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Water Tanks Sustain, Empower Women

Project: Safe Water Solutions for Sub-Saharan African Women

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Source: Al Jazeera
Source: Al Jazeera

At a training with the Global Women’s Water Initiative in East Africa, in 2011, 175 Women received training on how to build new water tanks for their communities, and how to tackle water, hygiene and sanitation issues in their neighborhoods. Prior to the tanks, women sustained injuries from carrying extremely heavy water loads over long distances, and were vulnerable to assault on their journey. Now, thanks to the tanks, the amount of time spent fetching water has been reduced from an hour to less than 10 minutes. Nearly three-quarters of the trainees have since become masons trainers and social entrepreneurs, increasing their income and empowering themselves.

To me water is life. Once you have water in the house then other things are solved. The time used to get water is reduced. The reduced time is translated into other development activities. These development activities within the community entirely changes the country … So empowering a woman to me is changing economies. It’s giving power.
-Rose Atieno, social worker and trainee

You can read the full article here.

Microloans, Rainwater helps Women during draught

Project: Safe Water Solutions for Sub-Saharan African Women

Topics: , ,

Source: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/James Karuga
Source: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/James Karuga

At the turn of the last century, Central Kenya received four months of Rain every year, which was enough for small scale farmers to make their living and feed their families. Today, those months have dwindled to two months. Rose Wanjiku initially resorted to irrigating from the local river, with the assistance of a pump. The new technology was expensive, however, and Wanjiku soon turned to harvesting rainwater. Gutters have been installed on her roof, and with aid from a local micro finance program, she purchased a 600-gallon tank to store the water. Wanjiku is one of 7,000 Kenyans receiving aid through a water credit scheme allowing homes to purchase tanks to capture clean rainwater, especially important in a country where 17 million of Kenya’s 41 million people lack access to potable water.

Kenya has 29,000 beneficiaries of water-related loans countrywide, with some funds going to building latrines or fix sewer systems to improve sanitation. The scheme also operates in Uganda, Bangladesh and India.

You can read the full article here.

GWWI Women and Water on Wednesdays: Meet Mama Africa, Anna Anatoli, GWWI 2008 Graduate and 2011 Trainer in Training

Project: Safe Water Solutions for Sub-Saharan African Women

Topics: , ,

GWWI is proud to share this interview of Anna Anatoli, or as she was so aptly named, ‘Mama Africa’.  That’s a big name to live up to, but Anna does a great job filling the bill!  Anna came to the Global Women’s Water Initiative in 2008 to our inaugural Women and Water Training in Kenya. The moment she stepped onto the grounds of the Green Belt Training center in Nairobi, we knew we were in the presence of a powerful leader with deep passion and unwavering persistence.Because of her incredible drive and immense effort to share all the knowledge to her community in Arusha, she was invited to participate in the GWWI Trainers Training program in Uganda in 2011.The development of the GWWI Trainer’s Training Program was inspired by and designed for leaders like Anna to help deepen and expand her knowledge in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) solutions.  Anna brought two young women from the Tanzania Girl Guides (the international version of Girl Scouts) to ensure that this knowledge is instilled in the younger generation.

Anna is the founder and Chairperson of ANEPO (Attraction of Natural Environment, we Protect and Organize) from Arusha, Tanzania. Anna works at the forefront of addressing environmental issues as a means to sustain water issues in her community. In a community that faces drought and lack of safe and available drinking water, Anna provides education and training through ANEPO. She trains women on healthy eating and shares all the different techniques and technologies she learned at the GWWI trainings – solar cooking methods, purifying water using the WAPI, (Water Pasteurization Indicator), construction of Biosand Filters and toilets. She also teaches women to harvest rainwater and to use drip methods to grow trees and organic vegetables. She is also the Regional Secretary of the Tanzania Girl Guides Association, an organization that trains girls to become strong women and good citizens.
Africa’s future is in good hands with water champions like Mama Africa taking the lead in building local water and sanitation programs!
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Mama Solar Shines with Solar CooKit

Project: Safe Water Solutions for Sub-Saharan African Women

Topics: , ,

Mama Solar Shines

Faustine Odaba, or Mama Solar as she has been so aptly named, is the Sun Queen  – teaching women all over Africa how to cook and pasteurize their water using simple solar technologies. She is the award-winning Founder and Director of Natural Resources and Waste Resource Alliance dedicated to promoting eco-friendly technologies. Her motto, “Waste No Waste” embodies the work she does by teaching grassroots women to pasteurize water and cook using the solar technology, conducting simple water tests using the Portable Microbiology Lab, and making bags, mats and other household products crocheted out of used plastic bags.

Mama Solar has been one of GWWI’s core trainers, having joined us at our Women and Water Training in 2008 in Kenya, 2010 in Ghana and again in Uganda 2011.  We first met Mama Solar at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya in 2006. We were researching and laying the foundation for our first Women and Water Training and connecting with Wangari Maathai, the Green Belt Movement and GROOTS Kenya, who ultimately became our partners for our 2008 Training.  Mama Solar’s bright smile and infectious spirit not to mention her delicious corn bread amongst the 100s of thousands of people, drew us into her tent where we discovered one of the most intriguing and simple technologies.  She introduced us to the Solar CooKit as an affordable technology to using fuel and firewood for cooking and boiling water!

The Solar CooKit is one of the few free ways to treat water by pasteurizing it with the sun. The process of pasteurization doesn’t require the high heat of boiling (100deg Celsius) but rather a sustained lower heat for a longer period of time. With a sunny day, a black pot to increase the heat, a plastic bag to place the pot to trap the heat and the Solar CooKit, women can treat their water. Its free and because they just put it in the CooKit and leave since it requires no tending, they have time to do other things like chores or even avail of livelihood opportunities.

cooking with the solar cookit

The Solar CooKit is made simply out of cardboard, glue and reflective materials. Its can be used anywhere there is sun. Mama Solar has brought the technology to women in refugee camps in Somalia and the Sudan, slum dwellers in Kenya, and rural women all over Africa. She has stories of women collecting old boxes and the foil from cigarette packages and inside juice boxes to make their own CooKits.

With women like Mama Solar who shine as powerfully as the sun, the future of women and water in Africa is bright and full of hope!

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