To mark the 2017 World Water Day, Amref Health Africa in Kenya and the East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) Foundation commissioned the Kiaoni borehole in Kanthuni Sub-County, Makueni County, Kenya, on Monday, 20 March.
The project, funded by EABL Foundation, and implemented by Amref Health Africa, is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 6, which advocates for Clean Water and Safe Sanitation.
Speaking at the function, the EABL Foundation Legal Director, Rowlands Nadida, recognised and appreciated Amref’s good work, professionalism and expertise at implementing the project. Nadida observed that the borehole will change the community’s life positively, thus, improve their standards of living.
“This initiative will provide access to clean water to close to 10,000 beneficiaries in this region and will mitigate the drought situation, which has adversely affected Makueni County” he noted.
The project, which was implemented at a cost of approximately Ksh5 million, comprises of a borehole with a capacity of 20,000 litres per hour, 100,000 litre water tank, two water kiosks, a pump house, and a 3 kilometre water distribution network. The network will promote farming and reduce the time used to search for water. Women and girls have been most affected by the acute shortage of water in the region, as they are tasked with ensuring each home has water for use. In turn, girls spend hours away from school every day in search of water.
“Our girls walk for more than 20 kms every day in search of water. They are missing out on school and this adversely affects their future. It is unacceptable, and we refuse to continue with this trend. The goal of this project is to bring water closer to homes and ease the burden of our daughters, sisters and mothers,” said Daniel Kurao, the Acting Programme Manager Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Non Tropical Diseases (WASH & NTDs) in Amref.
Also present at the function were the area Member of Parliament, Honourable Daniel Maanzo, and the County Executive Committee Member for Water, Irrigation and Environment Services, Douglas Mbilu, who both appreciated the efforts and passion displayed by Amref and the EABL Foundation.
“The community members were also greatly involved in this project. The sense of ownership that they attained due to their active involvement will give them more zeal and motivation to take care of the borehole” said Mbilu.
Africa, particularly sub Saharan Africa, 319 million people are without access to improved reliable drinking water sources with most community members using unsafe sources such as dams and rivers. The lack of access to clean drinking water is one of the greatest causes of poverty. Waterborne diseases are the leading cause of death for children under the age of five, and half the patients in the hospitals are suffering from diseases related to unsafe water. Diarrhea is responsible for almost 7.7% of all deaths in Africa.
Women and young girls, who are the players in fetching water, are prevented from participating in other economic activities or attending school, as they often spent many days walking miles for their daily household water needs. In most African countries with economies under stress, waste management is a problem that often endangers health and the environment due to the inability to provide dwellers with proper infrastructures related to the provision of water and the collection, transportation, processing and disposal of waste materials.
In Kenya, over 17 million Kenyans still lack access to safe water. This has a huge impact on health and infant mortality and comes with other multiple issues that adversely affect public health.
Through these efforts, and others made all over Africa, Amref Health Africa joins the world, today, in celebrating World Water Day. With the vision of creating lasting health change in Africa, Amref is keen on the importance of ease of access to clean water and sanitation for all.
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Witten by Winfred Nduku, Communications