Kenya: Osmosis system supplies communities with water
Berlin / Nairobi, 02 July 2021
The Turkana region in the northwest of Kenya is one of the poorest regions in the country. Traditionally, the people here live from keeping cattle. But due to climatic changes, the survival of the animals and the food security of the people is at risk, and they are now increasingly relying on agriculture. But there is a lack of knowledge and, above all, of water. Johanniter and its partner AICHM support them in overcoming these obstacles.
Akai Loroi is 45 years old and lives in the community of Nasinyono. Like many other people, she lives from farming and keeping cattle. But often prolonged droughts pose great challenges for the single mother of five children. Then she has to fetch water for her family and animals from the Kotome pond 35 kilometres away. A journey that takes days to ensure survival.
Lack of food due to droughts
Akai Loroi is just one example of how people in Turkana struggle to survive every day. 94 percent of the population live in poverty. Long periods of drought often make it impossible to grow crops. When it finally rains, the dried-out soil causes flooding. Such a situation favoured a locust infestation in 2019, which destroyed the harvests and thus the food supply of many people. Hunger and malnutrition occur in large parts of the region.
Water for a healthier life
To ensure people's survival, secure access to water is crucial. Therefore, our local partner AICHM is installing a borehole that reaches the groundwater at a depth of about 300 metres. However, as this water contains salt and is therefore undrinkable, we are building a so-called reverse osmosis system that frees the water from salt and makes it drinkable. With the help of two water dispensers, we supply up to 10,000 people with drinking water. This way, we improve not only the nutrition but also the hygiene of the community. Diseases can be prevented and people live a healthier life. Responsible persons are trained in the use of the system and the water dispensers to ensure a long and sustainable use.
In addition, in the joint project we provide the community with agricultural tools and improved seeds. This way, we can ensure that the families receive a good and more diverse harvest at least once a year. This alleviates hunger in the long term.
Akai Loroi is grateful for the support. In the past, she regularly had to travel to the distant town of Kakuma to take on occasional jobs in order to secure food for her children. Akai is confident that "this nightmare" will soon no longer be necessary thanks to the project measures and that her family will no longer have to be without her for weeks.
Tree of Life: The Moringa Tree
Another aspect of improving people's nutrition is planting the moringa tree. It needs little water and grows very quickly. Its leaves contain all important nutrients and due to its high iron content, it can fundamentally improve the nutrition and thus the health of pregnant women and children. Together with AICHM, we are investing in the construction of two mills, thus enabling the enrichment of local food with moringa. To increase the acceptance and so the use of this new plant in the community, young women and mothers educate people about it as "agents of change". In this way, we contribute to reducing the traditionally existing gender inequality and support the young women in gradually freeing themselves from traditional roles and taking on more responsibility.