For the people of Kenya today, clean water and sanitation is often a luxury, rather than an expectation. Here are some challenges brought on by the crisis of water quality in Kenya today and what is being done to address them.
- Around 41 percent of Kenyans depend on potentially unsafe water sources, including ponds, shallow wells, and rivers. The other 59 percent of the country’s citizens rely on unimproved sanitation solutions.
- Finding clean drinking water is a challenge most common in rural areas of the country and in “urban slums.” This is because clean water in Kenya is not distributed fairly or evenly. Priority is given to planned urban areas and well-off rural communities that are able to pay for good quality water.
- Lack of water sanitization is also responsible for diseases that are highly preventable. More than 3,100 children die each year from diarrheal diseases.
- There are 55 public water sources in Kenya and only nine of them provide continuous water supply. According to an executive summary of Kenyan water sources by the UNDP in 2011, low-income households paid high prices for water of questionable quality from small-scale private water providers. “For two-thirds of households, expenditures on water is above the affordability threshold. And 57 percent of households consume below the water poverty line.”
- Women and girls are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of poor sanitation and limited water supply. Women in Kenya are confronted with abuse, assault and violence during their regular gathering-water chores. They are also often harassed when relieving themselves. Women are at a higher risk of contracting water-borne diseases, such as cholera and other infections. Pregnant women have contracted typhoid fever and cholera in hospitals, passing them along to their babies.
- Non-governmental organizations such as The Water Project have supplied woman in Kenya with access to clean water via new wells. Recently, this organization built a new well for the Bishop Sulumeti Girls Secondary Schools.
You can research organizations like The Water Project and donate to help continue their mission to improve water quality in Kenya.
– Melanie Snyder