• Safe drinking water is ranked as the most pressing community need by the 6 villages surrounding Nyangoro pan. Kiosk set up in Homa Bay (Nyanza Province, Kenya).
  • The communities are involved in the site selection and relevant decision making processes from beginning.
  • The Safe Water Enterprises are implemented together with local partners. This new kiosk in Nyangoro will be managed by Nyangoro Health Center for the community.
  • The kiosks are equipped with a SkyHydrant water filter which removes suspended solids, bacteria and viruses from water through a physical filtration process, without need for electricity. Water containers are disinfected before being refilled for the customer.
  • Children using water from Sondu river - before implementation of a Safe Water Enterprise (Sondu, Kisumu County, Kenya)
  • The SWE kiosks are made up of high-quality modules that can be deployed flexibly. They are assembled on the ground together with the future kiosk operators. (Sondu, Kisumu County, Kenya)
  • The water kiosk in Sondu was built together with the team from the Safe Water and AIDS Project Kenya (SWAP), who will oversee the management of the Safe Water Enterprise in the community.
  • With the new SWE kiosk in Kwale, Howa Mwana Community now has the option of fetching treated water for drinking next to raw water for other household purposes.
  • Howa Mwana water before and after treatment with the SkyHydrant water filter. The treated drinking water will be filled in clean white jerrycans that are sold to the community at an affordable price.
  • SWE teams are trained in all relevant operational, technical and entrepreneurial skills to ensure sustainable operations of the Safe Water Enterprise.
  • Two Safe Water Enterprises were established in cooperation with SOS Children’s Villages in 2014 and have succeeded in building a successful social enterprise over the past two years.

The beginning

The project began in 2010 with the construction of a water kiosk in rural Kilimambogo northeast of Nairobi. Since then, the kiosk, which is located at an orphanage, has been providing children in the orphanage and residents of nearby villages with safe drinking water. The orphanage has been able to reduce its medication costs in half due to the significant drop in water-borne diseases such as diarrhea and typhoid.

Another water kiosk was erected in February 2011 in Maragua, which is also in the Thika region. The successful implementation of these two pilot projects was followed by the construction of three additional water stations in the Thika region north of Nairobi. The water kiosks use different sources of water, for instance, from rivers, wells, and pipelines. A membrane filter removes impurities, bacteria and viruses from the water.

Both pilot projects were evaluated and their technical and conceptual implementation confirmed. At the same time, however, the need for important adjustments was determined in areas such as the quality of the buildings, the involvement and training of the community and the kiosk managers as well as continuous monitoring.   

Optimizing the water kiosks

Prefabricated, high-quality structural kiosk modules are now available and can be flexibly deployed in remote areas. The water is supplied to residents in purified containers to prevent recontamination. The Training is implemented together with partners.

New water kiosk
The new water kiosks are prefabricated buildings that can be quickly and flexibly erected.

What has changed since the launch of the project?

Since becoming aware of the importance of safe drinking water, residents have widely accepted the water kiosks. The health situation has improved: Water-borne diseases and medical costs have decreased. The location of the water stations in public places such as village markets and schools saves time and long journeys, and also reduces back problems caused by carrying heavy water containers for long distances.

Often in the past, safe drinking water was re-contaminated in transport. To overcome that problem, containers that can be cleaned and disinfected at each water purchase were introduced at the water stations in 2012.

Safe Water Enterprises’ approach to establish small social enterprises and train local residents as kiosk managers has proven to be effective. Even if the water is sold at very low prices, the revenue is sufficient in most cases to cover operating costs. The water kiosk also serves as a basis for other entrepreneurs: bicycle couriers deliver water to people in the surrounding area.

Future plans

Safe Water Enterprises successfully adapt modern filtration technology to local conditions, offering a complete and replicable solution. The project will be implemented on a financially sustainable basis also in other places. Further stations are implemented at different locations together with selected partners such as SOS Children’s Villages, AMREF (African Medical and Research Foundation) and the Hunger Project. Potential partners who fulfil the specific selection criteria can contact Siemens Stiftung at info@siemens-stiftung.org.

Special attention is given to training. On the one hand, we are intensifying technical and business trainings for kiosk managers and other interested parties from the area. On the other hand, we have developed teaching materials and training manuals for health and hygiene training. These trainings are implemented together with local partners (Hygiene Promotion and Entrepreneurship Training).