Founded in 2005, The Samburu Project is a U.S.-based non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that collaborates with communities in developing countries to enhance men, women and children’s daily lives by providing resources that address immediate needs while promoting long-term sustainability and self-sufficiency along with cultural integrity. The Samburu Project’s current focus is the Samburu region of Kenya. The Samburu Project Kenya operates as a CBO in Wamba, Samburu, Kenya and as an NGO in Kenya.
The Samburu people are traditionally nomadic pastoralists who live simply without modern conveniences like electricity, cars and running water. Their economy is based on the barter system, raising and trading livestock rather than currency, so access to currency is often limited.
Wamba, The Samburu Project's headquarters, is one of six administrative divisions in the Samburu District and a trading center approximately 435km north of Nairobi along the great north road that joins Kenya and Ethiopia beneath the Mathews Mountain Range. Wamba is adjacent to the famous Samburu National Reserve. Climatically, Wamba is a semi-arid environment receiving unpredictable rainfall, approximately 400mm annually.
The Samburu Project is a community-based, grassroots organization that works directly with the people of Samburu, addressing their needs as they have identified them. With The Samburu Project's Project Manager, a local tribesman and community leader, the organzation is cultivating locally led leadership and the opportunity to make the best decisions for this indigenous community. The Samburu Project has drilled 40 wells providing clean, safe drinking water to 40,000 people in Samburu, Kenya. To successfully implement our projects, The Samburu Project CBO mobilizes the community, works alongside a hydrogeologist to identify potential well sites, oversees the drilling and installation of wells, and trains communities on hygiene, sanitation and well maintenance. By providing the critical foundation of access to water, The Samburu Project makes further development possible.
The Samburu Project works closely with local communities during every step of the process. Communities must first apply to The Samburu Project CBO for a well to be drilled in their community and, once their application is accepted, they work alongside The Samburu Project’s CBO and hydrogeologist to select a location for their well. Each community, represented by a women’s group, signs a contract agreeing to specific conditions and responsibilities: clearing the area for well site construction; collecting and delivering sand, concrete and hardcore; participating in maintenance, hygiene and sanitation workshops; and creating a community fund for ongoing well maintenance.
The Samburu Project is careful to minimize the environmental impact of its wells. Working with a hydrogeologist to select sites, The Samburu Project carefully examines other water points in the area so aquifers are not exhausted. Wells are strategically located next to dry riverbeds so seasonal rains recharge the aquifers.
Once clean water is established as a baseline, The Samburu Project works with other CBO partners to impact additional aspects of community life, including education, healthcare, income generation and women’s empowerment. For instance, through The Samburu Project's partnership with One Kid One World, Lolkuniyani Primary School in Wamba has been enhanced with new classrooms, more teachers and a water catchment system. In addition, through the Falkenberg Education Program, The Samburu Project is helping children prepare to attend secondary school through the purchase of test preparation books, provision of desks, rehabilitation of school facilities and donation of sporting equipment. At the local level, on agricultural income-generating endeavors, The Samburu Project has partnered with the Kenyan Horticultural Group to teach women how to grow and sell produce.