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, July 16, 2011

The Work Continues

A quick update on our projects. Things are getting fantastically busy:

Ryan Olf has taken over for Jeff Moss and Ben Carreon working on the rainwater catchment system at Ekatsombero Primary School. Ekatsombero has been waiting since 2009 for a water project, when plans to provide the school with a well were derailed by a tragic lack of accessible groundwater. On Monday, a 16,000 liter water storage tank was lowered into the ground to provide the school with a clean water source. The water will be collected off the school’s roof, draining into two above-ground 5,000 liters tanks before passing through a sand filter for storage in the larger tank underground.

Kendall Saboda and Kala Jaquet have worked to organize a series of eyeglass clinics at the primary schools on the MEM distribution pipeline route in western Khwisero. The first eyeglass clinic was held Friday; over the course of the summer we hope to distribute nearly 1500 eyeglasses to schoolchildren and community members.

Kendall is also busy testing springs around Emwiru Primary School to research water quality. Her sampling is tedious with the timings of the daily samples going in and out of an incubator running off a car battery, thermostat, and light bulb.

Autumn Labuff has worked nonstop on the 2400 household surveys we hope to conduct at around 14 primary schools looking into varying water usage, helping us gauge the impact our work has on the broader community. She is now working on taking GPS coordinates at all the households and training the Kenyan surveyors who will conduct the surveys

Matt Rhine (aka “Pony”) has scheduled several meetings with teachers at schools throughout the Khwisero district, looking to establish a network amongst them to analyze the problems of education at Kwhisero Primary Schools.

Justin Stewart has been wonderfully documenting all these various projects with his camera, working on a photobook for our organization. He is traveling to document all our old and new projects, quite the task as we have worked at 14 schools in Khwisero including this summer’s work.

Kiera McNelis has worked at both Mushikongolo and Emwiru Primary Schools on the composting latrine construction ordering materials, collaborating with the contractor Fredrick and awesome EWB-Kenyan Fellows, Patrick, John, and Raphael. Last week, the foundation excavation for the composting latrine began at Emwiru and Mushikongolo is preparing to pour the slab of the latrine floor.

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