Sophia lives in Odesso, Nyamasaria a slum in Kisumu, Kenya, where the main source of water is a contaminated river that runs alongside her community. Everyday you’ll see people fetching water, bathing, washing clothes, dishes and motorbikes, with animals using the water alongside.
Lydia believes this is an opportunity for women to transform their lives and create a new beginning. She has introduced different vocational opportunities such as craft making, sewing and embroidery for the inmates to consider doing as an alternative when they are released. When she learned about the Biosand Filter from one of GWWI Graduates Susan Njeri and Catherine Wanjohi of Life Bloom International, she thought it would be a perfect technology for the inmates to learn while being able to provide clean water for the prison.
Life Bloom International uplifts the lives of abused women with an emphasis on ex-commercial sex workers and provides them with opportunities for leadership and alternative livelihoods for a brighter future.
Meet Mary, a businesswoman who sells clothes in a small shop and lives in a small house in Matejo, a slum area in Arusha, Tanzania. A few years back she had an operation on her back and was advised by her doctor to take safe water only. She was also told not to take boiled or bottled water. Following her doctor’s unusual prescription, she sought alternative options to treat her water. After trying a few local options and not liking them because they still made her nauseous, she found out about the Biosand water filter from Anna Anatoli of ANEPO, a GWWI graduate who was selling this new water treatment in Arusha.
Anna learned how to build the Biosand Filter at the GWWI Women and Water Training and brought it back to her community to start a small micro-enterprise.
Mary attended an ANEPO Health and Wellness Training which was a 2-day Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Training educating the community about the benefits of good hygiene, promoting the Biosand filters (BSF) as an option for clean water, and the benefits of planting organic food for healthy eating. Here she learned how important it was not only to have safe water for drinking, but for cooking, cleaning dishes, hand washing and bathing. Mary was immediately impressed by the BSF because it could remove up to 97-99% of bacteria and it could produce over 100 liters of water per day – enough for her whole family to have safe water for all their water-related activities.
Before buying the Biosand Filter, when someone in her family fell sick from typhoid from the contaminated tap water piped to her house from the municipality, she would end up spending much of her pay on treatment, which made it difficult for her to save money. Because she had 14 people living in her household, she could spend sometimes up to 500,000TSH (approx.: $350) per week on medicines and hospital visits – not to mention lost wages from missing work. After having the BSF for 7 months, there has not been one incidence of typhoid in her family since they installed the filter.
Mary is so grateful to have been relieved from the financial burdens of water related illnesses that have held herself and her family back from opportunities. Based on ANEPOs Health and Wellness Program she also learned how to grow organic vegetables in recycled grain bags in the small spaces in front of and next to her home. Thanks to GWWI graduate Anna Anatoli and ANEPO, Mary has clean water, healthy food and is thriving!
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Catherine is the Director of Life Bloom, an incredible organization that uplifts ex-commercial sex-workers by offering training and support so they can generate income through dignified vocations such as craftwork, tailoring, hairdressing, beauty therapy and such. In 2011, after attending our Women and Water Training where she learned how to educate the community about clean water, sanitation and proper hygiene (WASH) practices, how to test water to see if it is contaminated and how to build the Biosand filters to provide clean water for their communities, she was able to add this powerful service to Life Bloom’s stable of vocational trainings.
The Global Women’s Water Initiative is proud to welcome back GWWI 2011 Fellow Epi Bodhi who just returned from Burundi where she worked with international non-profit Village Health Works (VHW) to train their team to recognize the link between water and health and to promote practices that would reduce the risk of water-related disease. VHW strives to provide quality healthcare to the people of Burundi, with a special program focusing on women, as the United Nations ranked Burundi as one of the world’s five worst places for women and children. Nearly 1 in 10 women die during pregnancy or childbirth and nearly 1 in 5 children die before their 5th birthday.