Friday 18 March 2016 will be a day to remember for the people of Kerwa village. As we arrive at the village in Kiambu County, a huge gathering greets us with big smiles and ululations. Mothers, fathers, the young and the old all seem to make up the over 600 villagers who have come to witness the ground breaking ceremony for the Kerwa Water Project.
In attendance was a team from Amref Health Africa in Kenya led by Dr. Meshack Ndirangu, the Kenya Country Director and Dr. George Kimathi, the WASH and NTDs Programme Manager. Also in attendance was the EABL Foundation team led by Erick Kiniti, the Director of Corporate Affairs and the area MP Hon. Kamau Ichungwa.
“We are happy because you have brought us water, and water is life,”
exclaims an old lady in the crowd.
Kerwa village was one of the driest villages in Kiambu County. Not less than forty years ago, the village was completely devoid of any water. Technicians and engineers were of the opinion that there was a lot of water underground and the villagers just needed to find a way to get the water to the surface for use. Community members decided that enough was enough and through donations from every household, they were able to dig a well.
Even with the well, the access to water was still limited as they did not have a pump. In 1986, a Good Samaritan from Australia offered to install a pump that would push out the water from the well to all nearby houses.
“After the installation of the pump, the water problem appeared to be solved, only for us to realise that it was not,”
explains a village elder.
It was at this point in time that engineers from Amref Health Africa in Kenya visited the site and assessed the well. The well, which has the capacity to give 25,000 litres of water per hour, was giving much less than that. It was being under utilised. The blame was put on the small pump that had been installed years back.
In partnership with EABL Foundation, Amref Health Africa in Kenya through the WASH programme started making plans to improve the well to allow the villagers to use it to its full capacity. Additionally, the partnership will see the installation of four water kiosks and expansion of the water pipeline to reach more people. Ondiba Achimba, the Amref Health Africa in Kenya WASH engineer asserts that the well can be utilised with the capacity it has, to help the people of Kerwa.
“This well has a lot of water, therefore, the primary concern is to get a solution to the under utilisation,”
The partnership between EABL Foundation and Amref Health Africa in Kenya will also include the installation of a bigger tank. The current tank has a capacity of 75,000 litres and the new suggested tank will carry 100,000 litres of water.
“We have come to serve as witnesses to this great venture by EABL Foundation and Amref Health Africa in Kenya,”
concluded a villager.
By Michelle Dibo, Communications