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In the picturesque landscapes of Kenya, a silent crisis lurks affecting millions: a stark scarcity of clean drinking water. But while many might give up, one NGO is digging deeper to draw hope from the arid ground.

The persistent lack of access to potable water in Kenya carries significant repercussions, particularly for the country’s education sector. Studies have shown that students, often forced to seek water for their families, are dropping out of school or underperforming academically. Moreover, there has been a noted increase in waterborne diseases and heightened security risks for children attending school. The current National Education Sector Plan for Kenya underscores this issue, asserting that “the availability of clean water, promotion of handwashing, and proper sanitation in pre-schools positively impacts child health, thus preventing water-related diseases and infections.”

Every Drop Counts

What the Global North often takes for granted is a daily challenge for many Kenyans. Large swathes of the country are dry and hot, and climate change is shortening the already infrequent rainy seasons. Some regions only receive rain twice a year. As quickly as it arrives, the rain vanishes, and rivers run dry. In rural areas, residents often dig into the riverbed to collect any remaining water – a desperate act that yields only contaminated water, spreading diseases such as amoebic dysentery and cholera. The dread of finding no water at all is an ever-present specter, with dehydration, headaches, and concentration problems as constant companions. And even when water is available, it is often a long distance away. Women and children can carry no more than thirty liters a day – a meager quantity that must suffice for a large family’s drinking, washing, and cooking needs.

Despite significant strides in water provision over recent decades, current statistics indicate that about 40 to 50 percent of Kenya’s population still live without access to clean drinking water.

The British NGO, WellBoring, has undertaken a Herculean task: to combat this water scarcity with remarkable success. Since 2015, WellBoring has drilled 199 wells across eight different Kenyan counties, bringing vital water supplies to numerous communities and schools. They operate without a cumbersome administrative structure, ensuring that nearly every donated euro goes directly into local well construction. Furthermore, WellBoring doesn’t stop at drilling; they also train communities in maintenance and sustainable management of these wells.

“Water is not just a fundamental right but the cornerstone of a better life,” asserts Benjamin Koyoo, the passionate Director of WellBoring Groundwater in Kenya. “Our commitment is to ensure that every child in Kenya, and indeed all of Africa, has easier access to clean water.”

The success of WellBoring is self-evident. Each month, the organization receives around 35 requests for new well projects, highlighting both the urgency of the water crisis and the unwavering resolve of this NGO.

WellBoring’s impact extends beyond simply providing wells. Schools benefiting from their initiatives report an impressive 80% increase in student retention and noticeable academic advancements.

“With access to water, schools and surrounding communities can cultivate gardens, which bolsters nutrition and generates income for the community,” shares Benjamin Koyo.

The battle against Kenya’s water shortage is far from over. In an era where global cooperation and innovation are more necessary than ever, WellBoring exemplifies how to tackle the challenges posed by climate change together. While not everyone can drill a well, anyone can support those who do.

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Benjamin Koyoo illustrates the process, detailing that boreholes must be drilled 40 to 100 meters deep, depending on the aquifer’s depth, to successfully access groundwater.
Water transforms everything, echoing the profound truth that water is indeed the essence of life. Notably, schools equipped with wells see an absenteeism rate reduction of about 30 percent, underscoring water’s vital role in education.
Women returning from a river in rural Kenya, carrying jerry cans with water, amidst a landscape of natural beauty yet challenged by water contamination issues.
Especially in rural areas, communities often fetch their daily water from ponds and polluted rivers, carrying it for kilometers in yellow jerry cans. This reality highlights that the battle against water shortage in Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa is far from over.