Why Water?

meshenani driving calves to the water

Why Water

Water is precious and necessary for life. In communities where available water is far, women often spend from 4-8 hours every days carrying water. When the only available water is dirty, people spend time being sick with water borne diseases like cholera, amoebic dysentery, typhoid, and scarce resources to treat those diseases.

Water: Average Conditions in southern Kenya

*Average distance to water: 4 miles
*Average rainfall: 15 inches/year
*Average time spent fetching water: 4 hours a day per family
*Diseases caused by fouled water: Diarrhea, Typhoid, Cholera
*Livestock losses during 2008-2010 drought: up to 80% of the total cattle herd

Water Solutions:

Water is Life Kenya employs a range of water solutions: drilling boreholes, shallow wells, rain water harvesting, pipeline connections, installing water storage, all because we are

While developing these water projects we also develop the fundamental resource: people. Leaders emerge and are mentored, get practical experience in leadership, problem solving, building consensus, conflict resolution. These skills can be used to solve other community problems. As they become leaders in school, church, local politics, they teach others.

How WILK delivers water solutions that last.

Water is Life Kenya:

  • Assesses the community’s need for water
  • Designs and Implement appropriate water projects based on sound technical evaluation of conditions on site, while balancing the solution with what can be reasonably managed, maintained and afforded by the community.
  • Engages community from the beginning: in design, in cost-sharing, people register as members
  • Trains Water Management Committees
  • Involves key stakeholders: Women. Women are empowered them through membership in Water management committees, encouraging them to have a say in the management of the resource which is most important to them, water. The heavy burden of chores on women, as well as traditional male domination have been barriers to women’s empowerment in the past.
  • Trains Water Project Members in skills that will help them boost their family incomes, which support sustainable water supply.
  • Mentors Leaders who manage their water supply, resolve conflict, identify and solve problems both in water and other areas community of concern, like schools, medical care, infrastructure.

When clean water is available close by:

  • The heavy burden on women’s time and energy is removed.
  • Health improves for all, both humans and their livestock, as well as wild animals.
  • Water for people to be strong and health since water is essential for improved sanitation and hygiene.
  • An Essential Barrier to Human development is removed.
  • Women who have easy access to water are comfortable allowing their main helpers, their daughters, attend school.

History of the Area where WILK works:

For centuries, the Maasai people herded livestock throughout modern-day Tanzania and Kenya. Today, the Maasai remain a symbol of traditional culture and pride, their shield and spear pictured on the Kenyan flag. However, their community regularly suffers from lack of water.

Traditionally nomads, the Maasai were relegated to semi-arid lands during Kenyan independence, losing access to more productive lands. Land was given to groups or individuals in parcels, limiting the territory any individual could use to manage their livestock. In Southern Kenya, Amboseli National Park was created in 1974 around many of the local water sources. The people living on the land were removed, promised a new water source, and forgotten.

In sum, a combination of limited government-initiated infrastructure, limited access to sustainable pasture, and a history of mistreatment and marginalization, has created a water crisis in Southern Kenya.

WILK is committed to supporting local communities in accessing the water they need so that their lives can be productive, fruitful, and filled with opportunity for current and future generations.

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