GWWI: Women and Water on Wednesdays: Kenya to Enact Rainwater Harvesting Act – Great Opportunity for GWWI Grads

Posted by Gemma Bulos

Great news for GWWI Kenya Grads! According to the Kenyan Ministry of Water Deputy Director of Water Resources Juma Omondi, the Kenya Rainwater Harvesting Act

will be enacted by the end of 2012. The law will advocate for the integration of household and industrial rainwater harvesting (RWH) technologies. And Nairobi will join the likes of Indian cities New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore requiring new homes to have rainwater harvesting infrastructure before the building can be approved.

Building roof catchment and ferro cement for school

Building roof catchment and ferro cement
for school

How does this open opportunities for graduates of the Global Women’s Water Initiative Training Program?
GWWI teaches women to build simple water and sanitation technologies to provide clean water in their communities. One of the technologies most in demand is rainwater harvesting and safe water storage.
Women in Africa and in other developing regions can sometimes walk up to 8 hours per day looking for water. On top of that, they have to carry up to 44lbs of water on their heads, shoulders and backs for use at home for cooking, drinking and washing. Collecting rainwater and storing it for future use can alleviate some, if not all of that burden depending on the rainfall and the size of the storage tank.
Rose makes an interlocking stabilized soil block (ISSB)

Rose makes an interlocking stabilized
soil block (ISSB)

This past year, some GWWI graduates learned to build roof catchments and a storage tank made out of interlocking stabilized blocks (ISSB). The ISSB tank is a relatively new technology that is now gaining traction in Kenya and the East Africa region because it costs less and is more durable than the other alternatives like a polytank (plastic) and ferrocement tank. The ISSB is made out of marram (orange clay/soil), sand, a little cement and water. This mixture is compressed in a block making machine that requires no electricity just human sweat. It’s also manufactured in Nairobi (Kenya’s capital city), further keeping the construction and material costs down. Most simple brick making techniques require drying in the sun, whereas the ISSB is ready for use in 24 hours regardless of the weather. What makes this technology cutting edge is the shape of the bricks. Unlike traditional bricks that are flat and rectangular in shape, the ISSB bricks are shaped to interlock like a puzzle, which reduces the amount of cement for bonding and creates a stronger foundation and structure for the tank.

Rounded ISSBs for tanks

Rounded ISSBs for tanks

With this new policy development, GWWI grads can potentially provide professional construction and education services to meet the water needs of their communities. GWWI is excited to support our graduates to lead the way towards introducing cutting edge technologies that use local materials, require no electricity and can be built by WOMEN!


  1. nobody143 on October 18, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    That really opens up a great opportunity for GWWI graduates! By the way, is the storage tank training
    open to all people? Or is it alone for women in the community?

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