A year ago, generous donors helped build a hand-dug well for the Wikwatyo wa Mutula Self-Help Group in Kenya. Because of these gifts and our monthly donors, partners are able to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partner Mutheu Mutune with you.
The community has planted fruit trees that are mature and ready to bear fruit. Before the project, the people traveled long distances in search of drinking water, and their livestock would die during these trips, especially during the dry season. The water provided at this well isn't only safe for livestock, but it's safe for the people to drink too. And since they were trained on how to treat water before drinking, less cases of waterborne disease are reported.
Catherine Mutuku is the chairwoman of Wikwatyo wa Mutula. It's been her job to oversee this well and how it's being used by her neighbors. She told us, "Since this project, life has become very good because the distance to water has decreased to less than one kilometer, and we use our time well. Health and hygiene has also improved, because before the project we would skip days without taking a bath. The environment has also changed, and we hope to see it change even more in the next few years. We have made bricks at the individual level; some of us have constructed rental houses at Mutula Market, and we expect to earn income from rent payment every month. This is a very good source of income. Apart from the bricks, the people constructing their houses get the water from the well and sand from the dam. With vegetable farming, the project has been a blessing to us because we now plant at our individual homes and we were trained on vegetable farming. Every group member practices this, and we have seen a great change in terms of health and nutrition. Surprisingly, even non-members have started planting vegetables as we do, which shows that they have realized we are benefitted from the project."
15-year-old Mutuku Kioko came with his mother to share his point of view: "My personal hygiene has improved, and problems like stomachache have reduced since we drink treated water after the training my parents received... My mother used to suffer from typhoid for a long period and it used to stress me out so much, but since we started drinking the treated water she has never complained of illness. Distance to the water has decreased and I don’t walk for long in search for drinking water for our livestock. My school performance has increased because I don’t waste a lot of time going to fetch water; instead, I use the time to do my revision or homework."
Both mentioned that there are times when the well runs dry. It gets its water from what is stored in the adjacent dam - and over time, that dam will have greater potential to catch even more water. Mrs. Mutuku added, "Water is still not enough because the dam is not mature... We are however hopeful that with the coming rains, the water will last a longer period until the dam becomes mature."
As the young sand dam continues to mature through the rainy seasons, building up sand and storing even more clean water, the hand-dug well will become more reliable.
Most of our other southeastern Kenya projects are like this too; they are systems that need time to mature in order to provide clean, reliable water throughout drought. We look forward to this happening here, and are excited to monitor the transformation!
The Water Project and our partners are committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by monthly donors, allows us to visit communities up to four times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.