Kenya: Supply safe water for people who struggle against repeated drought

In 2011, AAR Japan started operation in Kenya, for supporting people suffering from the huge drought in East Africa. Since February 2012, we have repaired the water supply facilities and built new wells in local villages located as far as an eight-hour drive to the east of Nairobi, the capital in Kenya.

Women and children are usually in charge of drawing out and carrying water. They dig up dry bottoms of seasonal rivers and draw water from underground in villages with no well (around Ture Village in Garissa District, April 12th, 2013).

Taking action in areas that are left out from support
In Garissa District, there are many nomads who move around with livestock to seek daily water. However, some of those who have lost livestock due to repeated droughts began to settle across the district. In addition, the population of the district is increasing since many people evacuate from the conflict continued in neighboring Somalia. This put increasing concern over water shortages besides the persistent situation in which some villagers cannot use fifteen liters of water in a single day, which is commonly said to be necessary. Although the need for water is becoming larger and larger, the district cannot get support from the government of Kenya and the international societies because of its distant location from Nairobi and unstable security condition due to the conflict in Somalia.

Make the water facility function efficiently
AAR Japan repairs water facilities in Nadir Village in Garissa District, where about 2,100 people live in. The villagers used to draw water from wells with a diesel power generator, which uses light or heavy oil for fuel. However, they had never be able to obtain enough water for all villagers, because the generator got broken quite often and the villagers were not able to fix. Also, half of the villagers could not use the system due to the rise in payment for thier share of maintenance cost such as repair of the generator or fuel. Therefore, AAR Japan created a system which draws water by a solar power generation, which can cut the maintenance cost. This enabled the villagers to stably draw sufficient amount of safe water.

Re-examine daily water usage and maintain the water supply system
The members of Water Management Committee and the programme coordinator, Rie MATSUMOTO (center back), instructing local children how to use water supply facilities using relevant pamphlets. (July 5th, 2013)
Participation of the residents is essential for maintaining the function of the water supply system. AAR Japan trained the committee which consists of the local residents and told them the fact that all villagers must be able to use water supply facilities, how to maintain and manage the facility and water source and what the role of the committee is. The participants actively raised their hands and discussed about concerns about maintenance and how to solve them. AAR Japan will continue supporting them through monitoring and giving advice on the daily maintenance including how to keep financial records.

Now, we don’t have to worry about getting water!
Daigo TAKAGI and women in the village, who are usually in charge of the hard task to get water (July 4th, 2013)
Nimo who lives in Nadir village comes three times a day to draw water (on the right). She told Daigo TAKAGI, the programme coordinator of AAR Japan, “the power generator used to get broken quite often and the price of water was high, so I had to draw water from the river 3 km far or from water puddles on the ground. But now we can draw water any time, and what’s more, the cost of the water dropped, so I’m really happy.”

“I’m so glad I could get water!” The villagers and the programme coordinator, Daigo TAKAGI (on the left), under the water supply facility which has been repaired by AAR Japan (July 5th, 2013)
Constructing wells in new villages                                                                      
There are still no well in two new villages (Ture Village and Hiribaiy Village) established by nomads who started to settle because of losing their livestock in the recent droughts. The villagers have to walk for several kilometers to draw water from the river or dig up soil soaked in rain and get water from that. AAR Japan is constructing hand pump wells in these two villages and supporting establishing water management committees in order for the villagers to obtain safe water.

Rie MATSUMOTO, AAR Japan Kenya Office
She had been in charge of projects in Afghanistan and Cambodia, working in Tokyo since 2004. And she has been worked in Kenya since April of 2012 after the programme coordinator in Pakistan from 2010. She contributed in emergecy support on the Smatra earthquake in 2009 and Haiti earthquake in 2010. She is a resident representative of Kenya from April, 2012.
Daigo TAKAGI, AAR Japan Kenya Office
He learned about reconstruction support from conflict in post graduate school in England after working in a private company He worked since May 2011 in Tokyo office of AAR Japan and contributed to the support for the victims of the East Japan Earthquake. He is a programme coordinator in Kenya from February, 2012.