The Ilmisigiyo Self-Help Group’s Story

Girl power

– Millions of women in the developing world are prevented from accomplishing much more than basic survival. Not because of a lack of motivation, or skill, but due to of a lack of safe water. In fact, in just one day, it is estimated that over 152 million hours of women’s time is consumed by fulfilling the most basic of human needs – collecting water for domestic use[i].

At their last meeting, the members of the Ilmisigiyo Self-Help Group were asked what they liked best about their new sand dam.

Project_107AF_Kenya_Utooni_28One woman said they were closer to their husbands, because they were involved in making decisions. ”We were not involved in the community meetings before”, she said. “Now, even our ‘Chairman’ is a woman.” (At this point everyone laughed and nodded enthusiastically). In addition, thanks to the time saved from collecting water, the women can now run small businesses. “We don’t have to ask our husbands for money all the time for food and school fees for the children. Because of this, they don’t get angry with us.”

The men added, “They are right. Nowadays we get along with our wives much better. If they want to braid their hair at the hairdressers, they can do it. They have their own money. That makes us feel good! We really want to support them.”

[i] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation. (2010). Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water, 2010 Update.