Vihiga: Water Project deepens its commitment to clean water in Kenya

The Water Project in Vihiga
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Water – also known as the source of life – is a significant component in the daily living of human beings. Access to safe and clean water has always been a challenge to many communities in Kenya.

Kenya’s access to clean water

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 59% of Kenyans have access to clean water while about 9.9 million people drink directly from contaminated surface water sources.

This has prompted humanitarian efforts to increase the level of clean water access and sanitation in the country. Western Kenya is among the benefiting regions from such initiatives by government and non-governmental organisations.

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In January 2023, Vihiga became the latest county in the region to incorporate clean water and sanitation initiative with The Water Project – a a U.S.-based non-profit organization.

Governor Wilber Ottichilo signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Water Project on January 20, 2022.

The deal was aimed at building sustainable water projects to bring clean, safe, and reliable water to the communities of Vihiga County.

“The signing of the MOU represents a continuation of the strong working relationship between Vihiga County Government and The Water Project, acknowledging our joint mission to provide water access to the communities of Vihiga.

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“This will ensure the long-term sustainability of WASH infrastructure, and to build and share knowledge among sector actors,” explained Emma Kelly, Program Manager at The Water Project.

The Water Project’s commitment in Western Kenya began over 12 years ago. The organization, leading and working through local staff and network partners, including Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO) and Friends of Timothy Foundation (FOTF), partners with communities to monitor and maintain nearly 1,300 water projects implemented across the region.

Clean water in Vihiga

The water projects have significantly impacted approximately 450,000 people.

 “Water is one of our top agendas. The partnership with The Water Project envisions implementing interventions to provide water and sanitation facilities to Vihiga residents,” said Governor Ottichilo.

The Water Project is working towards complete water and sanitation coverage in its service areas, beginning with Hamisi sub-county in Vihiga.

The organization implements water and sanitation programs via borehole drilling, well rehabilitation, the protection of natural springs, rainwater harvesting, the provision of sanitation facilities, and hygiene promotion for vulnerable communities and institutions.

In 2022, The Water Project completed a mapping exercise identifying 16,021 public and private water points, in various states of use, to understand the true scope of work needed to reach basic water coverage for all residents.

“We are excited and humbled to be able to continue and greatly deepen our commitment to the people of Western Kenya as we provide access to clean, safe and reliable water to those who today suffer needlessly without it,” said Peter Chasse, President and Founder of The Water Project.

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