To pour a glass of water is something that many of us take for granted, we just go to the tap and fill it up. For many girls and women in Kenya an everyday thing like having access to water can be associated with extreme danger. This used to be true for Joyce Kennedy, 19, from Kenya.
This is Joyce Kenedy, 19 years old, from Tharaka, Nithi County, Kenya. Ten years ago almost nothing could grew in this area, and people were completely dependent on the rainy season. Lack of rain resulted in crops destroyed which lead to famine. To fetch water for her family Joyce used to walk several kilometers every day, which often meant dangerous walks in the evenings where she risked being vulnerable to sexual violence.
– Often when I went to fetch water men shouted after me and called me names. It made me scared and I didn’t feel safe. Constantly being exposed to this was very stressful, says Joyce.
A few years ago IAS built a water irrigation system in Tharaka where water is taken from a nearby river and distributed to 130 local farmers so that they can grow vegetables and fruits. The purpose of this was so the farmers would become self-sufficient and not dependent on rainy seasons. For Joyce and her family, it means that they receive water directly to their house from a water pipe.
– Now when we get water directly into the garden we are able to grow food to sell at the market. I also no longer need to be exposed to the risks that came with these walks, says Joyce.
IAS in Kenya
IAS has been working in Kenya since 1994 and currently has five projects in the country. The focus is implementing education, water, hygiene and sanitation, peace-prevention measures and relief aid in different parts of the country. This project was funded by the Swedish Mission Council l, Erikshjälpen, Linas Matkasse and Mockfjärds Fönster.
Text and photo: Rebecka Woods
Donate now to help us give more people access to clean water.
People who´s been trained in post-harvest grain handling in Rolngap village in Aweil, Northern Bahr El Ghazal
October 7, 2015 | Posted in Civil Society Development (CSD), Countries, Humanitarian intervention, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), Quality, South Sudan, Thematic areas | By Rebecka Woods
October 7th, 2015
Since December 2013, the conflict in South Sudan has devastated the lives of millions of South Sudanese and displaced more than 2.2 million people. IAS is on ground in Northern Bahr el Ghazal implementing a large development project on Life changing food security, water and community development. So far 23 000 have been reached but the goal is to help 25 000 people.
Over 90% of the people in South Sudan are engulfed in extreme poverty and major humanitarian consequences are widespread ; high rates of death, disease, and injuries, severe food insecurity, disrupted livelihoods and a major malnutrition crisis.
Rural communities in Northern Bahr el Ghazal are particularly vulnerable when it comes to food and water insecurity. Here is IAS helping people to grow food crops like sorghum, groundnuts and sesam.
-We want the communities to lead their own development process and therefore we train farmers on modern food production techniques.Farmers are trained on principles and practices in crop food production, post-harvest handling and storage of cereals and grain legumes, says Zaitun Ragota, Programme Manager IAS South Sudan.
-This training is very important because it equips the beneficiaries with knowledge that help in preventing or minimizing post-harvest crop losses, says Zaitun.
Improving hygiene and sanitation
Another component of the project is Water, Sanitaton and Hygiene (WASH) which includes new boreholes and construction of mini water yards. Each community who receives water are also educated in two levels of training. The first level is in hygiene and sanitation practices.
-Northern Bahr el Ghazal has a long history of communities practicing open defecation in respect to their cultural norms and beliefs. This results in bad sanitation and that diseases are spread. However, training in hygiene and sanitation has been very effective in changing the mindset of the communities, says Zaitun.
IAS has so far drilled 11 new boreholes, rehabilitated 20 broken boreholes, constructed 3 new mini water yards and constructed latrines in three schools.
Promote girls education
The second level of training is on common cross cutting issues which includes gender, early marriages, child protection, HIV/AIDS and girls education.
-Through trainings on cross cutting issues IAS creates awareness on the dangers of early marriages and through girls activities we advocate for girls to remain in school. An important aspect of this is access to water. Girls are the prime water collectors for the families and often have to walk many hours every day to collect water which gives them no time to attend school. But by reducing the walking distance to the water points girls return to school and finish their education.
Women, men and children are all very positive and excited to IAS interventions, says Zaitun.
-All have been actively involved in the implementation of this project and share the feeling of owning it together.
Text: Rebecka Woods
Photo: Zaitun Rogota
Water is the source of life and a basic human right. Still as many as 748 million people lack access to clean water. This week the global water conference World Water Week will take place in Stockholm between 23-28 of August. World Water Week is an important forum for water-related issues and IAS will participate in the conference and actively meet and discuss with collaborating partners and leaders.
The 2015 theme is Water for Development and the main discussion will be on the role of water and how water-related goals can be most effectively implemented.
IAS has during 25 years been working actively with water related issues and drilled more than 5 000 boreholes to meet basic needs of target communities. Today all our water programmes are framed within an IWRM (Integrated Water Resource Management) approach.
Access to clean water saves lives in many aspects. Below you can watch a video showing how IAS work to give as many people as possible access to clean water.
April 22th, 2015, Ethiopia
When the new IAS well was drilled in Idiola, Ethiopia, the life of Uka Golicha was completely changed.
Access to clean water save lives, in many aspects. One of them is of course on a health-related level; clean water reduces the risk of having water-borne diseases, like diarrhea, typhoid fever and cholera.
