Samburu District in Kenya has suffered through years of drought, making life very difficult for local villages. Samburu is the second poorest district in the country, with 83 percent of the population living below the poverty line. Lack of water forces many families to migrate with their livestock to far-off places as they fight to survive. In 2002, the Government of Kenya announced free primary education to all citizens, however though 4,500 children in Samburu are eligible, only 1,500 attend because their families move around so much to find water.
A recent survey in Samburu1 indicates that 89 percent of residents consume untreated water and 62.1 percent draw their water from unprotected water sources. The trekking distance to water, according to a long rains assessment report in August 2010, ranges from 2.5 to 5 miles on average. The travel time to drinking water was estimated to be almost 1.5 hours on average2.
Through funding from our partner Giving Water, International Medical Corps is working in cooperation with the Ministries of Water and Education to provide access to safe water to school children in Samburu. The project will increase water availability in six vulnerable schools thereby decreasing the chance children and their families will have to migrate. Through this project, we are:
- Constructing roof water catchments in six schools.
- Providing water tanks in six schools and installing water gutters to help feed the tanks with rainwater.
- Protecting and equipping two wells.
International Medical Corps is also in the process of developing water user committees. Community leaders have been identified to lead the committees, which will work to facilitate responses to any issues that may arise following the handover of the projects to the schools.