Clean water – but too late for five children.
Yesterday I received an email from a friend who lives in a village about ten kilometers from Ngoswani in south western Kenya. He told me of a serious outbreak of diarrheal disease in his area which had resulted in the deaths of five children in the past week. One of the children was his daughter. She was eighteen months old.
My friend has been working with the Africa Water Bank over the last twelve months to develop a clean water point for his village. He is a school teacher and had returned to his home after training to give something back to his community. He understood the importance of clean water and the need to manage it properly. He had helped set up a local water management committee – organized for two young people to be trained as water point managers – organized a hydro-geological survey which had identified a suitable site for drilling – and helped raise 25% of the monies required to develop the borehole and install a hand-pump. The water management committee had decided they would charge a small fee for water so the borehole could be properly maintained and the managers could be paid a small honorarium. They made arrangements for the borehole site to be fenced – for trees to be planted around the site – and for a trough for animals to be constructed outside of the fence. The borehole was to be constructed in April.
Everything possible had been done to ensure the borehole would succeed – but it was still too late for my friend’s daughter and four other children.
1.5 million children die each year from diarrheal diseases – mainly from drinking contaminated water. They die quietly, usually in remote locations and with only their families to mourn them. It does not have to be. The provision of clean drinking water to everyone in Africa is completely achievable.