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Ndabibi, Kenya: a story of resilience and clean water success

Prior to 2014, many residents of the Ndabibi community in Nakuru County, Kenya, lacked access to safe, sufficient and reliable water, which seriously endangered their lives. With a population of close to 15,000 people, they had little to smile about on issues of water. The water well they previously used broke and the community was devastated. There was not enough water to go around, and the schools, clinic, fish ponds and agriculture that they built were all but abandoned without water.

But, everything changed in 2014 when the community partnered with Well Aware to drill a new, sustainable water well, and better tidings were brought to the community as reliable clean water became available for all their needs.

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Fast forward 6 years later to 2020 and the community has flourished due to the amazing ripple effects that the well has had:

  • There has been a significant increase in the population as families from around the area have congregated and settled around this new sustainable water source. Currently standing at more than 20,000 people, the population has grown at least 33% from 15,000 before the well.

  • Ndabibi Primary School, which is close to the water well, is able to access this water, which has significantly increased school attendance, especially for young girls, and improved the general outlook of the facility.

  • Due to the high yield of the well, the community has been able to supply water to the local Ndabibi health facility which caters to a significant number of people from the Ndabibi community and beyond, having a tremendous positive effect on the health standard there.

“Before, we had to tell the sick we could not help them. There was illness always. Now, we can treat our sick and have water to drink, so we are healthy.” - Jane, head nurse at the Ndabibi Clinic.

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During Well Aware’s visit to Ndabibi in August of 2020, the community was excited and overjoyed to tell us of the significant impact that the water well has had and the milestones that they have been able to achieve due to the availability of clean and reliable water. Life-long community resident, Jackson, 45 (pictured here), told us “water has changed our lives.” When asked whether he and his family (including his 7 kids) ever get sick from water-related illness anymore, he replied “no because we are using clean water and can access it all the time.”

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Tabitha, 29 (pictured here), shared “I feel good because we don’t struggle like we did. Nowadays we don’t have water conflicts, but before, it was there.”

Since 2014, the Ndabibi community has been able to thrive and grow, providing clean water for themselves and the neighboring communities that now rely on them. This is our goal: to provide unique water solutions that empower communities to maintain their water projects and kickstart their success.

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The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has been very consequential for the health of Ndabibi residents. 19-year-old Njeri Ann (pictured here) worries about her family and older community residents. She told Well Aware "my goal is to protect the old [residents] and show them how to protect themselves.”

“My personal goal is to put on a mask, wash my hands with running clean water, and use sanitizer,” Jackson also shared.

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Now, with the deployment of our mobile WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) solution, in partnership with Well Beyond, Njeri Ann and other Ndabibi residents have even better access to the tools they need to help protect themselves from COVID-19. The mobile app is providing rural communities across East Africa, like Ndabibi, with vital resources, such as instructions for DIY handwashing stations, sanitation best practices, and disease transmission information. This emergency solution is now helping to safeguard the wellbeing of Ndabibi’s population.

"The water helps in stopping the spread of the virus. The water project is close to the trading center which has heavy flow of traffic throughout the day. Most get water for their handwashing stations here which helps them a lot as they do not have to travel huge distances to get this commodity." - Macharia, Chairman of the Water Committee in Ndabibi.

But, health risks related to COVID-19 are not the only issue Ndabibi residents have faced this year. Although Ndabibi, like most of our communities, is able to maintain their water project on their own, we regularly check in on our water systems to measure impact and our local team is reachable for any maintenance needs that may arise. That’s why, last month, our technical team visited Ndabibi to help with a challenge that threatened their clean water access.

With some contractors going out of business in Kenya due to the pandemic, the Ndabibi community no longer has access to the replacement filters for the fluoride treatment system they have been using at the well. After deploying our team, we identified another treatment option and collected water samples which are now being analyzed for water quality to properly size and implement the new solution. Soon, their new treatment system will be in place.

Despite these difficulties, Ndabibi continues to succeed. Their water system has provided a foundation for development, and this strong, incredible community has many good things on the horizon. Ndabibi’s overall health continues to improve, education is increasing, the economy is growing, and residents are looking to the future, instead of worrying about where they will access clean water. We can’t wait to see all of the things Ndabibi will continue to accomplish, and we are honored to partner with this resilient community.