This information was provided by our partner IcFEM
Karima Health Centre, Mbakalo
Mbakalo is an area with Trans-Nzoia county which borders Ndivisi, Soysambu, Mautuma, Naitiri and Kabuyefwe. Mbakalo is a beautiful high area of Western Kenya. It is hilly with small streams as well as the Nzoia river which creates a boundary between Mbakalo and Mautuma. There are no large towns in Mbakalo though you can find small shops selling basic items and on a Monday the market allows traders and villagers to sell and buy produce such as livestock, vegetables, fruit and clothes. There is another market each Tuesday at a nearby village named Lungu.
Mbakalo has no major industry or employers, most people survive as subsistence farmers. The people of Mbakalo mostly farm maize and beans which is the staple food of Kenya. There is a dairy cooperative in Mbakalo which provides a service for dairy farmers. There are primary and secondary schools in Mbakalo as well as a polytechnic and a teachers training college, and Karima Health Centre is one of two health centres in the local area.
The population of Mbakalo has grown considerably as people have moved into the area seeking employment and land for farming and living. Education is still developing in the area as IcFEM helps local people understand the benefits of education. Many people have held farming as being more important than education often keeping young people at home to help though these attitudes are changing. However, as with many other areas it is principally the women and children that are responsible for collecting water for cooking, drinking and domestic use.
A few households have their own hand-dug shallow wells, but the main water source currently used by the village communities around Karima Health Centre is a spring, with people travelling over 3km to collect water. However, high rates of typhoid and other water-related diseases back up community perceptions that the spring’s water is not clean. Furthermore, access to the spring is particularly difficult during rainy season and many less agile community members fall on muddy inclines along the swampy ground around the spring when walking with heavy water cans. Two local residents, Eunice and Rose, met with IcFEM staff member Sarah to show her the spring and talk about their perceptions of how the project will affect them. They said that they currently make 3 trips per day to the spring which even then doesn’t provide enough water for their households, but that the 3 journeys is as much as they can physically manage. Along with many of their neighbours they can’t wait for the project to begin work!
GPS is approximate