Being surprised by UPS and getting the opportunity to travel with Well Aware is a monumental moment for our organization. For anyone that might have missed out, UPS has a program called wishes delivered where they find community role models and help deliver their wish. Our wish was to provide the world with clean drinking water and once they heard about our cross country walk, they wanted to get involved. Through Well Aware, a nonprofit out Austin, Texas working on water security, UPS fully sponsored a project in our founder's name. This project is a rainwater collection that uses UV filtering to clean the water and will be installed in Kaliini's primary and high school. We just came back from Kenya, traveling with the Well Aware team to see the Kaliini project. Although it is not complete, it will be soon, and we were able to see other projects that provide insight on what it will soon look like.
In this area of Kenya, a majority of the year is spent in the dry season while about 3 months is the wet season. Many communities rely on rainwater collection or the rivers for water. While collecting rainwater, it is clear, but many things that we can not see can make anyone sick. Many homes have older, rusted roofs that collect dust, bird droppings, or insect larvae. When it rains, all of this will drain into their personal buckets. It can be cleaned by adding store-bought water chemicals or boiling the water for at least 5 minutes. Many if not all people we met do not do this because they think its clean because it's clear and the ways of cleaning it use up materials or money that can be used somewhere else. During the dry season, the rivers still have enough water for people to use but from the picture above, it is not the most desirable. Due to heavy rates of erosion, a lot of sediment sits flows through the rivers and sits on the bottom.
The best option for Kaliini primary and high school was to provide rainwater collection. They have been borrowing a 10,000-liter rainwater collection tank from a local hospital as a water source, but the hospital now wants it back. We met with a few teachers and the principal of the school and they informed us that the tank usually fills up within a day during the rainy season, but that amount of water is not enough to last them during the dry season when it is not raining. So Kaliini is currently faced with two issues that are easily solvable: Water Quantity and Quality. The proposed project will create two separate UV filter systems cleaning the water and also providing enough storage to last the whole year. If more water is needed and the anticipated storage is not enough, all that would need to be done is add another storage tank.
A lot of the materials are already present including the gutters and storage tanks. Water has already been collected but now the UV filtering system has to be completed. UV filtering uses very bright ultraviolet lights to kill any bacteria that is in the water. Word has spread very quickly about the clean water project and how these two schools will have clean water. Both schools are expecting higher enrollment in the upcoming school year because of this project. By looking at a Well Aware project for Mutaki primary school, we get a great image of what Kaliini will be looking once complete.
Mutaki is a primary school in Kenya that was having development issues which seemed to focus on water. Since it was becoming challenging to provide a clean environment for their students, enrollment was low and the community did not have any children in school. Before Well Aware began their project at the school, Mutaki primary had about 20 students and 2 classrooms. Once Well Aware provided a clean and safe environment, Mutaki primary has grown to 210 students and 5 classrooms. By providing clean water, more families feel compelled to have their children attend school. They have enough water to last them through the dry season and are looking to try and expand the amount of water they collect in hopes of giving to more of the community. What a big difference water can make. We are excited to see how Kaliini turns out and the difference UPS has made.