“Tukiwa na maji, tutakuwa kama ulaya” (“If we have water, we shall be like the developed countries”) – Kitui program participant
In the Kitui region of Kenya, community-built water ponds, closer to home, collect seasonal rains and free women and girls from the drudgery of searching for water, waiting for hours in queues to collect it, and carrying it home, all of which can take up to 120 hours a month. Even in the face of the 3-year drought affecting the area, these earth dams are full for about half the year.
This means that for 4-5 months girls can attend evening classes, children can use their classroom breaks to fetch water quickly for livestock, and women have more time to devote to their children, households, farming, small businesses, and weaving.
Families use the water for domestic purposes such as drinking, washing, cleaning, cooking, bathing, vegetable gardening, and watering livestock.
Each of the five program communities elects a water users association for daily management of the dams, ensuring equitable use of the water, maintenance, tariff setting, and conducting activities such as fencing, deepening the dams, de-silting, and preparing seed-bed nurseries at the dams.
They also ensure that soil and water conservation continue among members so as to ensure better farm production, and that members develop and maintain favorable sanitation and hygiene practices both at the dams and at the household level.
Widespread construction and use of latrines is improving community health by keeping human waste away from water sources.
Despite the drought, participants report progress within its farmer field schools; soil and water conservation; sanitation and hygiene; producer marketing groups; Savings and Internal Lending Communities, and more.
FRB's Kenya-Kitui Program encompasses 5 communities, 1240 households and 6250 individuals