Kakamega, Kenya 2022 - Present
Water=Life is proud to announce a new clean water project in collaboration with Friends of Kenya Rising in Kakamega, Western Province Kenya.
Friends of Kenya Rising (supporting United Kenya Rising) is a new organization formed by the consolidation of Crossroads Springs Africa and Friends of Kakamega and led by executive director John Chisholm. The mission of Friends of Kenya Rising to assist Kenyan students and their families as they rise out of poverty aligns with the mission of Water=Life to bring health and wholeness to children and their families through the gift of clean water.
In 2021 United Kenya Rising (UKR) piloted a new initiative to help families access clean water using high quality, low-cost water filters that last for many years with essentially no limit on the amount of water filtered. The pilot was successful with most of the initial 27 families reporting they are very happy to have clean drinking water. Now, with additional support from Water=Life, they are pursuing the goal of all students and families in their programs accessing safe drinking water in their homes.
In 2022, Water=Life provided the first of many water filters to Kakamega. The distribution and training starts with those families facing the biggest obstacles to accessing clean water, as identified by United Kenya Rising’s social work team. Every water filter is delivered by a staff member who trains the recipient family on how to use and maintain it. Families, for their part, are required to provide the plastic containers that will store the clean, filtered water.
A large majority of households we support in western Kenya do not have access to potable, piped water. Many families drink water from UKR-provided tanks that collect rooftop rainfall, but this water could still be cleaner. Moreover, rainwater from tanks is not available during the dry season that lasts several months, forcing families to drink water they collect from streams, rivers, community boreholes, and springs. In some cases, especially streams and rivers, the water families drink is highly contaminated. Boiling helps, but wood for boiling water is expensive and not all families are able to boil all their drinking water, or they do not boil enough water to hydrate properly for good health.
Water is life, and clean drinking water is a major factor in living a healthy lifestyle. Contaminated water, meanwhile, leads to diarrheal diseases that range from uncomfortable to life-threatening. Clean drinking water prevents conditions like E. coli infections, giardiasis, typhoid, and cholera. We believe every human being has a right to clean and safe drinking water, and we are working hard to ensure all the students and families we serve enjoy that right.
Your support to bring clean water to students and their families will change lives and nurture a hope-filled future for children and their community. Won’t you join us?
Masaka, Uganda 2019:
In August, Water=Life established a relationship with Father Emmanuel Katabaazi through Reach Out to Africa while he was visiting the U.S. Father Emmanuel is Health Coordinator for Health, Wellness and Fitness of Masaka Diocesan Medical Services (MDMS) in Uganda.
Initially, Water=Life provided 35 Sawyer SP180 Water Filters to Fr. Emmanuel to take back with him for use in each of MDMS’s medical centers.
Upon returning to Uganda, Fr. Emmanuel researched and found buckets appropriate for this project. Water=Life provided the funding for Fr. Emmanuel to purchase 70 buckets, two for each water filter.
Fr. Emmanuel called a meeting of MDMS representatives from the 35 clinics and provided an overview of the Sawyer SP180 Water Filter System set-up, training and maintenance.
The need for clean water in Masaka, Uganda is monumental. After using the Sawyer SP180 Water Filter System, Fr. Emmanuel identified the need for clean water for the approximately 450 schools in the Masaka Diocese. Fr. Emmanuel hopes to bring clean water to schools outside the Diocese.
Masaka, Uganda 2020
Uganda 2020 Phase One:
A team from Water=Life led by Vice President Susan Riley traveled to Masaka, Uganda with 150 Sawyer SP180 Water Filter System kits and funding for the purchase of necessary buckets and jerry cans to accommodate 150 schools.
• There is no access to clean water in Masaka schools.
• Only 2% of schools have running water and just 5% have kitchens.
• Water supplied by the government is unreliable and is not potable.
• Only 1% of schools have ﬂushing toilets; the remaining 99% have a latrine for the boys and girls.
If schools have any water at all, it comes from a variety of unsafe water sources including ponds, hand shoveled wells, barrels, and cisterns to collect rainwater. In addition, if there is access, the water must be boiled, requiring collecting and burning wood, which is costly and harmful to the environment.
During the Phase One initiative, Water=Life provided comprehensive training for school representatives (teachers and staff) to approximately 150 schools in the Diocese.
The mission accomplished the following goals:
• Thorough training on how to assemble, use, and maintain the Sawyer SP180 Water Filter System.
• Demonstrate the safety of the filtered water. Susan drank the filtered water in front
of the school representatives to initiate trust in the powerful effectiveness of the Sawyer SP180.
• Track each filter by number and capture school name, location, number of students, and specifics for future follow-up visits by Fr. Emmanuel and his staff.
• Identify one or more representatives from each school to be responsible for maintaining the filter on an ongoing basis for long-term success.
Hamisi, Kenya 2012:
Schools, Households (on-site)
In June 2012, Rev. Elena Delgado was asked to research funding to dig a well at Crossroads Springs Institute in Kenya, an elementary and primary school for area children orphaned by the death of their parents due to AIDS. Her research led her to the Sawyer SP180 Water Filter System as an immediate and affordable way to bring clean water to the school. Friends, family, and church groups responded enthusiastically to this idea. Enough money was raised to purchase 70 filters and buckets for placement in the school and to provide a system for each teacher, staff, the Women’s Sewing Coop as well as for the Board of Directors. Filter systems would be placed in the school dining room, health clinic, staff lounge and even in the chicken coop.
Elena traveled to the school the following month to initiate this project. All recipients attended a two-hour training workshop presented by Elena on the benefits of the Sawyer filter, its assembly, easy use and long-term maintenance. Everyone enthusiastically embraced the technology and grasped the value of being a filter owner.
In September, Elena received a letter from the school’s food service director thanking her for the personal Sawyer filter she was using at home and for the filters being put to good use by the children and staff at the school. “But Miss Elena, the students do not have clean water in their homes. What are we going to do about this?” she asked. Elena responded to her challenge with another fundraising initiative to provide a filter system for each family of the 440 students attending Crossroad Springs Institute.
Hamisi, Kenya 2013:
Elena returned to Crossroads Springs in January 2013 to begin this new mission. Training was provided to more than 100 families in the national and tribal languages of the families. The importance of stewardship of the filter was a critical part of training. To encourage a sense of pride and accountability to their community, family representatives agreed upon a monetary pledge each family could support. The groups decided to give their collected amount for the purchase of additional classroom desks. Families and students expressed their gratitude for being a steward of the Sawyer filter with dancing and singing.
The remaining 150 families received their personal household filters in July through the support of a US American friendship group traveling to Crossroads Springs Institute.