing people together and promoting peace. There is a need to jointly safeguard water resources in the region so that we can be able to pave the way for a more peaceful and sustainable future. There is a need to harness the power of water to build bridges, foster understanding, and promote peace among communities. 

In the recent past, TWP has found itself at the center of conflict resolution where blood brothers whose parcels of land were adjacent to each other, separated by an unprotected spring had disagreed on what name should be put on a spring after protection. It took the intervention of our staff to hold a conflict resolution meeting. These brothers were not seeing eye to eye. However, after the meeting that was facilitated by TWP staff, they all appreciated the need to live in harmony as they shared the water resource. Indeed, that was a real demonstration of Water for Peace.

As we celebrate World Water Day, we need to remember that access to clean water is essential for peace and prosperity. We need to work together to ensure that everyone has the water they need to thrive. The Water Project is committed to resolving water-related conflicts and promoting cooperation among communities and institutions in Kakamega County. Together, we can turn water challenges into opportunities for peace. 

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 presents Water as a fundamental human right and a prerequisite for peace. As we partner with the government on this World Water Day, let’s advocate for policies and practices that ensure equitable access to clean water for all. This is in line with His Excellency The Governor of Kakamega’s clarion call: Amatsi Khumuliango (water at the doorstep). 

Nothing survives without water; it’s the most basic fact of life. Humans need a steady and clean supply of H2O to live, something which is becoming more and more difficult to come by. Lastly, The Water Project recognizes the power that water has in uniting each and every one of us besides promoting peace. There is a need, therefore, for each and every one of us to commit ourselves to protecting this precious resource and using it as a force for good in the world.

Thank you.

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