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WATER PROJECTS

Lack of adequate water supply is the single most important constraint to improving the quality of life in communities MANDO serves. A well is direly needed.

Currently women and girls and sometimes donkey trains carry jerry cans from the nearest spring 10 km/five miles away during dry spells which are increasingly frequent. Containers weigh 20 kilos/44 lbs. The water may be contaminated, as livestock drink from the same source. In North Kajiado rain normally falls in March, April and May; there is little rain during the rest of the year and normally none December through February.

This is forcing Maasai people to make tremendous adjustments to their traditional nomadic, pastoralist way of life. Droughts necessitate transition to a more agricultural-based existence. Lack of water for irrigation, drinking, and basic hygiene poses serious threat. Seasonal water access keeps families mired in poverty. The high level of school dropouts is directly related to water shortages, thus hampering chances for self improvement that could lead to better futures.

MANDO has a plan is to roll out a network of clean springs and wells so that no one in its communities is more than three miles from a source of clean water. But first, one well in the Eremit community would be a giant stride.

Proposed well - A borehole would supply 500 households in the Eremit area with water; each household consists of about 10 people, thus affecting 5000 lives. The water will be used for drinking water, piped to the primary school and medical clinic and irrigate a five-acre plot of land purchased by the community to grow food.

Initial community involvement groundwork has been done as well as a hydrogeological survey attesting to where water can be found (at 260 meters). Permits and authorisation from governmental sources are in progress.

Financing - Funds to actually dig are the current challenge. $27,000 are needed to drill. Then, another $29,000 for a solar-powered pump would make the system operational. A coalition of potential investors is forming (commitments to date total $15,600). Additional funding must be found.

Considerable thought and planning is going into sustainability of this project. Households will be charged 500 to 1000 shillings per month /$4.50 to $9.50 USD per manyatta for cattle and household use. This is in line with what other Maasai communities pay for water. The more participating manyattas, the less will be charged per manyatta. Revenue over the year ($20,000) will take care of maintenance. Revenue will be collected professionally. Funds will be held in trust with strict accounting to make sure it goes for stated purposes. Accounts will be available for donor scrutiny at any time.

The Water Management Committee has been formed within the community and will be trained on roles and responsibilities. It will select maintenance workers to operate the new installation. Provision for security will not only guard the perimeter but ensure that equipment is serviced regularly and as needed. Factors such as health, sanitation, education, agriculture and economic development will be monitored with trends detected used for ongoing policy decisions.

To complement the water source development and ensure truly sustainable output, the project seeks to reverse environmental degradation and mitigate against climate change through tree planting and soil conservation initiatives.

water source
Springs are dug by hand with people and livestock
sharing the saline water. They dry up during droughts.

Reservoir

This community covers a particularly large area. While there are a few dams, these dry up for months on end. Water is supposed to be transmitted from a productive, yet far off, spring through a 6” surface pipe. However, the reservoir remains unfinished. Near Loikum-kum, it would serve as a balance tank in the gravity-based transmission system. It needs a roof, plastering and connection to the pipe. A pump to enhance gravity flow would help.


 

Gutters at schools to catch rain water

Sparse as it is, rain can be guided to tanks and stored. One such catchment system has been installed at Enkoireroi school. Initially established to reduce the more than 20 kilometers children from outlying huts had to trek to get to school, the school was built as a temporary structure. The school has seen its students excel, scoring well in district examinations.

Lack of water was hindering student concentration. Gutters were installed and a roof put over a collection tank. A few minutes of rain can yield enough water to fill a 100 square-meter tank. Materials (ballast, sand and water for concrete) came from the community while hardware, tools and local skilled labor were backed by Thomson Reuters and Trust.org.

By the end of the project, drought and famine were slowly turned around by water collected in the tank. A cholera epidemic was alleviated with purifying tablets and hygiene awareness training. Clean drinking water warded off water-borne diseases. Children had more time for their studies.

MANDO is seeking support for a similar catchment at Kimelok Girls School. Its 250 students range from pre-school to grade 8. Thanks to the headmaster, there is noticeable pride in the school by both the community and the children. Cost would be $5,400 / 550,000 KSH for gutters and a holding tank.

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