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A Watershed Moment – Narong’ore Community in Northern Kenya

24 July 2013 - 9:56am
| by Joss

Words by Violet Ruria, our Programme Advisor for Sustainable Livelihood Development

Narong’ore Village is in Turkana County in dry, arid Northern Kenya. The community suffers from occasional perennial shortage of water mainly due to the semi-arid conditions that prevail there. However the situation has worsened due to changing climatic conditions over the last few years. To access water, women and children would have to dig holes 3-5 feet below the surface along dry river beds. However with increased drought, the women have to dig deeper and walk over 4 kilometres before they can obtain water. This would take more than two hours just to collect 20 litres of the water. When they obtained the water, it was coloured and not safe for domestic use.

A man collects water for drinking in a river bed near Narong'ore

During acute droughts, The Salvation Army provided water to this community through water tracking projects. This proved to be an unsustainable provision of water due to the distances involved and the poor conditions of the roads. After many participatory meetings with the community, the need to provide a more lasting and sustainable water solution was discussed and agreed.

The Assistant Chief and DO Major Masaka address the community meeting at Narong'ore

A bore hole has now been successfully drilled and fitted with a pump which now provides a reliable source of clean and safe water for drinking and cooking. This has been possible as the community members brought stones, sand and carried the construction materials on their heads and backs to the construction site. The community also provided close supervision of the borehole drilling process. Support from two donors also complemented the community’s effort towards making this project a success.

Quotes from the community

Akalaptan Lopeyok, a lady from the village, said:

“I no longer need to spend half the morning going to collect coloured water from the lagers (dry riverbeds). I now spend the time doing other useful home chores such as weaving mats for sale which brings some income for the family. I thank God and donor for this miracle!”

Mr. Esokon, a pastor to a local church in Narong’ore community, said:

“We used to worry when girls went to fetch water 4 kilometres away in the riverbeds through bushes because they can easily be abused. That is no longer an issue. They now go to school and learn.”

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