Project 2015-2016



This year outbreaks of cholera, with cases reported in eight Counties, have shown the continuing need for the work of Maji Salama and its Kenyan partner, Maji Zima. 

We have distributed more filters -  to communities in Mbita, Homabay County; Kiambiu slum in Nairobi County; Kawere, Arude, Oyamo and Ndeda Islands in Siaya County; and Saina in Kajiado County. Most of the filters, some of which are over 5 years old, continue to function well. We also obtained data from Ndeda Island Dispensary to show the positive impact on community health.


In June, 2015, the Maji Zima team made a follow up visit to Oyamo Island. The 2 family filters donated in September, 2014, serving 10 households, were well maintained and functioning at maximum capacity, producing 1 litre of safe drinking water per minute. An additional 20 Family filters, to serve 100 households, and 2 Community filters to benefit Oyamo Island Dispensary and Oyamo Island Primary School, were donated.

To facilitate data collection at Oyamo Island Dispensary, so as to identify the impact of our work on the local community, 4 dispensary staff were trained as members of our Water Education Teams (WETs). It was agreed that the dispensary would extract from its records data for the 3 months prior to the introduction of the filters, and once the filters had been in use for 6 months the community health workers would provide data about reported cases of water related illnesses.

Ndeda Island has 669 households with a population of approximately 4,000 people. The Island has one primary school and a dispensary.  In September, 2014, 3 households benefited from donations of Family filters to serve 15 households, and the follow up showed they remained in use without developing any mechanical problems.

A further 27 Family filters, to serve 135 households, and 1 Community filter each to Ndeda primary school and Ndeda Dispensary, were donated. It was agreed Community Health Workers trained as WETs would assist in data collection on water related diseases reported on the Island over the 6 months following introduction of the filters. Also the nursing officer in charge of Ndeda Island Dispensary would extract and submit data on the health situation for 3 months prior to introduction of the filters.

The visit to Kawere and Arude villages, which benefited from one Community filter each in September, 2014, found the filters were no longer working effectively, with that in Arude damaged beyond repair. The Arude Community filter was replaced and its 2 custodians trained as WETs. A Family filter was also provided to be shared between 5 families.

The filter at Kawere had a greatly reduced flow and was no longer producing clean water, so was replaced. The filter’s custodian was concerned about the huge number of people coming to use the filter, hence putting a lot of pressure on the filter. This may explain its mechanical problem. Unfortunately we did not have the resources to provide an additional filter.

Gombe village was a new beneficiary, receiving one Community and one Family filter. 2 villagers and the custodian of the Community filter were trained as WETs. As a way of raising funds for more filters, the trained WETs suggested they charge users a small sum (to be decided in a meeting of community members facilitated by the village leaders) for use of the filters.  They would keep records of community members using the community filter and dedicate 3 days a week to treating water for other community members and providing education on the filters.

In Mbita, Maji Zima visited all 8 primary schools that have benefited from Community filters since 2011. Unfortunately, in 3 of the schools, either the filters had not been used recently or were damaged beyond repair and so were removed.

The others showed:

Mercy Support Education Centre received a Community filter from Development Direct in 2011. It was functioning properly, though a small leak had to be repaired and it needed a thorough cleaning.

Nyamuga Small Home for Physically Challenged Children proved an outstanding example of proper use and care of the filter. The school has had a Community filter since 2011, it is well maintained and continues to serve 156 physically challenged pupils and their 10 teachers. The assistant head teacher and 11 pupils were trained as WETs.


Nyasumbi primary school with 110 pupils, 52 children at early childhood development level, and 11 teachers received a Community filter in March 2014. Although it had been functioning to its maximum capacity, a problem with its pump was successfully fixed and it was converted to the new version. 3 teachers, including the school head teacher, and 5 pupils were trained as WETs. 


Hope Special School for the Disabled and Mentally Challenged Children currently has 8 teachers and 55 pupils. It was among the very first beneficiaries of the original versions of both community and family filters in Mbita in 2011 (through Development Direct). All filters were well maintained and functioning at full capacity.


It was noted that in all the primary schools using the Community filters, no child had contracted cholera nor had there been any cases of water related illnesses since September 2014, despite the on-going cholera outbreak in Homabay County.


In July, 2015, we piloted a project in Kajaido County at Saina primary school, a mixed day school with 360 pupils, in Kajiado County, where pupils had reported cases of stomach pains and diarrhoea believed to be from consuming contaminated water. The school and community depend on boreholes constructed close to open pit latrines. When it rains some pit latrines drain into the boreholes. The day long training involved 14 parents, 1 teacher and 12 pupils, 2 Girl Child Network staff and 3 Maji Zima staff, on the use and maintenance of the Community filter and training of 14 parents on the use and maintenance of the Family filter.

The trained pupils will then train other pupils on use of the Community filter while the parents would each share the Family filter with 4 neighbouring households, as well as sharing information and knowledge of the filters. This approach would benefit 56 households, of approximately 336 individuals, and 360 pupils of the school. The school was to provide data concerning pupil health pre and post filter donation but to date that information has not been forthcoming.

Unfortunately the project in Kiambiu slum in Nairobi encountered difficulty in October 2015 when the Usafi Youth Group, which had implemented the Maji Salama Kijijini Project since September 2014, encountered internal financial management difficulties. This resulted in Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company disconnecting the water supply to the 5 water kiosks which used Community filters and were managed by the Group. Fortunately Nairobi City Council initiated a piped water project and some households have been connected to a fairly cheap piped water system. Maji Zima withdrew all 5 Community filters and placed them in primary schools in the area. The Family filters distributed throughout the Kiambiu community continue to be used by the community.

Filters have also been supplied to other charities to assist them with their work with communities in Kenya. For example, 43 Family filters were provided to the Roll Out the Barrel team, along with training in their use and maintenance. Through Maji Zima, we also continue to provide support and maintenance of filters that have been donated by other charities.

As our partner, Maji Zima had launched Giving Thursday to raise funds in Kenya, in November 2015 we set up a BT MyDonate fundraising site and raised some £5,000 through emails to potential personal donors. That sum covers the cost of a pallet of filters, inspection, customs and transportation costs.



A link was made with the East Africa Womens League in Kilifi County and demonstrations of the filters were carried out for League members, as well as public health officials at Gede and Malindi clinics. As a result the public health officers introduced the Maji Zima team to the fishing community at Magarini where they had identified a serious need for filters, because the communities there consume ‘green’ water from unprotected wells, polluted rivers and pans. With the help of the Womens League we hope to be able to supply filters to these communities in the foreseeable future by individuals sponsoring a household.


Given our limited resources but in order to maximize the distribution of filters, we now ask communities to find part of the cost from their own resources or through sponsorship or corporate donors. We are now talking to communities about a matched funding arrangement.

We also need to put more pressure on institutional recipients of filters to meet their promises to collect data showing the impact of the project on our beneficiaries.

The data supplied by Ndeda Island Dispensary in February 2016 is very encouraging. Since the filters were provided in June 2015 there have been no cases of Typhoid and cases of diarrhoea in those aged over 5 years has significantly reduced, as the table below shows.

Click to Enlarge
Ndeda Island Data on Water Related Illnesses