Clean Water & Sanitation
Water and sanitation are serious challenges in rural Kenya. Most families in the Maasai Mara get their water from sources like open pits and rivers shared with wildlife and livestock, and only 30% of the local population has access to sanitary latrines, both with devastating effects on health.
We are addressing this in 3 ways.
Lemek Hills Purified Water
In partnership with Global Water First, we developed Lemek Hills Purified Water in the Mara North region, with 220-meter borehole, solar-powered pumping, filtration, bottling, and distribution. This project provides clean water to families in the area, most of whom had not had access to safe water before. A tap from the borehole provides water free to the community.
We also sell purified water in reusable bottles to surrounding safari camps and businesses. The water is filtered through state-of-the-art reverse osmosis and ultra-purification systems and is government certified. Sales of this water helps sustain the water operation and our other projects in the region, including education and women's empowerment. This enterprise employs members of the local community.
Portable Water Filters
With our health partner MAMA Project, we distribute water filtration systems to families for home use and to schools and small communities. The stacking bucket systems for homes incorporate Sawyer filters, and the larger community systems are made with LifeStraw filters. Both are state-of-the-art portable membrane filters. We also provide Aquatabs for removing viruses. These systems are helpful for families and communities who get their water from surface-area sources such as rivers.
We train women in the community spaces at our Oliveseed Women's Work Center and Lemek Hills Water Facility on using, assembling, and maintaining these systems, led by the training team from MAMA Project. Women also learn to teach other women in their community.
When we approached Olemoncho Primary about building a library for them, the school responded that first they desperately needed latrines, as this rural school had only "2 open pits in deplorable condition."
We discovered that a lack of facilities not only has implications for health, but is also a serious barrier to education. The school reported that building latrines would "solve problems including teachers’ poor productivity, pupils’ poor academic performances, drop-out, and low self-esteem." Families were reluctant to send their girls to school, because of poor hygiene.
So, we built modern latrines at Olemoncho with one side for girls and one for boys, with multiple stalls, doors for privacy, and sanitary hand-washing stations. In addition, because Olemoncho accommodates the area's students with mobility disabilities, we included one stall on each side for people with disabilities, with flush toilets, handle bars, and ramp entry — the first latrines in the Mara to accommodate these needs.