Kenya has been dealing with the issue of water scarcity for decades. With a growing population, rising living costs, and a steadily rising poverty index, water scarcity means more suffering, particularly for women and girls, slower development, and increased health risks. Kilifi county is among the areas facing serious water shortages.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), Kilifi county has a population of 1,453,787 people. For the past two consecutive years, the area has recorded minimal levels of rainfall leading to low crop yields, poor livestock production, and low levels of water. The county hit headlines before because of prolonged drought and fears of looming famine making them rely on support from the county and national governments, and humanitarian relief organizations. Therefore, improving access to water can improve the lives of people in Kilifi.
Kenya Water and Sanitation Civil Society Network (KEWASNET), in collaboration with Sauti ya Pwani (SYP), hosted a community engagement session on the state of WASH in Magarini, Kanagoni, Kilifi County, on July 8th. At least 15 members of the community took part in the discussion. KEWASNET Head of Programmes, Vincent Ouma, KEWASNET Programmes Support Specialist, Public Health Officer from the Department of Health, Kilifi, Erick Diwani, technical assistant at the Kilifi County Department of Water, and radio presenter at Sauti Ya Pwani, Sammy Mwaura were in attendance. The show was taped and aired on the station on July 14th from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
The pressing issue that emerged from the discussion is that Kanagoni has been experiencing perennial water scarcity for decades. Residents complain that authorities are not treating the matter with the urgency that it deserves. Most of the time, they rely on water pans, which are unfortunately fast drying up, leaving them with no choice but to buy water from water vendors at exorbitant prices and no way to ascertain the safety of the water.
About DPA CISU Project
DPA CISU aims at strengthening civil society engagement in the prioritization and management of the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector in the region with the ultimate goal of improving access to WASH services delivered through National and Local Government Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Taita Taveta counties. Supported by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the Civil Society Fund) the project targets achieving:
- Increased access to safe and affordable drinking water at national and/or local level
- Improved sanitation facilities and hygiene practice nationally and/or local level and end open defecation
- Strengthened capacity of civil society in target counties to advocate for increased government WASH budget