A few years ago, most people in this village used donkeys to fetch water. Those who didn’t own one carried water on their backs or rolled drums on the ground. Some of the wells are 20km away from their village, and every day, this was a routine. By the time most parents returned from fetching water in the evening or late at night, having left in the morning, their children were asleep on empty stomachs. As a result, some children dropped out of school to take care of their siblings while their parents were away.
In 2013, Guyo Malicha and other villages in Marsabit began discussing their challenges through community meetings facilitated by the community-driven process of community conversations. This village identified water as their key challenge during these twice a month meetings.
They developed a community action plan to purchase water for their communal 10000L tank. Each household was asked to contribute Ksh 200. The money collected was then used to purchase water from tankers and fill up their communal tank. This way, every household in the village was able to get up to 200L of water every time the tank was filled up. This process was repeated every time the community needed water.
During another one of these meetings, a small committee was set up to organize contributions from the households in the village. The amounts contributed have been used to regularly purchase water and distribute to the households in the village.
The community has now adopted this plan which has cut out the distance walked by women and children in search of water.
Mohamed Halakhe, a member of this community, had this to say: “Water is life and without water, our people cannot survive. We are thankful for this process which has enabled us to create our own initiatives to tackle issues.”
More children attend school as a result, and less time is spent in search of water. Where there used to be a lot of distress during dry seasons in the past, it has now been replaced by hope and togetherness.
With one hundred and twenty households benefiting, the village of Guyo Malicha is an example of what can happen when communities take the lead in deliberating on challenges and designing their own solutions.