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Hope for the Maasai: Agricultural Initiatives

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Clean Water, Clear Future

Sustainability is crucial for clean water projects as it ensures that the project’s benefits are long-lasting and can be maintained over time. In 2019, ImpactHope committed to drilling a well in the Olkesumet Prayer Response Center. This water well will play a crucial role in providing the Maasai community with access to clean and safe drinking water and as a reliable source of water for irrigation, which is essential for agriculture. We are excited about Phase 3 of the project, which focuses on long-term agricultural solutions.

Read about Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project here.

Building the Well
Workers unloading pipes for the water well system. Water wells can be used for irrigation in agriculture in Kenya, allowing farmers to grow crops in areas that would otherwise be too dry.
Man Digging the Ground
The process of digging a well can be complex and require specialized equipment and expertise. It is important to ensure that the well is properly constructed to prevent contamination and to ensure that it can withstand the local climate and geology.
Cattle looking for water
Traditionally, the Maasai have raised cattle in a semi-nomadic manner, moving their herds to different grazing areas in search of fresh pasture. However, with the increasing human population and the need for land for agriculture and development, the Maasai have had to adapt to new forms of land use.

How do we aim to make the Water Well Project sustainable?

In terms of clean water projects, sustainability means that the project is designed to have a minimal environmental impact, is financially viable, and is socially acceptable and beneficial to the local community. This means that the project should not only provide clean water but also consider the long-term maintenance and management of the infrastructure. Additionally, sustainable clean water projects also consider the needs and capacities of the local community and involve them in the planning and implementation of the project. This ensures that the community is invested in the project and can take ownership of the infrastructure, which increases the chances of the project’s success in the long term.

“There is not much agriculture happening in this area, so we are excited to see this initiative bear fruit!”

Local Maasai Community Member Tweet

Making a water well project sustainable involves several key elements:

  • Community involvement: Involving the local community in the water well’s planning, construction, and maintenance can help ensure its long-term sustainability. Community members are more likely to take ownership of the project and ensure its proper maintenance.
  • Training and education: Providing training and education on the proper use and maintenance of the water well can help ensure its longevity. This may include training on how to fix minor repairs, maintain the pump, and sanitize the well correctly.
  • Regular maintenance: Regularly inspecting and maintaining the well and associated infrastructure, such as the pump and pipes, can help prevent breakdowns and ensure a steady supply of clean water.
  • Alternative water sources: The Maasai region is generally considered semi-arid, with low annual rainfall and high rainfall variability. Developing alternative water sources, such as rainwater harvesting through Sand Dams, can help provide water during drought or water scarcity.
  • Water management plan: Developing a water management plan with the community can help ensure the sustainable use of the well and equitable distribution of the water resources. A committee has been set up to make decisions regarding the implementation of the project.
  • Financing: Finding ways to finance the project and its maintenance can help ensure its long-term sustainability. The stakeholders have a committee to decide a fee for usage. This money will be reserved for repairs in the future.

How is a water well dug?

A water well project involves drilling a hole in the ground to access an underground water source. The hole is lined with a casing to prevent collapse and contamination. A pump is then installed to bring the water to the surface. The project may also include the construction of storage tanks, distribution systems, and sanitation facilities.

Woman celebrating the gushing stream of water
Woman celebrating the gushing stream of water.

A fence was installed for the security of the water well.

New water tanks were installed to store the pumped water.

An irrigation system is being installed for cultivation.

Powering progress with the sun!

Using solar energy to power the water pump provides a cost-effective, reliable, and sustainable solution for increasing access to clean water. Solar energy is free and abundant, which means that once the initial investment in the solar water pumping system is made, there are no ongoing fuel costs. This makes it a cost-effective solution for rural communities with limited access to electricity. The well in Kajiado is solar-powered! Solar energy powers the pump. When it’s sunny, it does a good job of filling the tanks with up to 20,000 litres within 6 to 8hrs.

Women typically come for water in the morning. The benefit to the community is evident when even in the middle of the day, all the animals, primarily goats and sheep, that line up can drink all to their heart’s content.

Agricultural Initiatives

The Olkusmet community has done a commendable job preparing for agriculture on 2 acres of land.  One part of the land is set for farming God’s way (a biblically based approach to conservation agriculture), and the other involves the traditional farming of vegetables, including kale or sukuma wiki, spinach, onions, and maize as a trial. They also have community volunteers to dig an underground pipe more than 700 meters long from the tank to the farm. The pipes were donated locally by a community friend.

The community is very responsible when it comes to the maintenance of the well, and the members contribute a small amount of money when they come for water. An instructor has temporarily volunteered to demonstrate and teach the community. If this trial is successful, the community hopes to employ two full-time workers to oversee the agricultural activities.

The Way Forward

We pray for CAD 10,000 to kickstart Phase 3! This phase will focus on long-term agricultural solutions in the hope that improvements in agricultural productivity will create social and economic ripple effects. This would include fencing, clearing the land, cultivation, procuring seeds, fertilizer, and tools, and building a storage house. We foresee a need of approximately CAD 26,000 to complete Phase 3!

The Maasai depend highly on rainfall for their livelihoods, as they rely on their cattle for food and income. Droughts can have severe consequences for the Maasai, as they can lead to the loss of livestock and reduced crop yields. This water well will play a crucial role in providing access to clean and safe drinking water and as a reliable source of water for irrigation, which is essential for agriculture. Additionally, the water well can improve sanitation and hygiene, reducing the spread of waterborne diseases. Overall, this water well will play a vital role in improving the overall health and well-being of the community.

Give the gift of clean water and livelihood: donate to the water well project today! Your donations will play a crucial role in helping to improve the lives of people in this community and can help to create a more sustainable and equitable society.

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