The Samburu Project brings wells to communities which otherwise suffer the health and livelihood consequences of being without water. Our wells enhance the lives of thousands!
The Samburu District is located in the Great Rift Valley, one of the driest places in Kenya. Annual rainfall is estimated at 400mm and can be extremely erratic. Most streams run dry for months at a time. The consequent challenges to health, sanitation and livelihoods present an urgent need for water in the communities in the area.
Currently, many Samburu women walk up to 20km each day in search of water and the water they find is often unclean, originating from gaping, hand-dug wells contaminated by wildlife and livestock. Drinking contaminated water can cause diarrhea, one of the leading causes of death in Samburu. Carrying heavy water containers for long distances has been linked to other health issues, including severe back problems and a high incidence of miscarriage. Spending the majority of their day searching for water leaves Samburu women with no time to develop income-generating businesses, care for their children, become more informed about their human rights, or send their children to school. Commonly, Samburu girls do not attend school because they are expected to join their mothers in this quest for water.
With the 29 wells The Samburu Project has drilled, more than 30,000 people now have access to clean, safe drinking water. As a result of their access to water, women have fewer health problems and have begun nourishing themselves and generating income through agricultural endeavors. The number of women engaging in farming and micro enterprise initiatives has grown from 54 to 943 since Samburu Project wells became operational. Instead of solely hunting for water everyday, girls can now attend school and become educated assets to their communities. Since the establishment of wells in Samburu East, the number of girls attending school has increased from 1,275 to 4,500.
LocationLemaramba, East Samburu District, Kenya
Primary Focus: Drinking Water - Community
Secondary Focus: Drinking Water - Households
People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 1,300
Local government data estimate that there are 260 households in the village, with an average of 5 members per household.
School Children Getting Water: 0
This is a community project that benefits children both at home and, in some cases, in their ability to attend school.
People Getting Sanitation: 0
The focus of The Samburu Project is the provision of safe drinking water.
People Getting Other Benefits: 1,300
Secondary benefits of the wells are determined by the demographic characteristics and needs of the resident population. The main benefits received by all are increased hydration, sanitation and hygiene. We have also seen increases in the number of girls attending school, the number of healthy births, and opportunities for women outside of the household.
Start Date: 2010-11-01
Completion Date: 2011-01-01
The overall objective of The Samburu Project is to enhance the lives of the Samburu people in the villages where our wells are built. By freeing women of the obligation to spend hours per day looking for water, and by ensuring that everyone has access to clean, safe drinking water, we have given women the opportunity to engage in other activities, given children the opportunity to go to school, and given everyone the chance to live more healthful lives. This success has inspired us to drill another 25 Wells in the area.
The Samburu Project works closely with local communities during every step of the process. Communities first apply to The Samburu Project community-based organization (CBO) for a well to be drilled in their community and once their application is accepted they work alongside 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, including: clearing area for well site; collecting and delivering sand, concrete and hardcore; participating in maintenance, hygiene and sanitation workshops; and creating a community fund for ongoing well maintenance.
We have had much success with our use of the Afridev Handpump. It is widely used across Africa and is attractive because of its simplicity and sustainability. Maintenance is easy and there is limited breakage. The must common repair issue is caused by the wearing away of the rubber parts. These are easily obtained, often at no cost, from the drilling company and can be replaced by trained members of the community.
We typically drill wells in sets of eight to twelve. Drilling will take place over the course of three weeks. Before drilling can start, we must spend three to five weeks working with our hydrogeologist to determine the ideal location of each well. In
We consider the wells to be the property and responsibility of the community from their inception. In addition to the community’s capacity during the building process, they are fully responsible for the maintenance of the wells. With the help of our Project Manager—a Samburu tribesman and local leader himself—each village forms a water committee which sees to it that the wells are maintained and access is granted fairly to community members. Each household contributes to a well-maintenance fund, which is used to buy parts in the event of a breakdown. The role of The Samburu Project is to monitor this process, providing backup when needed.
Before the well is drilled, the local Samburu Project CBO acquires a permit for drilling from the District Water Office, a branch of the Kenyan Ministry of Water. In addition, our Project Manager, Lucas Lekwale is a member of the District Development Committee and the NGO Representative to the District.
Once clean water is established as a baseline, we work with other CBO partners to impact additional aspects of community life, including education, healthcare, income generation and women’s empowerment. For instance, through our partnership with One Kid One World, Lolkuniyani Primary School in Wamba has been enhanced with new classrooms, more teachers and a water catchment system. 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.
An example of an ancillary activity:
The Samburu Project completed construction of the Milimani water well in July 2007, providing this Wamba community with a stable source of clean water and making it possible for the 30-40-member Milimani Women’s Group to undertake a sustainable farming project under the guidance of a project director from the Kenya Horticultural Group. The farm currently grows cabbage, kale, tomatoes, potatoes, maize, beans, passion fruit, and other fruits and vegetables. Excess produce is sold in town, generating 450,000 KES (approximately US$6000) in annual income. In addition to crop production, the Milimani Women’s Group is developing other income-generating activities, such as bee keeping (harvesting honey and beeswax for sale); dairy goat production; and beading, which is central to their culture. With revenue generated from these activities, the Milimani Women’s Group is able to maintain a bank account and provide “no interest” loans to group members to open shops, sell items at local markets and participate in livestock trading. The Milimani Women’s Group has demonstrated how a community with access to clean water can eliminate poverty, become self-sufficient, and improve the livelihoods and wellbeing of its members. Projects such as these have begun to spring up at many of our different well sites.
Life for Samburu women is extremely difficult. Women and girls lack basic rights. Women are the property of their husbands and rarely given opportunities to own goods or property. In some villages, girls are not permitted to go to school. The Samburu circumcise girls as a right of passage. The Samburu also practice polygamy, so it is not uncommon for a man to have multiple wives. Violence against women is socially acceptable and often encouraged. Samburu women carry all the daily household burdens, including fetching water and firewood, caring for their children, building and maintaining their homes, tending to livestock, and cooking. The direst issue in Samburu is not HIV/AIDS, malaria, poverty or genital mutilation, however. It’s lack of clean water and facilities for proper sanitation.
Our wells have provided a degree freedom that was previously unavailable to the women in these communities. Women are now able to spend less time on water, and more time on activities for themselves and their families.
The community agrees by contract to pay for maintenance costs. Each well committee collects approximately $250 dollars per year for this purpose. In order to ensure well functionality and monitor its use, The Samburu Project spends approximately $160 per year per well. This comes from our general fund, which is maintained by individual donations.
Maintenance Cost: $410
Prior art before metrics
Co Funding Amount: $0
Community Contribution Amount: $1,850
Estimastion based on labor contributed for clearing the site and collecting the sand, hard core, ballast and water needed to build the well.