News | Basics Needs & Social Entrepreneurship 14.11.2012

Safe water kiosk officially opened at Maragua, Kenya

Operations of the first pre-fabricated small water enterprise at Maragua Market, Thika, has officially commenced. The kiosk provides safe water for needy communities. The financially self-contained model will ensure sustainable operations and thus assure clean water over the long term. It is part of a model project launched by Siemens Stiftung, SkyJuice Foundation and PureFlow Water Solutions that recently concluded its pilot phase in the development of a scalable model. It is envisioned that this model will be replicated in numerous rural areas to serve more communities in Kenya and beyond.

The official inauguration of the small water enterprise introduces a simple and yet dynamic model capable of supplying approximately 1,000 households with safe potable water using their local water sources. David Maina of Pureflow Solutions noted: “This solution will improve hygiene and health standards in rural areas tremendously. The people of Maragua took ownership and responsibility for this water kiosk, and the early successes at the water kiosk are proof that this model’s approach ensures sustainability.” The existing partners Siemens Stiftung, SkyJuice Foundation and PureFlow Water Solutions have already started the next phase by building more small water enterprises and developing a sustainable operational model.

The small water enterprise – technology, training and entrepreneurship

“The small water enterprise is a modular low cost design kiosk solution that provides a high-quality building and at the same time enables its mobile application to remote areas in need”, said Rhett Butler, the founder of SkyJuice Foundation in Australia. The unique SkyHydrant water filters treat up to 1,000 liters of raw water per hour and remove solids, physical impurities, bacteria and pathogens, helping to prevent water-borne diseases. The filtration systems are based on gravity membrane filtration.

At the same time the small water enterprise comes with both technical and enterpreneurial training. “By introducing community mobilization and entrepreneurial activities, the partners unlock new opportunities for generating income for the community”, said Christine Weyrich, project manager at the Siemens Stiftung. A dedicated manager is responsible for the kiosk’s operations, maintenance and performance. Technical and managerial trainings are part of the managers’ training to ensure longer financial and technical viability.

As the stations are connected to existing structures in the communities, such as the market place, school or hospital, they also help to shorten the often long journeys to potable water. Whilst a long-term goal must always be that every household has its own connection, the water station presents a decisive and practical bridging step towards this goal.

The partners – a catalyst for change

With the assistance of modern technology and well-trained kiosk entrepreneurs, the Siemens Stiftung aims to provide access to potable water for people in remote regions and to thus achieve progress in the areas of health and hygiene towards that goal.

The Australian SkyJuice Foundation provides the turnkey solution for the small water enterprises, including the filtration systems, along with technical design consultancy.

The Kenyan company PureFlowWater Solutions realizes the project on the ground and as part of its social mission and supports the scaling up of the concept in the region. To ensure sustainability, PureFlow will continue to provide technical assistance to the various outlets.