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Livestock as Business

Author Archive | Matt Kistler

Esukuta Borehole


Project Background:

Esukuta is a community WILK has worked with since 2015.  We estimate that there are about 2,400 people who own approximately 3,000 cattle and 11,000 smallstock (goats or sheep).  A government primary school is nearby as well as an unregistered private school.  In May 2015, WILK drilled a well which yields over 10,000 Gal per hour.  The well is now equipped and the operators have been fully trained.  The last step before water flows every day to the community is for the community to build a stand for their tank.



Dancing in the water




WILK Facebook Water FaceOff Kickoff


World Water Day: Opportunity to Spotlight the Water Crisis in Kenya

Newark, DE — Starting on World Water Day, Sunday, March 22, you can help Water is Life Kenya (WILK) bring clean water to those who need it most. We’re asking you to join the “Facebook Water FaceOff” by signing up for our online fundraiser and donate $5 — or more to help us dig more wells in Kenya.

How does it work?

Participate in the FaceOff in four ways. The more you engage with WILK and your friends on social media, the more you can win. Water FaceOff Fundraiser ends on May 31, 2015.

  1. FaceOff with face time: Post a picture on our wall doing something with water! The Best Picture wins a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a special keepsake created by women in Kenya, the Water is Life Kenya Beaded Giraffe.
  2. FaceOff by sharing a photo: Share a photo on our Facebook wall of your closest water source (a pool, a stream or river, water fountain, etc.) with the hashtag #waterfaceoff to be entered in a drawing to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card.
  3. FaceOff with your Facebook friends: Every person who registers by donating $5 will be entered in a drawing to Win a $75 Amazon Gift Card!
  4. FaceOff with other teams: Sign up, create a team name, then invite others to join your team! The first team to raise $2500 or more wins the Water FaceOff with each team member getting a discount on home delivery service and a FREE case of bottled water. One lucky team member will win the Grand Prize … Free Cooler and Home Delivery Water Services for 3 Months from “The Water Guy”.

The average American family uses 400 gallons of water per day. A Kenyan family must survive on only 5 gallons per day … water collected from hand dug shallow wells that are shared with wild animals. Water that is then transported in a hand-made containers weighing 45 pounds and carried on average 6 miles per day, through dangerous barren territory, on the backs and heads of Kenyan women who are culturally bound to perform this task each and every day if they are to survive.

Water is Life Kenya is a 501c (3) organization that works with communities providing access to clean water, organizes community water management committees and creates entrepreneurship opportunities that improve quality of life and serves as a catalyst for multi-generational transformation.


International Women’s Day

Just Add Water – It’s Bigger than Instant Soup

Lifeblood of Opportunity for Some of the Strongest Women in the World


Newark, DE — On March 8, 2015, the world celebrates International Women’s Day, remembering all that women do to support others, often in the harshest of environments and circumstances. Imagine you are a Kenyan woman responsible for building the houses that your family and perhaps extended family lives in. Your daughter helps you, but mostly watches the smaller children while you walk 6 or more miles daily to retrieve water, collect firewood, milk the cattle and cook for the family. The men are warriors and are in charge of security, while boys are responsible for herding livestock. During the drought season, both warriors and boys assume the responsibility for herding livestock. If you are a widow, you also assume the duties of your husband and sons and are not likely to remarry. Water is Life Kenya works to empower women through well digging projects that bring water to the village and programs that create a wealth of opportunity and economic stability that women rarely experience, by simply adding water! In celebration of Women’s Day, we offer these success stories of courageous woman that we can all admire and emulate.

You Can Survive 3 Weeks without Food but Only 3 Days without Water

Every day, for much of the day, Tabitha ene Sekento is walking. She walks up to eight hours a day to make sure her family of 5 has the 5 gallons it needs each day to survive. Walking takes up her morning and much of her afternoon before she arrives home to cook corn flour in a pot with her precious cargo of water to make the family’s primary meal for the day. Water gets poured into plastic basins used to wash clothes once a week and is sometimes used to make sure her husband can bathe himself. Tomorrow, she’ll be walking again to carry the 40lbs of water that ensures life for her family. Her daughter may join her soon, she is of school age, but her labor is needed more to the family than her education.


A Child Bride’s Dream – A Wealthy Husband with Many Cattle

Dorcus ene Olkeri is 12 years old and is about to become a woman. She will be circumcised soon so that she will be eligible for marriage. Her father sees her potential, but knows that he could never afford to send her to high school, and a neighbor has offered to marry her paying a dowry of a significant number of cattle. This neighbor is a good man, does not beat his wives and has many cattle. The Olkeri family will all benefit from Dorcus’ union.   Even Dorcus can find some hope in being married to a wealthy man. Perhaps her daughters will have a different future.


Women Helping Women – A Blessing in Any Language

Mary ene Kapila holds a different type of hope. At the age of 60, something new is stirring her heart. She no longer has to walk hours upon hours each day, a shallow well nearby means she’s home with water by mid-morning. Her husband, now dead, never trusted her with cattle, but now she has time to learn how to manage a herd with a group of women just like her. She wonders what she might do with a little more food, a little more money, and growing herd of cattle. Maybe she’ll buy a tin roof for her home, to keep out the driving wind. Maybe she’ll start a small business selling produce or soap, or tea to her neighbors and friends. Or maybe, she’ll go to a party held for one of the local girls raising money to go to school. She’ll stand in line as everybody gives what little they have, one dollar or fifty cents of savings. When it’s her turn she’ll reach into her purse and give that young girl ten, twenty, or fifty dollars, and know that the blessing she has received will continue on for generations.

Our Goal – Multigenerational Transformation

Water is Life Kenya’s Executive Director, Joyce Tannian, lives in Kenya 10 months out of each year. When asked why she gave up her corporate job in New York City to travel over 7,000 miles to this distant land, she says “The tremendous impact you have on people’s quality of life if you just add water is amazing … it is in the midst of these women…these precious lives, that Water is Life Kenya works. We walk with them, step by step, day by day, encouraging women, supporting women, training women to transform their story to one filled with opportunity and potential… a story and a legacy that will last for generations!”

Water is Life Kenya is a 501c (3) organization that works with communities providing access to clean water, organizes community water management committees and creates entrepreneurship opportunities that improve quality of life and serves as a catalyst for multi-generational transformation.


Women’s Night @ Minihane’s Elkton

Calling all women! Water is Life Kenya is sharing about our work this Wednesday, Feb 11th at 6pm at Minihane’s Irish Pub and Restaurant, Elkton.  You can call Minihane’s at 410-996-0047 for more information.  See you there!