Transformation of communities in Garissa through water facilities

Published January 30, 2015 by David Mudachi

The Swiss Ambassador to Kenya, Jacques Pitteloud, hands over project documentation to Garissa's Deputy Governor, Honorable Abdullahi Hussein.

Not so long ago, communities in the Laqdera district of Garissa County, Kenya, had to walk long distances and then dig deep holes into the ground to access clean water. In addition to the hardship of traveling long distances, the deep holes posed safety hazards to small children and animals who could easily fall into them.

But today, things are different. Over a 12-month period, Adeso, with funding from the Swiss Development Cooperation, worked with communities in Jangu, Eldere, Garse and Suldere villages to construct four subsurface dams, six shallow wells, and eight ventilated latrines.

The project – dubbed Water for Livestock – sought to improve water access using low water harvesting techniques. The project also trained community members on water and rangeland resource management and on the need to establish by-laws to govern and protect resources. The trainings helped ensure that communities in the four villages would be able to sustain and manage the water facilities for years to come, and build on the project’s achievements to further improve water resources.

The project culminated in a colorful handing over ceremony held on 20th January 2015, when the Swiss Ambassador to Kenya, Jacques Pitteloud, and representatives of Adeso handed over the infrastructure the Deputy Governor of Garissa, Hon Abdullahi Hussein, who received it on behalf of the community.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Pitteloud commended the community members for their acceptance of the project and their contribution towards its success. He also assured of the Swiss government’s continued support for development projects such as these and other existing partnerships in Garissa County.

At the event, men and women from the communities performed traditional dances and expressed their sincerer appreciation for the water infrastructures developed. The village Chief honored Mr. Pitteloud, with a traditional headscarf and shawl.

The exceptional success of the project is a clear indication of how low water harvesting and retention techniques can make a significant difference in improving access to water in arid and semi-arid lands. The project also demonstrates how much communities can benefit when such projects are owned within and supported by various stakeholders.