February 19, 2024 (Public Communication and Media Relations)

Thousands of individuals now have access to water following the successful completion of a one-year drought emergency response program in which 15 boreholes were rehabilitated in Turkana South and Turkana North.
County Governments in collaboration with Peace Winds Japan, with funding from the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Japan through UNICEF Kenya, spearheaded the initiative.

In addition to the borehole rehabilitation efforts, the program distributed reusable pads for menstrual hygiene, water fetching and storage jerricans, water treatment aquatabs, and constructed toilet facilities in four schools within the project area. Moreover, water point management teams were trained to enhance the adoption of good governance practices.

Chief Officer David Maraka, during an inspection tour of the project, urged the management of the water points to consider acquiring borehole breakdown insurance services provided by Lodwar Caritas to safeguard against potential setbacks that may reverse the progress achieved.

Chief Officer Maraka emphasized, “We understand that Turkana is heavily reliant on boreholes, and any disruptions or mechanical issues with these boreholes significantly impact the residents. Through our collaboration with Peace Winds Japan, we successfully rehabilitated 15 boreholes, reconnecting more than 30,000 individuals to water access.”

The rehabilitation efforts included upgrading hand pumps to solar systems, replacing submersible pumps, adding solar panels, repairing storage and distribution tanks, and unclogging waterways to remove blockages in the supply system.

Acknowledging that Turkana possesses over 1000 boreholes that could sustainably provide water for various purposes, Chief Officer Maraka highlighted that a majority of them are non-functional due to breakdowns and mechanical issues.

Chief Officer Maraka commended Peace Winds Japan for their innovative approach to rehabilitating existing water systems, providing instant results, and reconnecting users to water supply without the need for drilling new boreholes.

County WASH coordinator for Peace Winds Japan, Trizabel Oliwa, said that the program was part of the UNICEF-led emergency drought response measure targeting vulnerable communities in the Horn of Africa negatively affected by climate change. “The intention was to increase access to water, improving general hygiene and sanitation,” she said.

Noting that all 15 boreholes had been rehabilitated as scheduled, she cited that the work began with thorough data from the county and sub-county-level water offices, and evidence-informed assessments of the areas to inform targeting. “Additional primary data was collected through intensive one-on-one conversations with key informants,” she explained.

Oliwa further divulged that the intervention included water quality checks, the issuance of assessment equipment to the subcounty water officers to facilitate repairs, and a software bit of training both the community and the beneficiary schools on WASH compliance and sustainability.

At Kanaodon, Lydia Ekaale, a young woman residing in the area, confirmed the positive impact of the intervention by recounting how they used to struggle walking more than five kilometers in search of water. “The Kanaodon project is a relief for us. As a community, we even benefited from water piping that has brought water to our doorsteps,” she said. Lydia also mentioned how beneficial the project is to their menstrual and general body hygiene.

A middle-aged resident of Kanaodon, Moses Ewoton narrated that for a long time, the area’s only source was the river Turkwell, which he described as unclean. The narrative changed in 2017 when the first borehole was drilled. However, the joy was short-lived after the borehole suffered disrepair, thus cutting out the people who had been connected to its supply lines.

“We now have more time for work, to attend to our farms, and to send our children to school.” Moses Ewoton explained.

A story similar to this is repeated in Nayane Ekalale site as explained by the area’s water supply chairperson.


13TH-14TH AUGUST 2024