• 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.

Optimizing the water kiosks

Backed by the effective and proven SkyHydrant technology and a training concept for kiosk managers, Siemens Stiftung implemented 19 kiosks in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania with various partners between 2011 and 2017.

During this time and on the basis of experience with this business model, the project was continually developed further.

  • Site selection relies on an extensive set of criteria that take into consideration community need, the market situation and the reliability of existing sources of water.

  • Communities must actively apply for an SWE and show initiative: They fill out an application in which they provide initial statements on their drinking water needs, the available sources of water and the size of the village. Many now know about Siemens Stiftung’s project through word of mouth, people who work for it, their local networks and from employees at the water authorities and ministries responsible for the district.

  • Of special importance is the formation of a water committee to assume responsibility for operating and maintaining the water kiosk in the medium term. Training courses provided by the Siemens Stiftung support the members of the committee in creating management structures. The committee also appoints the kiosk manager and negotiates the price for a 20-liter jerrycan of clean drinking water with the community.

  • A team of local consultants was put together for operative and technical support of the project in Kenya. This team is responsible for training the water committee and the kiosk manager.

  • The quality of the drinking water should be impeccable elsewhere too, not just at the kiosk, thus the SWEs also work toward preventing recontamination of the water, which can happen in transit or while storing or using the water, particularly if clean kiosk water is poured into dirty containers. The Siemens Stiftung has introduced the white “W” jerrycan for this purpose. The idea is that the white jerrycan stands out clearly from other, often used or repurposed jerrycans that are usually blue or yellow. The SWE kiosk managers sell the “W” jerrycan to customers and disinfect them with a light chlorine solution each time they are filled at the kiosk.

Our article "More than Water" in the magazine "Water Solutions"
provides insights into the development

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).