Kenya - Improving access to water and hygiene for an off-grid school and households with a solar pumping technology
- Selected project
- In progress
Presentation of the NGO
Founded in 1993, ACTED is an international non-governmental organization with its headquarters in Paris, France. ACTED’s teams are present in 37 countries, reaching over 11 million people. ACTED endeavors to respond to humanitarian crises and build resilience; promote inclusive and sustainable growth; co-construct effective governance and support the building of civil society worldwide by investing in people and their potential. ACTED’s mission is to save lives and support people by meeting their needs in hard-to-reach areas. ACTED develops and implements programmes that target the most vulnerable amongst populations that have suffered from conflict, natural disaster, or socio-economic hardship. ACTED’s approach looks beyond the immediate emergency towards opportunities for longer term livelihoods reconstruction and sustainable development. ACTED has been operational in Somalia since 2009. ACTED works with local communities, local authorities, clusters, agencies and donors to ensure effective and efficient delivery of projects. Water, sanitation & hygiene, and livelihood projects are implemented to improve the living standards of host and displaced populations. With its REACH Initiative, information management is reinforced through coordinated needs assessments.
The context of the project
ACTED has been present in Kenya since 2009 following the 2007/08 elections. ACTED has been supporting drought-affected and displaced populations with programs in food security (through Cash Transfer Programs), WASH, Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction and early warning systems strengthening in the Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), and has national staff based in Mandera, Samburu and Baringo Counties. At the same time, ACTED has built a strong partnership with the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), and has been supporting the institution to strengthen county early warning systems. In addition, ACTED has continued to intervene in emergencies in the above mentioned areas, supporting drought-affected households.
The proposed action will target Baringo county, located in the Western region of Kenya. Baringo county is characterized by frequent droughts and high levels of poverty and food insecurity with one of the highest burden of under-nutrition in the country. In this context, ACTED’s main objective will be to support communities in addressing some of the main underlying causes of malnutrition in the area including poor hygiene practices and lack of access to safe water. This intervention intends to provide comprehensive WASH support to the local populations through the rehabilitation of one strategic borehole. In Samburu county, ACTED is currently implementing a similar WASH intervention funded by the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), which has already yielded excellent results.
Presentation of the project
The energetic issue
The major sources of water in the ASALs are boreholes, shallow wells and earth pans used for harvesting surface run-offs. However, due to the prevailing drought climatic conditions, all the surface water sources (pans) are dry during most part of the year, and the yields of the operational shallow wells drastically reduce; this brings local communities to converge around the few operational boreholes. Surface water points are also prone to contamination and spread of diseases. This entails the risk of waterborne diseases outbreaks if the water is contaminated and untreated. Rainwater harvesting, on the other hand, is not a feasible option as in arid and semi-arid areas rainfall is erratic. In the target project area, the main source of water is therefore underground water: the borehole represents a sustainable water supply as it is not affected by adverse weather conditions like drought or external threats such as water contamination.
Concerning power sources, in the target area the use of fossil fuel like diesel for generator set is expensive. The nearest source of diesel from our proposed project site is 87 kilometers, which hinders community members from travelling to buy it to replenish their stocks. Hydro-electrical power is also expensive. Due to the economic status of the communities, water access risks to be reduced in the case of water pumped using electrical power. The mechanism can be disconnected due to non-payment; hence community households do not access water if they fail to pay their water bills. Additionally, in some of the locations where ACTED works, there is no presence of national grid (hydro-electricity) at all.
In light of the above mentioned elements, solar energy appears as an appropriate, reliable and sustainable source of energy to allow communities have long-term access to safe water. This also make an ideal choice when grid power is irregular or unavailable, as it is the case in Baringo county. Additionally, the proposed installation of a solar-powered water pumping system would entail important savings, because the operation and maintenance costs of a solar energetic system are low, while the system has been proven to have a long life span. In order to ensure cost-effectiveness of the proposed intervention for the Churo borehole, quality water testing was carried out by the Water Resources Authority, and the bio-chemical analysis confirmed that the water is suitable for domestic use. The borehole has a good yield of 12 m3/hr, which allows for the construction of a 300m pipeline that will reach the local school. Water supply will be used for multiple purposes such as drinking, cleaning and washing. With regards to the pumping equipment, specific recommendations will be formulated during the rehabilitation phase for the operation and maintenance measures needed to reduce cases of borehole breakdowns, and improve the existing water source for future sustainable use and replication in other locations. This will be achieved in cooperation with the community Water Management Committee that will be specifically trained on the newly installed solar-powered system to increase community ownership of the rehabilitated asset and promote sound management of the water point.