November, 2010 - Randago Water Project Completion

Some things take time.  The Randago water project which includes an "off-site" borehole, solar powered pump, 1 km pipeline, 5 meter elevated tower and storage tank and a community water kiosk - all took time to come together.  Several attempts to locate water on the ICDC site came to naught and we were forced to locate the borehole 1 km from the site at a local primary school. Of course this meant we needed to furnish the school with water and a tank in addition to pumping the water back to the tower on the ICDC property.  Let's hope all the local arrangements work out and the water brings maximum benefit to the community including a nearby health center!




Grand Opening, Nakwijit:

At long last we were priviledged to preside over the opening of the water project at Nakwijit.  Long dependant on seasonal, contaminated water from the river Suam, the community is thrilled to have access to clean water from a borehole. Free of fluoride and contaminants, the water is clean and abundant. The water project also doubles as an income generation project for the Integrated Child Development Center, providing small amounts of funds for expenses related to early childhood education.


Water in Sisit:

A common challenge in Kenya is access to clean water.  The Sissit community is no exception.  Located in the mountains above the Wei Wei river, the people of Sisit, must climb down to the river daily and carry water back up the steep slopes to their houses.  Women spend a good portion of each day hauling heavy containers of water from the river. When Africa Exchange partnered with Sissit, the community identified their most pressing need as access to clean water.




Because SIsit is a very remote and marginalized community an appropriate solution that is cost effective, sustainable and sufficient was not readily apparent. In 2009 the Mercer on Mission student group installed a rainwater catchment system at the nursery school to provide some clean drinking water for the children. At the same time, planning began for the installation of a water turbine pump.




A local company, Ndume Engineering, builds a water turbine pump that uses the power of flowing water to spin a turbine and pump water to a head of 300ft, requiring no fuel and minimal maintenance. Although the nursery school is almost 400 ft higher than the river, by placing the pump in an existing irrigation canal we had the perfect, controllable condition to pump water to the maximum height. 




Over the past year much time was spent meeting with the community, ensuring we received the necessary permissions and got the right people on board with the project.  The community contributed by hand digging the 1.2 km pipeline trench up the mountain from the canal to the school. In May 2010, together with a group from Baptist Theological Seminary of Richmond, we modified the concrete in the irrigation canal to hold the turbine pump. In June, with Mercer on Mission, we installed the pump and laid the pipe to the nursery school.  Within 12 hours, water began filling a 10,000-liter tank 400 ft above the river.  For families living on the mountain, this tanks is an easily accessible watering point, greatly reducing the distance and time required to fetch water each day. The water will also be used to begin a kitchen garden at the school so provide the children with a daily meal. 




Bio-Sand Water Filters in Sisit:

While access to water is a challenge for the Sisit community, access to clean water is an even greater challenge.  Thus, during the installation of the water turbine pump system Kutana students from Mercer University were busy building bio-sand filters for each family benefiting from the water project. AquaClara, a Michigan based charity organization, designed a bio-band water filtration system that can be built and maintained using materials available to most rural people.  While these filters are extremely labor intensive they are cost effective and maintainable in rural areas. Built out of layers of gravel, coarse sand, and fine sand they develop their own biological layer and are very effective at filtering out any biological contaminants. Mercer students spent days collecting, sieving, washing sand and gravel. Together with members of the community they hauled the sand and filter containers up the mountain to each of the houses where they assembled the filters. Each filter produces 20 liters of clean drinking water daily, enough to meet the WHO standards for each family.





Institute for Transformational Development

2009 Seminar:

In November 2009 members from each ICDC partner attended a seminar in Ruiru. The two main purposes of seminar were to revisit the goals and objectives of Change for Children and to begin to address the sustainability of each project beyond the direct involvement of Africa Exchange. We focused our training on sustainability in three main areas.  First, Dorine Adundo provided guidance on building involvement with the children’s parents through increasing their investment in the ICDC.  Second, Mark Okello led group activities aimed at building the capacity of the ICDS committees. Third, Nathaniel Robinson focused on environmental sustainability, and led the group in a solar cooker demonstration.


Environmental Conservation

Grassland Restoration in Loongeiwuan:

There are many environmental challenges facing communities in Kenya. Increasing land pressure through growing populations coupled with climate change is accelerating land degradation across the country.  In Loongeiwuan grasslands give way to a dusty wasteland.  People must travel further and further to find grass for their livestock and thatching needs.  The loss of grasslands leads to a vicious cycle of soil erosion and environmental degradation.  The Rehabilitaion of Arid Environments, RAE, ( is an organization working in the region to restore grasslands.  Together with RAE and the Loongeiwuan community, Africa Exchange restored two acres of grassland at the ICDC. This project mainly serves as a model for the surrounding community, so they can see the potential benefits of environmental restoration. Grass seed can be sold back to RAE to generate income, Thatching can be collected from the fields and used for roofing or sold, and livestock can be fattened in the fields.






Tree Planting at Mzima Springs, Tsavo West National Park:

Mzima Springs is one of Kenya’s natural treasures.  Rain on the Chuylyu hills seeps into the earth and flows underground, resurfacing in the heart of Tsavo West National Park at Mzima Springs.  This oasis in Tsavo is the one of the few permanent water sources in the park, and is crucial for the survival of numerous species of wildlife.  It is also the main water source for Kenya’s port city of Mombasa.  Early this year, a wind storm blew over fifty percent of the large Acacia xanthlophlea trees surrounding the springs.  Trees around the springs are critical in maintaining the health of the springs. Thus, together with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Passport Kenya Kutana group we planted 100 Acacia xanthlophlea seedlings around the springs.  These will continued to be cared for by KWS in an effort to conserve the quality of Mzima Springs.