Many households in the expansive Kilifi County in Kenya rely on untreated water from small earthen dams and seasonal rivers for daily domestic use. As you move into the remote villages the case is even worse, women and children have to travel an average of 5km every day in search for water.
With the current Covid 19 pandemic, limited access to safe water, combined with open defecation and poor handwashing habits can negatively impact the health of families. Insufficient access to safe water for domestic use makes women’s and children’s lives even harder in the villages.
Co2balance’ boreholes’ rehabilitation activities in Kilifi form part of a much larger, longer term water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project in the County. Co2balance is working with the County Government and local technicians to identify stalled water handpumps in the financially disadvantaged rural communities and repairing them accordingly bringing the non-functional water points back to life enabling local communities’ access to safe water again. So far, Co2balance has rehabilitated over 300 stalled handpumps in the county bringing them back to life and local communities are already using them.
Over the weekend, while monitoring the handpumps condition we met Kassim Saleh, a middle-aged boy in Mtepeni fetching water for his family. Kassim is a high school student expecting to sit for his national exams this year. And he indicates that “repairing this borehole was really helpful to us. Like for my case, am in high school and now reading from home as schools are closed due to Covid 19. The borehole is close to our home just 150 metres so am able to wake up early fetch enough water for my family in a short while and get enough time to study and prepare for my national exams. Even my age mates, many who are in high school from different families within this area I see they are also able to get enough time to read. Before this borehole was repaired, we used to spend hours walking to go fetch water, where you had to queue for hours again, no one wanted schools to close. If that was the case now and exams still ahead then it would have been very hard for us to continue reading from home. By the time you go for 3 kilometers to the river, fetch water come back again 3 kilometers with a 20 liters jerrycan and may be do that three or four times in a day you cannot get time to read, you will be too tired and not able to concentrate”.
He further adds that “repairing these boreholes has also increased our safety. It is safe, as the repaired boreholes are within reach, just 100 meters or so from our homes. But before these boreholes were repaired it was not safe walking long distances to the river and coming back, for instance girls would be chased by men and those that refused men’s advances were even abused. Girls are now safe. And I think this project is very good and helpful to our community in many ways.”