Premium Water saves mothers from long water journeys in Nandi Hills
The beautiful green hills of Nandi are a good training ground for the Kenyan athletes who climb and roll the slopes and valleys to win international middle and long distance races.
But to mothers, the hills are a curse because they have to carry heavy jericans of water on their backs from the streams uphill several times a day to provide for their families’ domestic use.
For many years, Rosa Cheruiyot now in her sixties had been travelling over six kilometers a day to get the water for cooking, drinking and washing.
“I used to go the other side, or the other side or the other side around this Kosoywo area to get the water”, describes Rosa, as she points in different directions from her home.
The problem is no more. Thanks to the Sinendet Water project that was constructed by Sireet Out growers Empowerment and Producers Company limited, using Fairtrade Premium from the sales of tea.
The grey haired grandmother now moves only less than ten meters to fetch water from a tap in front of her beautiful house.
A big water tank constructed from concrete, cement, bricks, timber and corrugated iron sheets holds water that serves over 3000 people, most of them small scale tea farmers.
The sound of water dripping in to the tank about 25 meters from Rosa’s house is like a song that cheers up her face.
“I am very happy and I say thank you to Sireet and to God. Look, I am a ‘kogo’ (grand mother). I was tired of walking far away to fetch the water. My legs are now weak. But for now about three years or so, I have had a rest”, says Rosa smiling, amid struggle to pronounce the word Premium, which she says was the money that build the water tank.
She enters the house and comes out with a big aluminum sauce pan. She puts it down and plucks a stopper out of a hanging plastic water pipe that is connected to the tank. The water jets out with high pressure and within less than two minutes the saucepan is full.
“Now you have seen for yourself what I mean when I say I am happy to have water.”
The water is supplied to the tank by gravity making it very sustainable, meaning no monthly water bills, connection fee and the frequent water rationing. The water is captured from a catchment hill across about six kilometers away.
This is part of the community projects that have been initiated using the premium earned from Fairtrade tea from Sireet Outgrowers Empowerment and Producers Company Ltd, which brings together more than 6000 small holder tea farmers, who contributed money from their tea to buy the company.
The company director Paul Tiony says mothers in Africa spent more time walking long distances in search of water and fire wood, and it was high time this came to an end.
“We want to address this problem by availing clean drinking water closer to the community, so that mothers can spend more time doing other tasks”, said Mr. Tiony.
“We urge Kenyans to buy more Fairtrade labeled tea so that we can build more such water projects”.
Other similar water projects include Barasendu which serves more than 1, 500 people and Kaputi which serves almost the same number.
Mr. Tiony appeals to Kenyans to buy more products with the FAIRTRADE Mark to help more projects to the communities.
“It is good that Fairtrade Eastern African is now in place. We hope to see more Kenyans buying Fairtrade labeled products to improve the lives of our people”.