“Getting water used to take me 3 hours. Now it takes only 5 minutes”
Swari is a small village in the remote corner of Samburu land in northern Kenya. Samburus are the “northern cousins” of the famous Masai tribe and known as fierce warriors and pastoralists who don’t shy away from defending their cattle even from lions. Like most of northern Kenya, Swari is very arid. Long dry spells can go on for months or even years. Few years ago, a Kenyan church from the town of Muranga sent their pastor to start a work in Swari. The town, in many ways, seemed forgotten. They did not have good roads, or electricity and the biggest challenge was no access to clean water. In 2017, the church leaders approached Water for the World and shared their burden for Swari: After assessing the site we concluded that accessing water was possible, the challenge was funding. At the time there was no funds or knowledge of donors willing to cover the cost of drilling and equipping a borehole for the people of Swari. W4W advised the church that with prayer and a good proposal we could start looking for a funding partner.
In 2018, a team from King’s Community Church from Aberdeen, Scotland visited Kenya. W4W took them to Swari to meet the pastor and community. Soon after KCC agreed to fund the water project in Swari. Once drilling was complete, the water quality analysis revealed that the water was saline, which is a challenge in this part of Kenya. W4W had discovered in 2018 a new solar powered reverse osmosis technology that could cost effectively treat saline water. However, additional funding would be required. Another partner, World Challenge, who collaborates with W4W to do community training, was able to contribute additional funds to ensure the water treatment system was installed. This year, through the amazing story of partnerships the full water system is ready. It is now producing perfectly clean water for the people of Swari.
Access to clean water is a true miracle for the people of Swari. The children from the local school and many women from the community used to go and fetch water daily from the local river. It was a few kilometres away and would typically take more than 3 hours to fetch just one jerrycan (20 litres) of brackish water. Now the water well is right in the village equipped with the reverse osmosis and UV-light water treatment. Very clean water is now available in few minutes’ walk. Headteacher of the school expressed that he couldn’t even begin to describe how big an impact having accessible clean water was having on the school and community. Students have more time for schoolwork, and teachers have more time for preparing lessons. The quality of life in the village has improved dramatically.
W4W together with its partners is committed to training the community to ensure that the positive impact of the water can be maximized. This includes teachings in WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), health, small scale farming, tree planting and many other topics that can improve quality of life. The process of transformation started with access to clean water. By adding useful knowledge & skills, acquired through ongoing trainings, we expect to see lasting results in Swari. Future generations will have a healthier starting point and dignity in life. W4W desires to share many more stories like Swari, which is possible when we join hands and work together.