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Safe Water Enterprises
Entrepreneurial approach to supply drinking water
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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).