News | Basics Needs & Social Entrepreneurship 27.11.2015

Safe drinking water for Pope and Community

© Siemens Stiftung

The Pope and a humble community project in Nairobi’s Kangemi slum on Friday sent a strong global message about access to safe drinking water.

Water for Pope Francis’ visit to the St Joseph’s Catholic Parish was provided by the Kangemi Resource Centre (KRC) in bottles featuring the Pope’s image.

The Pope says access to safe drinking water is a basic and universal human right. Speaking in front of 1,200 official representatives of 11 slums who gathered in Kangemi, he said it was essential to human survival and is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. “Our world has a grave social debt to the poor who lack access to drinking water.”

He asked his audience to commit themselves to ensuring every family has access to drinking water, as well as dignified housing, a toilet and reliable sources of energy.

It is estimated that over 70% of people in Kangemi have no reliable access to safe drinking water, which reflects the situation in many parts of Kenya.

This is being addressed in Kangemi and other areas by the ambitious Safe Water Enterprise programme developed by the Siemens Stiftung (foundation) and SkyJuice Foundation. Safe Water Enterprises are community-based water kiosks and social enterprises that are run by local partners such as the KRC.

“We are proud to welcome the Pope in Kangemi and to provide the drinking water for the occasion. This is a great recognition of our work,” says KRC founder Alix d’Ansembourg.  

One of the beneficiaries of the project is Kangemi resident Elizabeth Sanyisa. “Other waters have germs but this water is safe and it is clean for my family,” she said.

The KRC Safe Water Enterprise was commissioned in November 2013. Since then, around 200 households, about 10 community institutions and more than 50 schools have been provided daily with safe drinking water.

“We are proud to serve water to our Pope and to our community,” said Father Callistus Jeje at the KRC. “One of the great challenges in slum situations is access to clean water and people will see the value of water that even the Pope is able to use.”

The work of the KRC and the Siemens Stiftung is in line with the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agreed by heads of state at the United Nations in September 2015. Goal Six calls for access for all to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030, improved water quality, and strengthening of local community participation in water management.

“The Pope’s visit to Kangemi is giving initiatives like ours great recognition for practical and effective development action, and the importance of providing safe drinking water,” says Rolf Huber, Managing Director of the Siemens Stiftung. “We are confident that our community approach with projects like the Safe Water Enterprise is a valuable contribution to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

About Kangemi Resource Centre (KRC)
KRC is a community project developed by the Kenyan NGO Orphelins sans Frontières East Africa (Orphans without Borders) to support over 100 schools and the community through education and the provision of essential services in Nairobi's slum Kangemi.

About SkyJuice Foundation
The SkyJuice Foundation is a not for profit organisation incorporated in Australia. SkyJuice provides low-cost sustainable safe water solutions for humanitarian projects, community water kiosks and emergency potable water units. The Foundation and its partners use innovative technology that has real social impact and is appropriate to communities in rural, peri urban and urban communities in developing countries. The SkyHydrant filtration technology removes all suspended solids, bacteria and viruses without need for electricity or chemicals.
 
Water facts and figures for Kenya and Africa
• In 2015, 663 million people still lack improved drinking water sources in the world (Source)

• Nearly half of all people using unimproved drinking water sources live in sub-Saharan Africa. This 319 million people (Source)

• 10 % of deaths of children under 5 are caused due to diarrhea in Kenya (Source)

• 17 M people in Kenya (around 40% ) don´t have access to safe water (Source)