A few days back, we have launched a pilot project to make more drinking water available to our communities in our Making More Health project area in Bungoma county, Western Kenya. More than 6000 individuals living close to the poverty line in rural areas will benefit from it.
How it works?
Helioz, a social enterprise from Austria has developed the WADI (WAter DIsinfection) device , a simple solution for treating drinking water – through UV radiation. Their product WADI ), is a solar-powered UV measurement device that visualizes the process of solar water disinfection (SODIS) in PET bottles.* It measures UV-A and UV-B radiation and shows when sufficient disinfection of coliform bacteria and germs has taken place. The WADI is usable wherever there is enough sunlight and does not require an external power source. It also contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions, since water no longer needs to be boiled using firewood or gas.
Our local social workers Chrisantus (from GAASPP) and Cleo (from AMPATH) and some more of our local team (who will be informed by HELIOZ) will distribute the devices and train people in the communities we work with (farmers, people with albinism, self-help group members) will be trained, not just on the usage of the device, but also on hygiene and how to avoid that germs get into the drinking water. An evidence study is included.
Read more about this project and who is involved to make it a success here.
Another important issue is to make sure that the sources of water are safer. Ou local communities involved have started to work also “hands-on” and in a very pragmatic way to contribute to a healthier and safer water quality. Read more about it in the last blog post.
What you should know
Water is fundamental to human survival. It is also one of the biggest health threats to more than 660 million people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America who still don’t have access to safe drinking water. According to the UNICEF, Kenya has the third-largest number of people in sub-Saharan Africa who drink directly from contaminated surface water sources – 9.4 million people. Also, in our MMH area in Bungoma County, Kenya, many people are denied access to clean drinking water. With a population of 47.6 million, 41 % of Kenyans still rely on unimproved water sources, such as ponds, shallow wells, and rivers. These challenges are especially evident in the rural areas and the urban slums, like in Bungoma county, where we run regularly health & hygiene awareness training sessions for humans and animals as well as income generation programs.
Many of the daily challenges experienced by the local people are water-related: inadequate food production because of dependence on rain-fed agriculture, waterborne related diseases for humans and animal (like diarrhea, typhoid, cholera), and long-distance to access water points. The water in the rural areas of the county is often of bad quality because of many factors. These include inadequate protection of water points both surface and underground. Also poor hygiene practices leading to water contamination by human feces, washing clothes and sharing water points with livestock lead to further detrimental effects on water quality.
More pictures and detail information on the training sessions with our communities and local trainers will be shared soon.