Kenya Visit 2013
In July 2013 we visited the Mbita district of Kenya where three years ago a number of Aquafilters had been donated to schools and clinics to protect people from the dangers of water from Lake Victoria which surrounds the Mbita district. We wanted to check on the frequency of their use and any maintenance requirements. The contaminated waters of the lake can be lethal for the people who live in the surrounding villages. Most local people have no alternative but to use this water for their daily needs and very few have the means to treat it prior to use.
One of the poorest areas of Kenya
40% of the population unemployed
75% of the population live in extreme poverty- living on less than $US1 per day. (World Bank definition)
Life expectancy is considerably lower than the rest of Kenya; 41 years for women and 37 years for men in Mbita district compared to 55 years for women and 54 for men for Kenya (source:Med25 International).
Lake Victoria is vital to the survival of people in the district as not only is fishing their main source of income but they rely on the water for everything from bathing to irrigating crops.
Hope School cares for vulnerable young children living in extreme poverty, many of whom have lost one or both parents. The school provides the children with a meal a day and has a garden where they grow some of their food; now they have a clean water supply in the form of a Community and a Family Aquafilter providing them with 100 litres of clean water per week. The water is brought up from the lake by donkeys. The filters were very well maintained and had continued to work perfectly over the three years, thus greatly benefiting the pupils.
WASARIA PUBLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL, RUSINGA EAST
This is a day school for both boys and girls with about 450 pupils. Each day water is brought in from the Lake on the backs of donkeys. The school uses between 400 and 500 litres of water per week, filtered each day by using a Community Aquafilter. The filter has been used constantly over the last three years. Its use and maintenance is the responsibility of two prefects, who do an excellent job and the filter functions as new. The Headteacher is justly proud of his pupils’ work.
Viangenco Integrated Comprehensive Care Facility MBITA
The centre is a not for profit organisation consisting of a clinic, consulting room and a pharmacy as well as a palliative care service, a HIV outreach programme and supporting 130 orphaned children to attend school. Three years ago a Community Filter was donated to the centre allowing them to use 200 litres of clean water a week. The visit this year concluded that the filter was still working effectively and benefiting the patients and students within this facility.
NYAMUGA SPECIAL SCHOOL, RUSINGA EAST
A public mixed boarding school for physically challenged and health impaired children, from Mbita and neighbouring counties, established in 1990 as a children’s home, which became a school in 2008. It aims to provide a quality education to enable pupils to realise their full potential. It has a primary school attached. Its filter was used to provide 400-500 litres per week, after 3 years volumes had dropped, but this was easily remedied by a simple repair. Advice was given about the need for regular back flushing and cleaning.