Karibu! Welcome!

Since 2004, EWB@ MSU's professional and student volunteers have worked with community members in Khwisero, Kenya to provide water and sanitation infrastructure at the district's 58 primary schools, making it easier for Khwisero's children to avoid waterborne disease and get an education.

In that time, the group has grown from a small club to one of MSU's premier student organizations, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund seven borehole wells, six composting latrines and a biogas latrine that serve thousands of community members.

Thank you for joining us as we continue to work hand-in-hand with local partners to make a difference in one small part of our world. As Western Kenya's limited internet access allows, we will update this blog while in-country with the successes, stories and lessons provided by our work.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Team 3 Wrapping Up A Job Well Done

Hi friends!

I'm in Kakamega today to pick up supplies for the final push. Earlier today we had a second premier of The Water Carriers in Khwisero for the general public (Set up by Lawrence, who is a new prospective member of the Kenya team). Tomorrow we will be having a party to thank the Kenya team and others for all their dedication and sacrifices, as well as say goodbye to Team 3, who leaves Khwisero on Tuesday after a job very well done.

Here's a quick summary of some of the things that the teams have accomplished this summer:

Expanded Capacity of Kenya Team and Other Community Members
- Maurice has learned how to use a GPS (via Adam's excellent teaching) and is in the process of mapping the water sources of all 58 primary schools for us;
- Lawrence set up and advertised a film premier in the Khwisero market;
- 28 Surveyors were trained;
- 7 Focus Group Facilitators were trained;
- The 14 member selection board was voted in to provide a more transparent and accountable selection process for future work;
- Jackson was voted unanimously by the other members to be a part of the selection board (which will help us decide which schools to work at next);
- Technical and management training for Shirali and Munyanza Water User Committees will be in final negotiations early next week, and training for the other three WUC's is planned for later this fall.

Collected Mountains of Information Crucial to Our Future Success
- 750+ Homestead surveys completed;
- 7+ Focus Groups starting next week;
- Extensive people mapping of the formal sector;
- Collection of well logs, spring location maps, water quality, household maps, contact information for dozens of helpful people, reports from other organizations working in the area, and loads of other vital technical information;
- Thousands of hours of experiences and personal connections being brought back to Bozeman by the 14 travel team members (not the least being the important things we learned as a result of revisiting our past work).

Radio Documentary and History of Khwisero Information Collected
- Hundreds of hours of interviews and other material have been collected.

Drilled 2 Wells, With One More On The Way
- Providing 1900+ primary students with clean water, improved sanitation, and an opportunity to spend more time in school instead of fetching water;
- Huge savings for schools on future construction projects, which require a lot of water (money which can be used for other projects);
- A platform for communities around the three schools to begin and enhance existing income generating activities.

Pen-Pal and Water Education Programs are Currently Underway
- Over 100 students in Khwisero have written letters to new friends which will be delivered soon

Thousands of Smiles
- In the last 8 weeks, we have been witness to an overwhelming number of smiles. Everything from little kids and grandmothers laughing at the way we sound when we say hello to them in Luhya and the way we look riding on boda bodas, to trainees grinning and shaking our arms off when we handed them the certificates at the end of their training, and everything in between.

A Healthy Dose of Mistakes
- We were also fortunate to make lots of mistakes while having people around us who weren't shy about pointing them out to us. We have learned more on this trip than on all our previous trips combined - as much about what not to do as about what to do. We'll tell you all about all those things later. ; )

14 Travel Team Members Lives Changed Forever
- 14 travel team members from Bozeman who traveled here this summer had an experience that they will never forget. Personally, I am honored to have been able to work with so many good people (Kenyan and American alike), and it has been a pleasure trying to keep up with them.

Chris and I will be staying behind as long as necessary to finish up anything that can be finished before embarking on our research, but most of what we all came here to do has been done with flying colors, thanks to a lot of hard work by dozens of people here and in Bozeman. Thank you to all!

Thanks for checking up on us, and we're hoping to see you in Bozeman or otherwise soon!
Thanks for your support, and don't forget to keep checking up on us, because this is only the beginning....


Lisa said...

Thanks for your updates!
Congratulations to EWB-MSU for all your accomplishments.
Lisa - Missoula

Anonymous said...

Impressive! Unbelievable how efficient you are with your time and money. Your group is an inspiration.