Water Project May Updates


Here’s just some of what our teams have been up to lately…

The Water Project successfully delivered clean water to eight communities in May, with four more projects nearing completion. We are excited to share that the hard work of our dedicated teams impacted a total of over 4,000 recipients across eastern Africa.

Kenya4222 18 Pupils of Emahungu primary school on interviewBy providing access to clean water and sanitation, The Water Project and our partners have been able to bring hope to schools, communities and even a local police station (and the surrounding village) throughout the area.  Our efforts have resulted in better awareness of health and hygiene techniques, economic stimulation and an increased focus on education.

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TWP demonstrates commitment to Turkana as Public Health Campaign gets under way


 

Back in January I wrote a blog piece detailing the beginnings of our Public Health Campaign in Turkana, Northern Kenya. You can read that piece here. A couple of months later, and things are really starting to move. James Lobokan is coordinating the campaign from Lodwar Town, and his latest report really gives an insight into the potential impact of the initiative. TWP is committed to this part of Kenya for the long term, and the 18 month programme is broad based and varied in it’s content. Here’s a summary of what’s happening on the ground:

The three main areas that we are focusing on are Kakiring Village, Lolupe Village, and House of Hope Orphanage. James is responsible for running hygiene promotion programmes with the people at these three centres, as well as ensuring that the water management committees are functioning well and that maintenance issues are being dealt with properly and efficiently.

One of the main things he’s been helping community members do is register their committees as self help groups with the government and, thereafter, open bank accounts. Households are required to contribute a small monthly fee for maintenance of the facility, which ensures against future breakdown. This is often a weakness of water and sanitation systems, as communities fail to maintain their contributions over time. We’re hopeful that with official registration and the regular visits James is undertaking, contributions will be consistent.

At this early stage in the campaign, James is also working to establish the main areas of concern regarding community health. For both Lolupe and Kakiring heath facilities are as far as 20km away. James is a trained physician, and is able to treat minor ailments in the field, but moreover he is working hard to educate the people about personal health issues, and is focused on helping people access facilities where ever possible. We see collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health as vital in these efforts, and again James is working to ensure the community are aware of how best to access services.

Clearly a key aspect of health is nutrition. Therefore, alongside the hygiene and public health focus, James is also training local people on agricultural practices. At House of Hope there are already two greenhouses in operation, as our partner SERV International works hard on food security. Using the orphanage as a model, James is currently identifying individuals to be trained in greenhouse management at the village level. In the future we dream that these recently settled communities will be able to improve their access to nutritious food though growing their own tomatoes, kale and  other vegetables.

So it’s a great start. Hygiene, community management of water supply, public health education and agricultural training wrapped up in a complete package. We’re delighted at how well things have started, and look forward to sharing future aspects of this innovative programme.

Thanks for reading!

TWP embarks on Public Health Campaign in Northern Kenya


TWP has been slowly working towards establishing a presence in Northern Kenya for a couple of years. During this time we’ve brought clean water to both the House of Hope Orphanage as well as Kakiring Community.  Working in

Community members at Kakiring use the TWP funded water source.

Northern Kenya is a challenge, conditions are tough and success is not guaranteed. Mobilising equipment from Nairobi is time consuming and expensive, and the road north is slow and dangerous. But despite the challenges we’ve had great success. The children at House of Hope are able to focus on their learning, the people of Kakiring no longer need walk for hours everyday to collect water from the river.

So what’s new? Well, over the past few months we’ve been talking with our partner SERV International about maximising the benefit that clean water brings. We want to build upon the hygiene and sanitation training that comes as standard in our work, and develop a public health agenda that demonstrates a long term commitment to the welfare of the people with whom we work.

To that end, TWP is committed to developing, funding and  supporting an 18 month Public Heath campaign in Northern Kenya, with a focus on the children of House of Hope, the people of Kakiring, and those of a neighbouring community, Lolupe.  The campaign will focus on regular community level visits, reinforcing health and hygiene messages and empowering communities to engage with local government and the health care provision in and around Lodwar Town.

During the programme, staff will be focusing on the following issues:

  • Hand washing
  • Disease transmission routes and how to block them
  • Household sanitation
  • Human waste management
  • Menstrual health
  • Accessing local services
  • Managing a water point – Operation and Maintenance of project hardware
  • Nutritional understanding
  • Agricultural knowledge and skills

It’s a broad focus, but one we feel confident about. Once the programme is up and running we’ll be able to report of specific programme activities and experiences from the field. It’s an exciting programme, with a demonstrable long term focus on developing local knowledge and skills, and we feel it will impact greatly on the lives of those we are committed to.

It all kicks off in January 2013. Watch out for more updates as things get moving!

My Heart Will Not Sit Down


What are you reading this summer? A great spy novel perhaps? A mystery that has you on the edge of your seat, reading long into the night when you should be sleeping?

Here at The Water Project we have a reading list.  We challenge each other with concepts from the books we read.  Books on international development and theologies of service often top the heady list.  But this summer, it wasn’t one of those books that touched me the most. Instead, a little book that Becky Pichler told us about really grabbed my heart. Becky is a teacher from Wilson Elementary in West Allis, Wisconsin and she shared with us how her classroom of 4th and 5th graders read My Heart Will Not Sit Down together this past year.  Then, in response, they worked together to help fund a water project!

The story takes place in Cameroon where the main character, a young girl named Kedi, learns about the Great Depression of the 1930s and of children in New York City who didn’t have enough to eat.  Kedi just couldn’t forget the children in New York and her ‘heart could not sit down in peace’ until she did something to help.

One passage really captured my attention.  In it, we hear Kedi’s Mama question her plans to help. (more…)