August 2013 | Pre-Assessment Trip
In the summer of 2013, three Princeton students traveled with a professional mentor to Kuria District, Kenya on an unofficial pre-assessment trip in August 2013. The goal of this trip was to get a greater understanding of the area, begin forming ties with the local community, and gather enough information to apply to open an official EWB-USA program in the area. While in country, the team performed water quality tests, conducted surveys in the community and spoke with local leaders, NGOs and community members.
September 26, 2013 | Program Approval
The Kenya team’s application to begin an official EWB-USA program in Muchebe was approved on September 26, 2013.
November 17, 2013 | 521 Submitted
The 521 – Pre Assessment Trip Report was submitted to EWB-USA to gain approval for an assessment trip to Muchebe.
December 16, 2013 | Assessment Trip Approval
The Kenya team’s 521 gained technical approval, allowing the team to travel to Muchebe on an assessment trip from January 24, 2014 to February 2, 2014.
January 24 – February 2, 2014 | Assessment Trip
Four Princeton students traveled to Kenya with our professional mentor, Dr. David Thaemert, to complete our assessment trip. The major accomplishments of EWB-Princeton University’s assessment trip to Muchebe include with community members and leaders and conducting surveys and collecting data for the design of the rainwater catchment system, including GPS coordinates, water quality and quantity data and the precise dimensions of the school. EWB-PU, Muchebe Primary School and Nuru International our NGO contact, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the new rainwater catchment system. Overall the trip was a great success and the community showed tremendous initiative. They had been collecting rainfall data on the make shift rain gauge we had installed on our pre-assessment trip daily and had even replaced a part that had broken in the rain gauge. In addition, the community showed support to the project through the surveys and stated that they would be willing to contribute both monetarily and in kind.
August 2014 | Implementation Trip
The implementation trip lasted four weeks in August 2015. While in country, the team supported the community on implementing the rainwater catchment system the team spent the 2014-2015 school year designing. The community supported the project with in-kind labor and material donations and a 7% monetary contribution to the cost of the project, well above the 5% EWB-PU requested. The community and the team met with some unexpected obstacles during implementation, including two very large rocks in the way of the underground pipes. However, with some adjustment to the design of the project, the implementation was a success. The new rainwater catchment system on the roof of Muchebe Primary expanded access to clean water to 60,000L.
January 2015 | Assessment Trip
Following a letter of interest from the community in a second rainwater catchment system, in January 2015, the team spent a week in Muchebe to monitor the primary school rainwater catchment system implemented in August and to assess for the next rainwater catchment system to be implemented on a nearby warehouse. The team conducted household surveys and met with community leaders to assess community objectives for the project. They also conducted site surveys and gathered technical data needed to design the next system. At the end of the trip, the newly formed Muchebe Water Management Committee, EWB-PU, and the Nuru International signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the second rainwater catchment system.
August 2015 | Implementation and Assessment Trip
In August 2015, the team returned to Muchebe to partner with the community to implement a 60,000L rainwater catchment system on the roof of a warehouse near Muchebe Primary School. The community contributed in-kind labor and materials to the cost of the project. The implementation was successful and the Muchebe Water Management Committee took over the maintenance of the system. Unfortunately, during 2015, a multi-national tobacco corporation, the region’s main employer, pulled out of the region abruptly, leaving many in the community without a source of income. Through extensive discussions, EWB-PU and the Muchebe community believe that it would be important to first focus on the maintenance of current projects before undertaking further projects. While EWB-PU team will continue to partner with Muchebe to monitor existing projects, EWB-PU began the search for a second community partner in August 2015.
After conducting careful assessment in over seven communities in Kuria West, EWB-PU identified the community of Komosoko as a strong partner for our program. Given that they received relatively little support from NGOs in the region, the team was extremely impressed by the initiative shown by the Komosoko community. EWB-PU noted that the School Management Committee took considerable care in the maintenance of the existing rainwater catchment system – with water samples revealing that the water was as clean as bottled water! The committee was also successful in mobilizing the community to raise funds to construct latrines following the collapse of their old latrine system due to soil erosion. Since the re-construction of the latrines, the students have played an active role in maintain the latrines by each bringing water each week to help clean the latrines. The latrines were by far the cleanest latrines that the EWB-PU team has seen in the area. On an academic level, not only has the students consistently achieved strong and improving average scores on the national KCPE exams, but the school has also doubled the number of girls enrolled in the school in the past three years, and is welcoming students with learning disabilities. It is truly an honor to work with such an engaged school community and the EWB-PU team looks forward to a strong partnership in the coming years!
August 2016 | Implementation and Assessment Trip
The Kenya team is beginning their fourth year of partnership with communities in the Kuria West district of Kenya, which is located in the southwestern region of the country. The team’s mission is to provide sources of readily accessible, potable water to their partner communities. Over the duration of our project we have designed and implemented three Rainwater Catchment systems—two in the village of Muchebe and one in the village of Komosoko. The rainwater catchment systems that have been implemented by the Kenya team provide 187,500L of water storage capacity total. As part of each project implementation, the team has worked to teach the community about good maintenance and water usage practices that will allow them to preserve their existing potable water sources. After the completion of the project, it is managed by a committee of locals, who are responsible for ensuring the sustainability of the project.
This year the Kenya team will be partnering with the community of Kubweye to implement a borehole. In-country assessment at the primary school in Kubweye has shown that it has excellent hydrogeological conditions for drilling, so the borehole has the potential to provide a robust source of water for the community. The community of Kubweye will be opening a boarding school in the next year, which will result in a significant increase in the number of children living in the community. The borehole will be located such that it will provide a source of clean and readily available water for the students living at the school. In addition to this new implementation, the team will continue to monitor the three previously installed rainwater catchment systems to ensure that they are functional and well maintained.