In Oromia/Borena region of Ethiopia, 700 kilometres south of the capital Addis Ababa and on the Ethiopian/Kenyan border, clean, fresh drinking water was difficult, if not impossible, to find – until IAS team came to drill.
‐ People travelled an average of four hours round trip in order to obtain water – water that is still not suitable for drinking. The significance of the newly drilled well in my community is great and I ́m so thankful, says Uka.
In a country where the average citizen earns approximately 1,100 Birr a month (the equivalent of $60), towns in this region that rely heavily on agriculture for their daily sustenance are in even more of a desperate situation. It is not just the basic necessities that are lacking in this area, such as clean water, electricity, sanitation, and roads. The lack of water also means the loss of their livelihoods.
Recognizing this incredible need, IAS is embarking on a holistic approach to transform the Oromia/Borena region.
Job creation for the women of Idilola, as well as methods that would help farmers in the region improve crop yield, are a few of the ideas IAS is considering to engage Oromia/Borena in a manner that will go beyond providing the basics and will transform lives.
April 16th, 2015, Sweden
IAS is expanding and we are happy to welcome Desiree Lyckelind, our new Head of Administration at the Head office in Stockholm.
Desiree, please tell us a bit about yourself.
– I´m married to Natanael and we have two children. Since I was little I have had a heart for Africa. My parents were missionaries in Ethiopia so I lived there for six years.
For the last six years I have been in charge of the administration in a larger congregation in Uppsala, coordinating the administration and also pulling a few strings when it comes to the congregation´s international work.
You have also been working with IAS in the past?
Yes, I have. During the year 2 000 I worked as a volunteer for IAS in Garissa, Kenya and between 2004-2006 I worked as Senior Administrator in Khartoum, for IAS in Sudan. It feels great to be back with IAS and have the privilege to work at the Head Office.
What do you hope to contribute to IAS work?
-I hope to use my experience to strengthen the administrative part of the office and will give my best to support the Human Resources Department. I know from experience that people in IAS are driven by compassion and are prepared to walk that extra mile to make a difference in peoples lives and I want to be a part of it.
Text & photo: Rebecka Woods
December 10th, 2014, Niger
A few weeks ago we wrote about our startup in Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries. We are pleased to announce that the first waterwell is now drilled and another four will be drilled before the end of 2014.
With a short rainy season and very few year-round surface water sources, the daily search for water is a top priority for the predominantly rural population in Niger.
– Usually women and girls bear the heavy burden to to fetch water. They often have to walk long distances, which is both hard and time-consuming. It also reduces their participation in educational and income generating activities, says Rune Cederholm, IAS Programme Manager & Acting Head of Programme Department.
Often the water is contaminated, it can even be deadly. In these instances, the women face an impossible choice, a certain death without water or possible death from illness.
– By drilling waterwells we both provide clean healthy water to the communities and also prevent these girls and women from alienation, says Rune Cederholm
IAS work in Niger has been running since November. The focus is on long-term solutions, including waterwell drilling and hygiene and sanitation training. The first waterwell well was drilled to a depth of 60 meter, in Sidi Koura, a village south of the capital Niamey. Another four wells will be drilled by the end of 2014.
-We are really happy to be able to bring life to these rural communities. Our work will also include equipping communities to dig their own latrines and to provide hygiene education and sanitation to reduce diseases caused by poor sanitation, says Rune Cederholm.
Text: Rebecka Woods
October 29,1014, Horn of Africa
More than 13 million people so far have been affected by the drought in the Horn of Africa. IAS is on ground distributing water, food and other necessities to 30,000 people in Ethiopia and Kenya. Thanks to this, many lives have been saved. The work is however far from completed.
The rain in March did not come which had led to severe consequences: harvests was destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people now lack basic necessities such as food and water.
– When the rain didn’t occur both humans and animals lacked water, which has led to the death of people and animals because of dehydration. The situation is serious and especially for women, children and elderly, says Ketema Kinfe, Country Director for IAS in Ethiopia.
Challenges delay the implementation work
The IAS team focus on distributing water, food and other supplies to the villages where the need is the greatest. However, they face several challenges on a daily basis.
– A problem is that electricity is often lost and it can take several hours before returning. Since the distribution of water depend on electricity it creates delays and we can’t hand out the water as fast as we would like, says Ketema.
Another challenge is the distance. There is no gas station in the villages, instead the teams must often drive long detours to refuel, which also causes a delay in the distribution of water.
Breaking a vicious circle
Women are the most likely to be responsible of fetching water and the drought forces them to walk long distances to the nearest well. Since they lack food the women return home exhausted and as a result they are not able to care for their children and give them the food they need. Often children are forced to leave school because they are needed at home.
– It becomes a vicious spiral. But by providing families with food and water, kids also can continue school, says Ketema.
IAS ambition is to target help where it is most needed. In order to quickly meet people’s needs for water IAS transport water to schools and hospitals with trucks. Even food packages are distributed to the most vulnerable areas. IAS also drill several wells in order to contribute to long-term solutions.
– We are also working hard to educate and create awareness about hygiene and sanitation in the villages to prevent infections and diseases, says Ketema.
Your help is needed
The situation is very serious and people need your help. If you want to participate and contribute, you can donate a gift and mark it with the “Horn of Africa”.
Thank you for your gift!
Text: Rebecka Woods
Photo: Håkan Björk