Working to provide clean water in Kenya
Families have to travel miles to wells for clean water
In Kenya, clean, drinkable water is a scarce commodity. Many families are forced to walk miles in order to fetch water from existing wells. In both rural and urban areas, people are forced to walk long distances to collect water from rivers, streams or wells. According to the World Water Organization, over 80 percent of the country's population of 40 million has no access to clean water.
Most Kenyans have to cling to what little water they have for cooking, and forego other things like washing. 'Bathing and washing are a problem. We go even for three days without having a shower, because water is expensive. In fact, more expensive than food,' one villager says.
Fighting and quarrels at water points are frequent as women, men, children and animals battle for what little water available. Women who stay out late fetching water risk getting raped.
"Lack of water in Kenya is associated with the high mortality rate among children under five years old, which is primarily due to waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, malaria and amoebic dysentery. Contamination from human and livestock waste also causes water-related diseases," Dr. Joram Mwangi at Eldoret's Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital says.
Most Kenyans have to cling to what little water they have for cooking, and forego other things like washing. "Bathing and washing are a problem. We go even for three days without having a shower, because water is expensive. In fact, more expensive than food," one villager says.
Ironically, Lake Victoria is the second largest fresh water lake in the world.
The Ministry of Water and Irrigation coupled with the government have been widely blamed for failing to address the problem by adopting policies to provide clean water.
"The government should harvest rainwater, which goes to waste during rainy season, and use it for domestic and agricultural purposes," Dr Martin Keya, who teaches conservation at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology says.
"It should also conserve its water towers, which are eroded daily, and discourage subdivision of land which depletes the soil and encourages population to move into forests."
Keya strongly suggests that the Kenyan government should train nomadic people in irrigation, provide them with farm inputs like fertilizer and seeds to embrace agriculture, and work with non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations and other self-help groups to dig boreholes across the country to address the problem.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Kenya, water conservation, drought, livestock
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