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Off the beaten track

Just a Drop: Bringing clean water to the heart of Kenya

Hayes and Jarvis Blog Team February 19, 2015

Our latest Just a Drop Project has started

 
Water: it’s something we take for granted here in the UK, but for over 1.1 billion people across the world, access to clean and safe water does not exist. Almost two-fifths of the world’s population does not have access to adequate sanitation and one child dies every twenty seconds as a result of water-borne diseases*.  As part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability, Hayes and Jarvis has teamed up with water charity Just a Drop to sponsor water projects around the world. 
 
Our sixth project has now started in Kenya
 
In a small community in the Makueni County located just outside the Tsavo National Park, construction has started on a water jar to serve 114 children aged 14-18 at the Miangani Secondary School. This area is semi-arid and has long suffered from drought and famine. In order to attend school, the children are required to bring five litres of water each day, which provides enough for drinking and cooking throughout the day. Some of them have to walk in search of water in addition to their walk to school, which can reach up to five kilometres. Often the water collected can be unsafe and unsuitable for drinking, but if they do walk to a safe water source, they have to queue for hours, impacting their attendance and punctuality at school too. 
 
Kelly Railton, Head of Fundraising at Just a Drop tells us about her recent visit to Miangani Secondary School and what life is like for the children attending this school:
 
“These children will often rise at four or five in the morning so they have time to study before they walk for water on their way to school. After school they also need to collect water and by the time they are home, have eaten dinner and completed their chores, it can be around 11pm. Many of the children only get around five hours’ sleep a night, which has an impact on their concentration levels at school. Whilst these children face this ordeal each day, they dream of becoming doctors and teachers, their attitude towards life is simply inspiring!” 
 
Kelly tells us more about how the funds donated by Hayes and Jarvis are being used:
 
“Just a Drop is working with our local partner, Africa Sand Dam Foundation and the local self-help group and parents to construct a water jar that will collect water from rainwater harvesting from the school roof. Kenyan schools have large roof surface areas, ideal for capturing the short-lived but intense rainfall. School water tanks store this rainfall – providing a reliable, year round supply of clean drinking water, improving the health of school children and staff, but also school attendance. The tank will reduce the need for the children to fetch water before school, which will reduce absenteeism and means the students will be less tired whilst at school, enabling them to fulfil their potential. Alongside the construction of the water source the project will also deliver hygiene and sanitation training to the children - a crucial step in reducing disease.” 
 
Latest News
 
Work is now well under way to build the water jar, which you can see from these pictures. We estimate that work will be completed in two to three weeks’ time and then it’s just a matter of waiting for the first rain to fall, which is estimated to be in March. As you can imagine, we are all very excited and looking forward to this day. Some of the staff are due to travel out to Kenya in March, to visit the school and see the work for themselves, so we’ll continue to keep you updated on the project and of our travels out to Kenya. 
You can read more about all our projects in future editions of Footprints, and at hayesandjarvis.co.uk/responsibletourism
 
Hear more below about the impact this project will have on their lives, from the Principal of the school and one of the school children
 
Manastasye Muteye, Principal of Miangani Secondary School
“The children come to school with five litre jerry cans. Some walk up to 5km and it is quite a challenge for them. Clean water will have an impact – they will no longer have to walk with a five litre jerry can and they will arrive at school earlier to study, as walking without the jerry can will make it quicker for them to walk.”
 
Joyce, aged 16
“When the girls go fetching water they may face some dangers along the way. Also when you have to bring water to school sometimes you go to collect and there is no water, so we have to come to school without water, which is needed.”
 
*SOURCE: Just a Drop.