Ngutuk Ongiron is the home of a Samburu pastoral community in northern Kenya. Exceptional rainfall at the end of 2011 led to the flooding of the Ewaso Nyiro River, causing capital damage to the community water system and requiring the replacement and repair of the wind generator and the construction of new community water points.
The effects of the damage were far-reaching and devastating:
- Women and children had to endure daily 14km round trips to collect dirty water from the river
- The time taken to reach the river (six hours) meant that children missed school
- There were incidences of crocodile attacks on children and livestock
- Cases of diarrhoea, typhoid, dysentery, worms and skin infections increased
- Food production decreased
In September 2012, Just a Drop worked with the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) to repair the water system and construct new domestic water points for the Ngutuk Ongiron community. The work took three months to complete, helped by a substantial contribution from the community itself. As well as digging trenches, helping to identify breakage points in the 7km pipeline, they also ensured that goat was a daily fixture on the lunch menu!
The community elected a committee and decided on a monthly fee of 100 shillings per household (about 75p), which will go towards future maintenance and repairs. A water metre was also installed to allow the committee to implement a water user-fee programme.
January 2013 – site visit by Just a Drop
Two of Just a Drop’s project engineers, Mike Reynolds and John Mitchell visited Kenya in January. They were met by the local chief who joined them on their inspection of the project. They were pleased to report that everything was functioning well and that two community members have since been elected to inspect the pipeline regularly and conduct any repairs if necessary.
The project has benefited the entire Ngutuk Ongiron community, especially the local school and health clinic by providing access to clean and safe water. In fact:
- The number of pupils enrolling has increased by 129%
- Cases of diarrhoea have already dropped by 17%
- Women in the community have more time available for income related activities
In all, the project enabled the provision of safe and clean portable water to some 2,000 community members.
Mariamu Lekonte, a 14 year old pupil who attends Ngutuk Ongiron Primary School said, “After the flood, pupils were few in the school and even the teachers were not there because nobody wanted to come and stay in a place with no water. Pupils felt thirst and hungry throughout the day. Our parents fetched water from the river far away; sometimes they filled small jerry cans for us to take to school to use for drinking and cooking. Now that we have water at school, we can drink water every day and perform better in class. There is also an increase of pupils’ enrolment and teachers as well!”
Our sincere thanks to the Boultbee Foundation for making this project possible.
Date of Project: February 2013