Sunday, April 20, 2008


Greetings from Kenya!

I am happy to update you all on the Student Movement for Real Change’s water and sanitation project in Kayafungo, Kenya and also on my life here in Kenya! We arrived here at the start of April, and there is much to report. For a summary of what we have been up to, read this post. If you're interested in way too many details, the other posts here are for you.

Now is a critical time for Kenya. The two major political parties recently agreed on a cabinet, a crucial step for power-sharing. People here and international observers expressed concern that the power sharing agreement would unravel if President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga could not agree on a cabinet. The overwhelming sentiment among our Kenyan friends is that both parties need to put this power struggle behind them and let Kenya continue on its path. The reaction to the joint cabinet is mixed: many are frustrated that it is large and without much rhyme or reason, but many are just happy that the parties agreed on something!

Despite the political uncertainty, we have had a productive start to our trip. The government is currently conducting an engineering survey for a critical pipeline that will supply water for our project. Our proposal is to build two distribution pipelines off of a large tank that will serve 43,000 people in the Kayafungo community. In order to do so, the government must ensure a reliable supply of water to the tank. It is therefore very encouraging that the government is completing this survey! We will keep you updated on its progress. We have met with all the major players involved and everyone is committed to making this project successful.

The other aspect of our project is sanitation improvement. Here, our focus is on health promotion workshops and latrine and hand-washing station construction. We visited the community las week to meet with the leaders and to begin deciding who will become the local sanitation experts through our train-the-trainer workshops. It was wonderful to see everyone and their enthusiasm to participate!

The rainy season is late in coming this year, and the Kayafungo community is suffering as a result. Water pans and dams are drying, and everywhere we went there were young girls and their mothers walking dry roads to fetch water. They are desperate for clean water, and we hope that our sanitation training and latrine construction will help ease the health burden until the government completes their critical pipeline.

Chagua amani (choose peace – a slogan of Kenya),


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