Tuesday, 14 January 2014

First Kenya visit of 2014 - By Ben Skelton

I’m about to travel out to Kenya to spend three weeks working with Dig Deep’s locally based staff. Here’s what we’ll be getting up to.

As soon as I land in Nairobi we’ll be meeting with local supporters and partners to plan our next round of school education project. Why is a water charity getting involved in education you might well ask?
Well, we know that making sure kids are washing their hands with soap at critical times and using toilet facilities can be just as important for health as making sure they have access to a clean water supply. However, teaching kids to do this is no easy task, especially if your school has only just got access to clean water and toilets.

This is why we are providing training for teachers in rural Kenya in the very best ways of getting these messages across to their students – often through using the power of fun, interactive games to help kids figure out the solutions themselves.

After these meetings in Nairobi its off to the rural communities where our projects take place. We’ll be monitoring the progress of a whole host of different projects – from a large scale deep well which will soon be providing water to a whole community, to simple interventions in schools involving hygienically capturing rainwater and building simple toilet blocks.

In doing this we will be working in partnership with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community groups who live and work in the communities we serve. Working with these partners is vital to the success of our projects. Not only do their staff and volunteers speak the local language(s) and understand their communities, they also bring other specialist knowledge to the table.

Just to give you an example, one of these partnerships is with the Olare Orok Motorogi Trust (OOMT) who work on the periphery of the Masai Mara. The vision of OOMT is to ensure the long-term conservation of the Maasai Mara ecosystem through empowering periphery communities to gain significant and tangible benefits from conservation.

Over the last three years we have worked with OOMT to support and improve existing community water projects and install rainwater harvesting in schools. OOMT are able to advise us on the best locations for new water projects to reduce human wildlife conflict by ensuring that herdsmen no longer have to take their cattle to water sources that are in areas inhabited by endangered animals such as lions and elephants.

Right, I need to get packing - we’ll be sending out video updates over the next few weeks so stay tuned!

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