Starting in April 2014, nearly two thousand dedicated CAFOD supporters joined Hands On, and over the past two years have been funding an incredible water project in Kitui, eastern Kenya. As the project comes to an end, Sally Kitchener looks at the impact of these generous donations.
Tabitha holds the small plastic rain gauge up to the light to take the reading. She carefully leans over, balances a blue chart on her knee and writes down the measurement. It’s another zero. It should be the beginning of the rainy season here in Kitui, Kenya, but Tabitha’s rain gauge hasn’t recorded a drop of rain for months.
Two years ago, the late rains would have been a disaster for Tabitha and her family. With their local reservoir dried up, and the nearest river two hours’ walk away, the lack of rain would have meant thirst, hunger, and illness. But since then, Tabitha’s life has changed dramatically.
As our Hands On Kitui journey comes to an end, three people who have worked on the project share their thanks. George Wambugu, CAFOD’s water specialist, worked on the water project right from the beginning during the planning stages.
As a water expert, I know how vital it is to have access to water all year round – vital for the health and wellbeing not only of the people, but of the animals and plants. So I am immensely excited to be able to tell you that, after two years of hard work, the community in Kitui now have reliable access to clean water.
Looking to the coming years, I know that the great dam and the wells are going to provide water for the whole community, even in the dry seasons.
Thank you so much for all your donations, prayers and love over the past two years. We couldn’t have achieved this without you.
Mike Gilligan from Liverpool Diocese is one of 1,700 Hands On supporters who were all inspired to fund a two-year water project in Kitui, Kenya. Hands On supporters in England and Wales followed the community’s progress in Kitui, and each month sent vital donations, encouragement and prayers.
Mike shares why Hands On is so special to him.
I first heard about Hands On through a flyer. It sounded like a very good idea, as the community were helping themselves and not relying on external organisations. It also gave me the opportunity to do my bit. I am helping someone, somewhere, in a place I can’t dream of seeing. Here in the UK we have an over-plentiful supply of water, but people in Kenya have such little water to work with. Clean water is vital – that’s why I signed up to help. Continue reading “Clean water is vital – How Mike from Liverpool brought water to a remote Kenyan community”
Stella took part in our first Hands On project in Kitui, Kenya. Over two years, hundreds of people in Kitui were supported by more than 1,700 CAFOD supporters to rebuild their community dam and bring water back to the area. Having water nearby means families can irrigate their crops and don‘t have to spend hours walking to and from the river each day.
I am very grateful to you for giving donations and enabling us to carry out this project.
The project has meant I am able to get a job and manage a small income. With my income I am able to buy seeds for my farm and cement so I can build a strong house. Before there was such a challenge with food that I had to divert all my energy and resources to food.
Thanks to the Hands On project activities, even at this time of year before the rains have come, we have food stored. I am able to harvest enough and still have surplus to sell so I can pay for my kids to go to school. Last term I sold beans to the school in exchange for school fees. Continue reading “Letter from Stella in Kenya”
Damian Conlin works in CAFOD’s Fundraising team, and has been involved in our Hands On projects from the beginning. Our first Hands On project in Kitui, Kenya finished recently – explore it on our website
Our desire to be connected
There has been a lot of comment in the last few weeks – off the back of our recent referendum – on what that vote to leave the EU says for our collective desire to stay connected to others. And, more specifically, what it says about our willingness to offer help to those outside our own borders. To be good neighbours.
So, with those questions in my mind, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who supports CAFOD and makes our work possible.
As we enter the last few weeks of our project, everywhere we look we are greeted by signs of transformation. Our dam and wells are filling, people’s gardens and our community farm are starting to produce harvests, and the landscape is so much greener than just two years ago.
About Hands On: Hands On is a special series of CAFOD projects, that are funded directly by supporters. Hands On Kitui is our first project, and although this is coming to an end, our newest project community are in need of support.
Work continues at great pace as we hurry to get the Musosya dam ready for the coming rains. One fantastic piece of news is that our reservoir is now holding water, which had been in the ground following the previous rains. This means that even during dry periods the community here is able to access clean water for their households – a wonderful achievement.
We would also be delighted to take this time to wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas. Please do keep Kitui in your thoughts at this joyous time, we have made so much progress thanks to your kindness.
Gabions are wire cages filled with rocks, which sit across tributaries to the reservoir. When it rains, they will reduce the speed of the streams and will trap silt, stopping it running into the reservoir itself.
We are now approaching the final stretch of our exciting project here in Kitui, progress has been fantastic up to this point and work is now firmly focused on the main Musosya dam.
We need to clear all of the silt and debris from the reservoir before any more rains come – it’s a real race against time and everyone is working harder than ever to ensure we are ready in time.
Once the Musosya dam is complete we will begin to see a truly transformed Kitui, and it wouldn’t be happening without your kind support – thanks you so much, please do keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
P.S. If you’re looking for ethical Christmas presents, our range of great World Gifts transform the lives of people living in poverty, as well as giving your loved one a beautiful card to open on Christmas morning.
Progress and project highlights this month
Did you know?
Our new community farm will produce kale, spinach, tomatoes, coriander and onions. We’re building a strong fence around it to keep goats and other animals out!