Unlike large tracts of sub-Saharan Africa the problem in much of Kenya is often not so much lack of water but rather ready access to it and its quality.

One of the major barriers to getting girls into education and keeping them there is their role in the community which means they spend much of their day fetching water for their villages. As an example at Labentera the women and girls have to walk approximately 5 miles in each direction to get water. This takes up a significant part of their day and means many girls do not have time to go to school. By providing a water supply, close to the village, this barrier to education is removed.

In many areas it is clear there is water not far under the ground and there are a number of boreholes already in existence in the region. Much of Kenya is volcanic in origin and has a number of natural, thermal springs that provide clean water where these emerge. Tapping into these water sources is normally fairly straight-forward but the costs of doing so are normally beyond the means of most poor, rural communities.

In Western Kenya, on the shores of Lake Victoria, there is no shortage of water. The problem here is its quality. Many people suffer from illness and disease caused through drinking contaminated water and these both have a huge impact on economic productivity and school attendance rates. Clean water is often available but its cost, in areas where average incomes are less than a dollar a day, make it prohibitive. In areas where there is plenty of water we are helping to provide simple water filtration systems. A filter that will serve a small village or school costs under £300 and a small one, adequate for a family, under £30. 

Aside from providing filters our two current water supply projects are both in Maasailand. Close by Iltalala a borehole has recently been sunk, about 1 mile from the village, to service a number of villages in the immediate area. The borehole has a manual pump and people can now walk here to collect water rather than make the 5 mile journey to Maji Moto. Although the borehole is in place there are a number of things that need to be done to improve and secure the water supply.

At the moment, because there is no fencing animals are coming to the borehole and causing damage. Elephants are found in the area and will undoubtedly break the pump beyond repair at some stage unless prevented from doing so. We are hoping to fence the area around the pump to keep animals out.

We also intend to install a wind pump and storage tank so there is a ready supply of water. In some cases the younger girls and older women are not strong enough to manually pump the water. Also, when there are numbers of people coming for water at the same time a lot of time is spent waiting for the water to be pumped.

The underground installation of approximately 1 mile of pipe would service Iltalala village and the nursery school. It is proposed that a large storage tank is installed at each location and water is pumped to these tanks from the borehole. Until the pipeline is installed, as an interim measure, the tanks will be installed and transport hired to fill them manually on a regular basis.

The government have recently approved the sinking of a new borehole, not far from Labentera, and we have obtained permission from the owners to run a pipeline from the borehole to the village. We have also sorted out permission from local landowners to run the pipeline across their land. The village elders have identified this project as a priority as the women currently spend two days, each week, making the 10 mile round trip to collect water. Freeing up this time will have a big impact on the women and girls' education and we hope to be able to start work on the pipeline early in 2013.