By Ivy Muigai, Communications Specialist, World Vision Kenya
Life has changed for the better for Lily, a mother of 11, who lives in Bandaptai, Bomet County. This is because she can now give her children clean and safe water to drink.
She no longer worries about them contracting water borne diseases as she did in the past, given the state of water in her home area that is contaminated and unsafe for use.
Lily’s long held dream of providing clean drinking water to her family, was made possible through a partnership between World Vision Kenya and Procter & Gamble (P&G), which has enabled communities in Bandaptai to benefit from an innovative water purification technology.
The purifier, which comes in the form of a powder (packed in four-gramme sachets), is manufactured by P&G under its Children’s Safe Drinking Water (CSDW) programme.
In just 30 minutes, a single sachet can quickly turn ten litres of dirty and potentially deadly water into clean and safe drinkable water. It kills bacteria, viruses and other bugs that contaminate water. In addition, it helps in the removal of solid materials which are filtered out using a cloth before the water is consumed.
Lily is enjoying this water purification technology, which has enabled her to effectively treat water drawn from the contaminated Chekulo River in Bandaptai, before using it for drinking and other household activities such as cooking and cleaning dishes.
“Before we got these water purification sachets through World Vision, I used to make countless trips to the hospital to seek treatment for my children who suffered from frequent stomach aches. They would be diagnosed with typhoid and other water-borne diseases several times,” she says.
During each visit, the doctors would advise Lily to consider boiling drinking water. However, this solution was not sustainable as the cost of purchasing charcoal to perform the task was too high for the family.
“Even when we had some money and could afford the charcoal, the process of boiling large quantities of water then letting it cool before drinking it, was cumbersome and time consuming,” she says.
Today, her children, family and other members of her community have a different story to tell.
“Our work has been made easier. When we wake up in the morning, we treat the contaminated water fetched from the river and put it at a central place. Our children can access the water anytime during the day and they enjoy drinking it very much,” says Lily with a beaming smile.
Joan Tonui a World Vision Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) specialist who oversees the water purification project in Bandaptai, notes that the organisation is also empowering communities on the importance of proper hygiene and sanitation.
“The project has been impactful, transforming thousands of Kenyans by promoting hygiene and sanitation through clean water. In our last financial year, we gave over 5.7 million water purification sachets, reaching over 24000 households across the country, through our collaboration with P&G.” Joan shares.
A 2021 joint report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF indicated that sub-Saharan African countries like Kenya are experiencing the lowest rate of progress with regard to universal access to clean and safe water. According the report, only 54 percent of the continent’s population uses safe drinking water.
These figures mirror the situation in the country, especially in rural areas where an estimated 40 percent of households rely on non-improved sources of drinking water (including surface water, unprotected wells or springs) based on Government Statistics from the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS).
The water treatment sachets, which World Vision and P&G are enabling communities to access in Bandaptai among other rural areas in Kenya, have gone a long way in addressing this challenge. This has contributed greatly to a reduction in diarrhoea, typhoid, cholera, dysentery and other water-borne diseases that are adversely affect affected communities, especially children.
P&G usually partners with non-profit organisations such as World Vision to provide the sachets to rural areas where communities lack access to clean drinking water.