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
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
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
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.
“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
“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