Over 41% of Kenyans rely on unimproved water sources, and over 59% use unimproved sanitation facilities. This has severe health impacts, with water, sanitation, hygiene being the second largest death and disability risk factor in Kenya. For those without safe water access, they have to travel many miles to collect water from unsafe sources, a responsibility which falls predominantly on women and children. For those who purify the water that they collect, it also means they must spend hours collecting the wood fuel necessary to boil the water, a burden which also falls disproportionately on women and children. Persistent droughts have placed further challenges on safe water access, drying up water resources, and compounding strains on local communities.
Groundwater, which is naturally purified as it percolates through pores in underground rock offers a reliable and safe drinking water source. However, over 35% of hand pumps in sub-Saharan Africa, which draw water up from groundwater aquifers, are estimated to be non-functional due to a lack of maintenance, funds, and availability of spare parts and training. Carbon finance offers an ongoing finance mechanism to rehabilitate and maintain rural water infrastructure over several years, whilst building the capacity of communities to manage the water source into the future.
The project repairs broken-down handpumps within communities to ensure that the boreholes provide each community with a central and reliable safe water source. Community members are assisted in forming Water Committees who manage and maintain the hand pump and the surrounding area to ensure it stays clean and free from contamination. A WASH training programme is also implemented, which focuses on behavioural change to improve wider hygiene and sanitation practices. This helps to ensure real and sustainable improvements and drastically reduce the incidence of water-borne disease.
Having access to clean water sources also means women and children are no longer required to travel such long distances to collect water, and the need to collect fuel to purify their water is greatly reduced. Women therefore benefit from increased time to participate in other activities, either within the household, studying, economic activities, or spending quality time with their family and friends.