EWB-NU is currently partnering with My Chosen Vessels, a local NGO dedicated to leading a global community to empower indigenous people of Kimua, Kenya through water, art, and education.
Learn more about My Chosen Vessels
Clean water is life.
Kimuka lacks permanent rivers or reliable natural springs. It is an arid region at the leeward shield of Ngong Hills, and receives an average of 700mm of rainfall per year. The drought season in Kimuka is 8 months long. 80% of the population is categorized as living below the national poverty index. Rainfall in Kenya, especially in the Arid and Semi Arid Lands/ASALS, has increasingly been low and erratic due to environmental degradation and changing global weather patterns.
The main source of water is surface run off from occasional rains, and even in this instance, there are no dams or cisterns to assist in rain water harvesting, resulting in acute shortages for drinking, domestic and agricultural use. The Maasai people are known for their nomadic nature, more often than not to find other sources of water to feed their families and livestock – to survive. The Maasai are known to travel up to 10 km daily, to gather water from unprotected, bacteria-laden, sources. Up to 60% of Maasai children require monthly medical attention, due to the daily consumption of contaminated drinking water.
Traditionally, women and girls are responsible for traveling these distances and providing water for daily use – one of many major responsibilities she has in maintaining her home and village. This fact contributes to the elevated, disproportionate number of uneducated girls, women’s health and mortality rates, particularly of expectant mothers charged with carrying heavy weights, long distances, up steep gradients. The water shortage also affect school enrollment severely during dry seasons. Drop out rates dramatically increase at these times interrupting teaching and learning in Maasai area schools. Providing clean drinking water in Maasailand is vital for the health of the Maasai Community.
EWB-NU first visited the community during spring of 2014 to meet with community leaders and assess existing access to water. Our team of students and professional engineers traveling with us learned that surface “dams”, natural or manmade depressions in the ground, were the most common source of drinking water. However, this standing water was not treated, used by the community’s cattle, and found to be highly contaminated. We also learned of a borewell at the church in the community during this trip. This well at the center of the community sustainably served many residents; however, the distribution system it served was inadequate. Our team returned to Kimuka during spring of 2015 on an implementation trip to create a more robust distribution line that serves a public tapstand.
With the new pipeline and community water access point in place, EWB-NU plans to return to Kimuka during winter of 2015 to assess the feasibility of creating a distribution system directly to individual homesteads. The current solution reduces walking distances for many residents, but easier access to clean water will increase its use tremendously. We plan to implement this solution during summer 2015 and bring clean water to the greater Kimuka community.