Water scarcity or lack of water at all, threatens health and development of communities. Such communities are constrained even economically as what little income they have must be used to secure water.
Kahondzi is a woman who was eight months pregnant and gave birth on her way while searching for water. This was an overwhelming situation. What if there was no one nearby to help? She could have lost her child’s life and hers too.
In Garashi, we’ve witnessed dry seasons for a long time. Women and children have carried this burden for so long, walking long distances in high temperatures searching for water. It is a big challenge for pregnant women, especially those who are almost at their due date.
When water is scarce, lactating and nursing mothers are at risk in an unhygienic environment; this can increase infant mortality. A new water supply at our Permaculture Training Centre will help to observe proper hygiene practices.
Our children miss classes more often to fetch water. They walk a distance that takes 2 to 3 hours – by the time they reach home, they are late for school. This has affected them physically, emotionally and mentally. By having water at our Permaculture Training Centre, it will give new hope and a bright future by making their dreams come true.
There’s also a safety risk from wild animals and other people when walking long distances without protection. With water in our community it will eliminate those risks.
It’s a right for every human being to get access to clean water, but in Garashi it’s a privilege. In other places, people take 3 to 4 days to have a shower. The little they have, they need to spend to the maximum. Having water in our community will help people to stay physically healthy and prevent diseases caused by lack of adequate water, sanitation and hygiene.
At the PTC we have saplings and trees which need a lot of water for irrigation. Water is vital to plant growth and development. For now we are buying water monthly which is expensive.
Having water at the PTC will help people in our community by reducing the strain on the bodies of women and children who carry heavy water containers while walking for hours every day to collect water for their families.
There is an organisation which came up to construct something like a pond. It has no inlet or outlet. When it rains water is collected in that pond to help the community. It is not dependable, water dries up during the dry season. Since it is the only source of water around, human beings and animals share the same pond. Some animals help themselves to the water, making it unclean for human consumption, which has resulted in waterborne diseases like diarrhoea,
To solve these problems we had discussions on how we can help people from our community. Eva, Head of Kenya Operations and Charles, Community Liaison Officer, had a conversation with the World Vision Organisation who had run a local water project and had handed the running of the project within the community to the Islamic Relief Organisation.
Charles talked to the village elder about having a new water pipe laid from the Islamic Relief Organisation to our Permaculture Training Centre, and the elder wrote a proposal to the community committee for approval.
People in the Garashi community are in dire need of clean water. Putting a smile on someone’s face is worthy and enough reason to be happy. Through Word Forest, all this will be achieved once water is connected at the PTC.
It is in this regard that the Garashi community humbly appeal for assistance to help our community access clean and affordable water.
Juliet Anyanza and the Kenya Team