Kenya Archives - WaterStep

Breaking the Cycle of Unsafe Water

Raphael

“We must step up and do something right to break the cycle of enslavement, and access to safe water is the best way to empower and transform communities.”

Raphael Wanjala is from Nairobi, Kenya. He has initiated a long term partnership with WaterStep to transform his community through safe water. Now, Raphael is here exploring the next phases of transforming and empowering his community through sanitation. “Right now we are already doing water purification, and we are doing health education. If we can incorporate sanitation, we are going to save more lives.” With WaterStep, Raphael recognizes that in order for third world communities to thrive, the three components of water purification, health education, and sanitation, must be in place, and he is committed to helping his community solve the problem.

“Water is the core of your life, and the need is great,” Raphael says. If you would like to give to break the cycle of unsafe water for others like Raphael, please donate now.

Watch today’s WHAS11 segment on Raphael, and the power of working together:  Local Agencies Educate on Healthy Water


From Kenya: Girls get water and opportunites at school

For girls living in the remote northwestern Kenyan town of Kakamega, life presents many challenges.
 
Here, girls are often denied opportunities for education, and forced into marriage at ages as early as twelve, all while living with the daily stress of surviving.
 
The Covenant of Peace Christian School provides support for girls like these, where students might walk up to six miles to attend classes. This school was built in 2010, a part of  a larger effort of  the nonprofit of the same name whose mission is to serve the poor of Kakamega. Just this past summer, dormitories were built to house the 26 orphans attending the all girl high school, which serves a total of 68 students between the ages of 13 and 20.
 
This past summer, the school also received a WaterBall from UofL medical student and volunteer Andria Myers. For these students, a WaterBall means a little less time collecting water and a little more time getting an education. The students tried it out, and made this video.
 
 
 

Double your gift for safe water this holiday season

 
You can sustain life-saving water projects like
the one at Covenant of Peace and encourage
a young person to go to school.
 

There's never been a better time than now:
Make a gift this 
holiday season before
December 31 and your gift will be 
doubled
by a private donor's matching fund.

 Give to safe water

 

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From Kenya: It takes a village to repair a hand pump

Hand pump repair in Kenya

Guest blogger Jessie Halladay talks about her experience in Kenya, where a team of Louisville Metro police officers went to repair hand pumps last December. You can also read about Jessie’s experience getting trained in hand pump repair at WaterStep. Read about our current campaign to continue work in Kenya.

Interested to learn more about hand pump repair? Visit our hand pump repair training page.

When we arrived in Kenya, our team of 10 people all felt a little anxious to get out and see if we could make repairs to pumps as we’d been trained to back in our Louisville training classes. We knew taking what we’d learned on the platform at WaterStep’s Louisville headquarters wasn’t going to be quite the same once we got into the field.

Hand pump repair in Kenya

We decided to head out to the first pump that had been identified for us as a group. I’m not sure any of us expected that the logistics of just getting to the pumps would be as challenging as they were, traveling in small vans over rough, unpaved roads filled with deep ditches. But our arrival at the first pump was met with enthusiasm as neighbors and children gathered to see what the “white people,” or mzungus, were up to.

Hand pump repair in Kenya

Hand pump repair in Kenya

Hand pump repair in Kenya

Hand pump repair in Kenya

Hand pump repair in Kenya

Hand pump repair in Kenya

Hand pump repair in Kenya

We quickly had that Afridev apart and a new seal put on, making it possible to get water flowing through the pump again.

But not everything was that easy. In fact, one team had to make a return trip to that first Afridev when it stopped working again while we were there.

During the six days our group was in Cherangany fixing hand pumps, the two teams were met with several challenges. There was a well filling with silt. One well looked similar to a Mark 2 we’d trained on, but had a thicker sucker rod and thinner pipes, rendering many of our tools useless. One pump had a base plate that was broken in four pieces. Others had been “improvised” over the years, using parts not normally used for the pumps.

Hand pump repair in Kenya

Hand pump repair in Kenya

Hand pump repair in Kenya

Hand pump repair in Kenya

Hand pump repair in Kenya

These challenges, however, just pushed our teams to get creative and think outside of the box to come up with ways to fix them. We brought a welder to the open field of the pump with the broken base plate to get it repaired. We visited auto parts stores in search of bearings to replace old ones that had been retrofit for the wrong parts. Workers climbed trees to use as braces for long PVC pipe to be pulled out of the ground for repair.

Not all the pumps we visited could be repaired.

But when we found pumps that we could work on, we dedicated ourselves to the job. In a few cases, a team spent an entire day or made return trips to get the job done.

In each case, the repairs were met with joy and smiles from the people who now will use those pumps. The many thanks we received – hugs, handshakes and smiles – were the best possible reward for our work.

Hand pump repair in Kenya

Hand pump repair in Kenya

Hand pump repair in Kenya

On our final day, the teams came together – along with our host and member of Kenyan Parliament Wesley Korir – at the Yuya Primary School.

One team had been to Yuya earlier in the week, pulling out the pipes of the Mark 2, which looked almost nothing like what we had trained on in Louisville. It was discovered that the pump needed a new cylinder since one of the stoppers was damaged, causing the water to leak out and making it impossible for water to reach the top of the pump. After replacing the cylinder, a piece that we had welded to fix a problem at the top kept breaking. Two attempts to weld the piece failed.

Hand pump repair in Kenya

Hand pump repair in Kenya

We were left with a choice – try the weld again or replace what was there. Thanks to our generous donors back home — David Jones, Jr., Mary Gwen Wheeler and Tom Conway – we were able to buy all new pipes and a new pump head to rebuild the YuYa pump and make it fully functional.

Hand pump repair in Kenya

Hand pump repair in Kenya

It was a great way to end our trip, coming together as an entire team, watching the Kenyans we had worked with and trained in pump repair take the lead, and seeing the school personnel and children watch the water flow from the pump. Without that pump working, the 800 students of the school had been required to carry water from home. Often that water was dirty and not safe. Now the children and neighboring community will have access to better water that is easier to obtain.

While we spent more money to replace that entire pump, often the solutions to these repairs are pretty simple and relatively inexpensive. By teaching the people we were with and bringing tools to the community, local people will also have the ability to make their own repairs.

It was incredibly satisfying for our teams to see the results of their work. And to know that it will make a big difference in the lives of the people we met while in Kenya.

Interested to learn more about hand pump repair? Visit our hand pump repair training page.

Hand pump repair in Kenya