GWWI Report From the Field: Sophia Elected As Chair of the Water Committee

Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

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The Global Women’s Water Initiative Team has been traveling through East Africa to visit the women teams that were trained in our 2011-2012 year long training program. Meet the people whose lives they are changing.
GWWI Team – Gemma Bulos, Director; Rose Wamalwa, Kenya/Tanzania Field Coordinator; Comfort Mukasa, Uganda Field Coordinator
Sophia, grandmother of 33 is elected as the Chairperson for the Water Tank Committee
Sophia, grandmother of 33 is elected as the Chairperson for the Water Tank Committee

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.

In the past year, she had been participating in a program conducted by Kisumu Medical Education Trust (KMET) who facilitated a planning process whereby her community was able to identify their most pressing needs – which they concluded was access to water. When GWWI Graduates Rosemary and Joy of KMET returned from the GWWI training in Kampala in July 2011, they went to Sophia’s community to offer a WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) seminar in her community and introduced the rainwater harvesting system (RWH) with storage tank. Sophia jumped at the chance to participate in the seminar as well as the construction to learn how to build the system. As a grandmother with 33 grandchildren, she knew that it was important to have this knowledge to ensure that they have a hopeful future.
KMETs mission emerged from the Founder’s desire to address maternal mortality in her community. It has since evolved into the provision of health and social services in 45 communities. As a result as of the GWWI training, Rosemary and Joy are determined to integrate WASH education and technologies into KMETs mission, which they believe is a cross-cutting issue that is crucial for KMET to meet all their community health goals.
A Water Tank committee was formed consisting of all women!
A Water Tank committee was formed consisting of all women!
Rosemary and Joy trained the Odessa RWH team alongside GWWI Training partner Connect Africa. They built their tank in 5 days where the women made their own bricks, laid the foundation, and built the tank. A water committee was formed to maintain and manage the system and Sophia was elected as the Chair. The committee now sells the water at a discount price to the community. Normally water is sold at 10KSH ($.12US) per 5 gallons and the Odessa Water Committee sells it for 3KSH ($.04US). The money earned is given to widows and orphans to pay their school fees and uniforms.
In the past year, Sophia has seen more houses being built around her community because they want to be closer to the water tank so they don’t have to use the river water. Sophia is so grateful because her family no longer gets sick and she has not heard of anyone getting sick who has purchased the water.
Powerful partnership between KMET, Water Tank Committee and GWWI!
Powerful partnership between KMET, Water Tank Committee and GWWI!
  Sophia proves at any age, you can be a Water Champion!
Save the DATE: Join us on Oct 25, 2012 at the David Brower Center for the Global Women’s Water Initiative Report Back! More info to follow…