Clean water: Machakos County, Kenya

Access to water is something we often take for granted, but if you’ve ever had your water cut off, you realise very quickly how important it is for everything. This is something that the people living in Machakos County in Kenya know very well. The land in Machakos is quite hilly, with orange soils and is classified as semi-arid. This means it is difficult to get water and rains occasionally fail. Much of the population are farmers and rely on the rains for their crops and income.

Team Hope is working with its local partner to help provide water for the communities there – not just for drinking but for washing, cooking and growing crops. One of the people who has benefitted from this has been Agnes.

“Before I got water I had many problems. We tried to cut trees to make charcoal and had to travel far to the towns to sell it,” says Agnes. Cutting down trees for charcoal is often a last resort for poor families and damages the environment.

However Agnes lives in an area that has been part of an integrated water project supported by Team Hope. Water pumps were put in so people could access water and fruit trees were planted to help protect the fragile soils and provide a healthy sustainable crop. Agnes was able to establish a nursery growing seedlings for the fruit trees which have now become so popular people from all over buy them.

One crop of seedlings sells for 60,000 Kenyan Shillings or about €500 and has helped put Agnes’ children through school. She’s also used the money to help buy clothes for her family and increase the number of meals they have in a day.

Through providing a good source of water, Agnes’ community not only has safe drinking water but also has a better income and a more hopeful future. Her eldest child in now in college, still supported by the money from her fruit trees.

Agnes smiles a broad smile “After we got water it has changed my life” she beams.