Water, Education and Climate Change

The water- bank model and its technology need to be replicated not only in water-stressed zones but in the construction of all other public buildings and community spaces~ Governor Laikipia County Joshua Irungu.

In Africa, people spend thousands of hours finding and fetching water. This task usually falls to women and children, especially in communities living in arid areas. The long hours spent looking for water can mean missing out on work, spending time at home with families, or being at school. The risks associated with going to gather water are also a problem; these include wildlife attacks, sexual harassment or assault.

The Zeitz Foundation is addressing this challenge through a unique model that addresses both water and educational needs. Speaking recently during the launch of the Ereri school water bank, the Director of the Zeitz Foundation, Mr. Njenga Kahiro noted that the new model is innovative; offering a solution to people living in water-stressed zones while addressing much needed educational facilities.

Speaking at the same event, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for Environment, Natural resources and regional authorities, Professor Judi Wakhungu praised the model as being viable and easy to replicate.

She said, “I am pleased that the water-bank model is taking root here and providing a template for other counties and other countries to emulate in community climate change adaptation.”The Ereri water-bank is the sixth such building constructed by the Zeitz Foundation with funding from the Parker Fray Family.

The building harvests and stores 100,000 litres of water while at the same time offers a great learning facility to more than 320 students and teachers. It has 5 classrooms and 2 teacher offices with a central multipurpose courtyard that can easily be used as an assembly ground or a theatre hall.

The launch event on April 14th 2016, was overseen by the CS Prof Judi Wakhungu, and graced by Laikipia North Member of Parliament, Hon. Mathew Lempurkel and Governor Joshua Irungu. Other government officials also attended, including partners and stakeholders from both national and county level with teachers, students and hundreds of community members in attendance.

Professor Wakhungu noted that rainwater harvesting is a major part of being able to attain Kenya’s Vision 2030. She emphasized that a lack of water is a major constraint to economic development. This is especially so in Laikipia, where communities are vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The Governor of Laikipia promised to have the model and technology replicated in other areas of the County.

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