“In the past we used to fetch water on a daily basis. In fact, it had not occurred to us that we could save so much time by just increasing storage capacity. But thanks to JHC because after a sensitization and capacity building meeting at Makuti Villas our eyes were opened. We are now an enlightened lot advocating for water retention capacity as well as water re-usage.”
Patricia Mijiua, a member of Ushirikiano women group in Kilifi, has been in the forefront advocating for water retention and water re-usage in Mkoroshoni (Kilifi North sub-county). At its formative phase in 2017, the 20-member women group focused mainly on contribution of Ksh.50 on a weekly basis (Tuesday’s) to cater for purchasing of foodstuffs to all its members in a merry-go-around approach. These went on for a year until Ms. Mijiua attended a project entry buy-in meetings and trainings organized by JHC in February to March 2018, where the participants discussed issues on water access, management and conservation.
Entry-Point Meetings and Trainings included gaps assessment on climate change & water-access, and water dialogue for women. Viewing what was gained as valuable knowledge and carrying the slogan of ‘each-one teach-one’, Ms. Mijiua spread the knowledge to her fellow women in the group. The women embraced the message on increasing their water retention capacity at the household level through woman to woman talk on how to deal with water-shortage and water access to their household and loved ones. At the beginning, they decided to increase their contribution to Ksh. 100 so that the amount could cater for food stuffs and 20 liters storage containers. In the rotational basis (such as table-banking), all the members received 10 storage containers with a capacity of holding 20 liters each.
Thus, all of them were able to increase their household storage capacity to 200 liters. After the first round, they resorted to continue with buying two-50 liters storage container for each member, increasing their storage by another 100 liters. It is from the success of the second round that the members went on with their contribution (Ksh. 100) to purchase storage containers with holding capacity of 210 liters. So far 9 out of the 20 women have received the containers in a rotational basis. Of the 20 women 3 out of 20 have taken loans from women-focused lending institutions to purchase 4000 liters storage tanks as well as fitting their houses with gutters to collect and harvest rain-water.
As a result of Ms. Mijiua’s knowledge sharing with her fellow members, they now reap the benefits of increased water retention capacity. For example, Ms. Mijiua’s storage containers are able to sustain her household for 3 months when schools are open and one and half-months during schools are closed. This is because during the school holiday her children are home and so the household tend to use more water than when the children are in school. Before increasing her water storage from 10 containers (of 20 liters) to 75 containers as well as those garnered from the merry-go-around distribution of containers from the Ushirikiano women group, Ms. Mijiua used to cover 2km (to and fro) on a daily basis to fetch water from a borehole in the village. Since she can stay for 2 months or 3 months without covering long distances to fetch water, Ms. Mijiua uses this valuable time to (i) vend her wares in Charuaymai to the food kiosk sellers on the roadside; (ii) attend church meetings at St. Patrick’s Church in Kilifi; (iii) make detergents for sale; (iv) baby sit her grandson; (v) assist her foster children with schoolwork.