Currently Dig Deep is a young, strong, developing organisation which makes it a very exciting place of work. Being the only international member of staff permanently based on the ground in Kenya it is for me to spend time living with communities in which we work, in their schools and villages to build long lasting links with these people and the organisation. It is my task to encourage and engage the local people, at the household level to drive our projects in order to reach the most sustainable and appropriate solution to their water and energy needs. My role is to guide the community through the processes of project planning, community fundraising, implementation and construction and crucially, monitoring and evaluation.
The wide range of technology options Dig Deep consider to relieve the challenges faced by rural Kenyan communities ensures that the communities benefit from the most appropriate solutions. Dig Deep work to communicate sufficient information on different project infrastructure options or water supply sources so that the community are able to make an informed decision that coupled with our experience and advice leads to the optimum solution.
To date Dig Deep have carried out many different types of water source supplies and considers each community as a case by case. Rainwater Harvesting, Filtration, Boreholes, and Shallow wells are all types of water supply that we have developed in partnership with the community. Together we are planning to implement a shallow borehole and spring catchment project in the future coupled with sanitation provisions and hygiene promotion.
My academic background as an engineer assists the technical aspects of project planning and comes in to play to carry out calculations to size pipe distribution networks, design flow rates and tank elevations amongst other things. Using land surveying techniques that I work with both literate and illiterate community volunteers to implement, we plan the project very precisely to be certain that the investment we make using both our donor’s money as well as the money contributed by the community will allow the system to operate in the way it is expected to.
A lot of my interaction with the communities are through an elected board of members of a Water/Project Committee, and I speak through volunteer interpreters who live at the sites of our projects, however I am currently undergoing Swahili language training every week to strengthen my interactions with project beneficiaries, contractors and suppliers.
The scope of my work is very diverse and is difficult to summarise in one blog post, so I hope to provide better insight by regularly posting to discuss what is happening on the ground out here in Kenya.