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Mahali Mzuri

Mahali Mzuri: Dig Deep

This month we are very excited to bring you news of a project we worked closely on with Dig Deep Deep through our partnership with Whole World Water that will provide a community of over 1,000 people access to safe drinking water for the first time. The project is in the Olkuroto community, a small, remote neighbourhood in the Maasai region of south-west Kenya where each household has up to 20 family members. The families receive no government support and consequently there is no infrastructure in place such as roads, electricity, clean water or sanitation.

Dig Deep works with rural communities in Kenya to help them access safe water and sanitation. In Kenya, it is estimated that over 16.5 million people don’t have access to safe water and over 30 million people don’t have access to adequate sanitation. Dig Deep has been working with members of the Maasai community in Kenya for the past 6 years. In this time, the focus has been to build better partnerships with community leaders, build toilets and better sanitation facilities, train teachers and community health workers as well as providing them with sustainable and reliable waters sources.

Families from the Olkuroto community Photograph copyright Dig Deep
Families from the Olkuroto community
Photograph copyright Dig Deep

With the support of Virgin Limited Edition and Whole World Water, Dig Deep are busy building a rainwater harvesting system to serve the Olkuroto community. Due to the remote location of this community, the best solution has been to build a rainwater harvesting tank that collects the rainwater during the rainy season. This will mean that local families do not have to drink from the polluted reservoir and during the dry season, women and girls do not have to make the 15km round trip to collect water from other water sources.

A group of children playing near the village
Play time in the Olkuroto community
Photograph copyright Dig Deep

The location for the tank was decided earlier in the year. The construction of the tank itself began on the 17th April and was completed just over a month and a half later. This development consisted of digging a huge pit for the 500,000 litre tank to sit followed by the construction of the trough and first flush system – mechanisms that help keep the water clean and safe. The final stage was to build the tap stands where the community can access the water and install a chlorine dispenser as an extra precaution against harmful bacteria.

To help maintain the system, Dig Deep have been recruiting and training a Water Committee who will be responsible for the on-going maintenance and management of the rainwater harvesting system. They are looking to set up a water business where there will be a small payment from families to use the water and the Water Committee will use these funds to maintain the tank and fund repairs.

Six men sitting and a teacher standing start their training to join the Water Committee
Training gets underway for the new Water Committee
Photograph copyright Dig Deep

Through our collective support, the water system is expected to provide the community of 1,070 people access to clean safe drinking water for approximately the next 20 years. Currently, the UN estimates over 1 billion people don’t have access to clean and safe water, so while this project may be considered a small drop in the ocean, the knock-on effect this will have for the Olkuroto community will be life changing.