Bringing clean water to Kenya

Kenya trip Just a Drop Jan 2014Just a Drop’s Nicola Baskerville has just returned from a project visit to Kenya, where Just a Drop provided two schools with rainwater harvesting tanks. The schools – one primary and one secondary – are located in a semi-arid area, near Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

Kenya trip Just a Drop Jan 2014At present, children must provide their own water for drinking, cooking and cleaning and during the dry season, this means a 6km walk to the nearest river. If they arrive at school empty-handed, they risk being sent away. Furthermore, and with even more serious consequences, the river water they collect is contaminated, causing illnesses such as diarrhoea, dysentery and skin infections. This, combined with the fear of being punished for being late for class, means that absenteeism levels are high.

Thanks to support from World Travel Market (WTM), the project has funded two rainwater harvesting systems and water storage tanks at each school. These new water sources will improve the overall sanitary condition of the schools and provide clean, safe drinking water to approximately 424 children and 11 teachers.

Kenya trip Just a Drop Jan 2014Other benefits will include a reduction in the incidence of water related diseases; less time spent collecting water; increased attendance and better concentration levels in class, as well as an end to the physical burden the children have had to endure when carrying their jerry cans full of water over long distances.

As well as sponsoring the project, WTM also covered the costs for four staff members to visit the project last week, accompanied by Just a Drop’s head of projects and trustee Colonel Mike Reynolds and Nicola.

 

Here’s Nicola’s account of the trip:

Kenya trip Just a Drop Jan 2014Visiting Kenya for the first time with Just a Drop has been an overwhelming and touching experience. From having little children running up to me giggling and wanting to play, to teenage girls amazed by my red hair and a couple of young boys who all wanted to become photographers after I showed them how to use my camera.

It was evident from the moment we all pulled into the schools that thanks to WTM and the Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF) – Just a Drop’s local partner – Just a Drop has had a dramatic impact on the lives of the children and wider community.

The rainwater harvesting system – chosen as the best engineering solution for both the primary and secondary school – was constructed by the parents with guidance given by the headteachers and ASDF. This meant that not only will the new water source enable the children to focus on their education and the parents on growing crops and making a living, but they will also feel ownership of it; it is theirs to benefit from and theirs to maintain.

Kenya trip Just a Drop Jan 2014

This trip has not only made me realise that such simple solutions can have profound effects on people’s lives, but it has reinforced the reason why I wanted to work for Just a Drop in the first place.

16 year old Veronica (pictured second from the left) summed up her feelings well in a short poem:

 

I had no future, no life, no hope

I can now smile, I am at the top

Because I have what I so longed for

Just a Drop!

 

I can now wash and grow a crop

A friend can scrub and still mop

What I pay for is just a mere soap

Because I have what I so longed for

Just a Drop!

 

My love for you will never stop

May you live long like Paul the Pope

Drop has made me walk up the slope

For now I have what I so longed for

Just a Drop!