Funded by Mara Brock and Salim Akil, The Samburu Project will drill and install a shallow well equipped with a handpump in the Lkisin community.
The Samburu District is located in the Great Rift Valley, one of the driest places in Kenya. Annual rainfall is estimated at 400mm and is extremely erratic. Most rivers run dry for months at a time. The consequent challenges to health, sanitation and livelihoods present an urgent need for water in communities in the area.
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 and other waterborne illnesses, which are 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 little 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 40 wells The Samburu Project has drilled, more than 40,000 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 over 1,000 since Samburu Project wells became operational. Instead of solely hunting for water every day, 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 tripled.
LocationLkisin, Samburu East, Kenya
Primary Focus: Drinking Water - Community
Secondary Focus: Drinking Water - Households
People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 780
156 households @ 5 people per house
Data Source: Community Elders & Local Government
School Children Getting Water: 200
Lkisin Primary School
People Getting Sanitation: 0
Improved sanitation is an ancillary benefit of community water availability.
People Getting Other Benefits: 0
Water is the foundation from which all things grow. The expectation is that this community will receive many benefits beyond access to clean, safe drinking water.
Start Date: 2012-08-29
Completion Date: 2012-11-30
The overall objective of The Samburu Project is to enhance the lives of the Samburu people in the villages where wells are drilled. By freeing women of the obligation of spending hours per day searching for water, and by ensuring that everyone has access to clean, safe drinking water, The Samburu Project has 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 The Samburu Project to drill another 12 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 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 including: clearing area for well site; collecting and delivering sand, concrete and hardcore; participating in maintenance, hygiene and sanitation workshops; creating a community fund for ongoing well maintenance.
The Samburu Project has 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 most 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.
The project is done in 4 Phases: Community Selection, Hydrogeologic Surveys, Drilling and Installation, and Hygiene, Sanitation, and Maintenance Workshops.
he Samburu Project consider the wells to be the property and responsibility of the community from their inception. In addition to the community’s capacity during the drilling process, they are fully responsible for the maintenance of the wells. With the help of our Project Manager—a Samburu tribesman and local leader—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 Water Resource Management Authority (WRMA), a branch of the Kenyan Ministry of Water. In addition, The Samburu Project's Project Manager, Lucas Lekwale is a member of the District Development Committee and the NGO Representative to the District.
The Samburu Project supports and funds agricultural and greenhouse initiatives in its well communities. Using drip irrigation, community members form farming cooperatives (such as the Milimani Farm mentioned previously) which can generate up to $100,000 annually for the community.
Though these initiatives branch from the installment of a well, they are funded separately.
Life for Samburu women is extremely difficult. Women and girls lack many basic human rights. Women are often considered 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 rite 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. The Samburu Project's 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 $1,200 per year for this purpose. In order to ensure well functionality and monitor its use, The Samburu Project spends approximately $250 per year per well. This comes from a general fund, which is maintained by individual donations.
Maintenance Cost: $500
Wells undergo monthly inspections to assess repairs needed. At that time the community is asked to estimate the number of people using the well per day, and how much water is extracted.
Each well costs an estimated $15,000.
-Well Drilling (Drilling, Installation & Construction) $12,337
-Hydrogeological Survey $533
-Community Mobilization (Staff, Transportation, Food, Accommodation, Equipment etc.) $1492
-Hygiene & Sanitation Training $319
TOTAL EXPENSE: $15,000