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.
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”
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.
About this project: The community of Kitui in Kenya have spent two years working on a project to re-sculpt their landscape and bring back a sustainable supply of water. This has all been possible thanks to generous supporters in the UK. Our next project is beginning soon – find out more and get involved.
Over the last two years we have planted trees, dug terraces, built dams and learned everything necessary to bring safe water back to the Kitui community.
Tom, from CAFOD’s fundraising team, challenged himself to give up hot drinks for Lent. He tells us how he got on, and reflects on how the generosity of CAFOD supporters in the UK is helping people like those he met in Kenya.
This Lent, I took on a challenge very different to my usual no-sweet-things observance. In line with CAFOD’s aqua themed fundraising appeal, I decided to take up a water challenge and drink no hot drinks for 40 days and 40 nights.
For some people this would be fairly straight forward. But I come from a long line of tea drinkers and would usually have at least 3 cups a day. A visit to my Nan’s is synonymous with having a brew, and if you were to turn one down you’d immediately be confronted with a “What’s wrong?!”
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.
Paul Bennett is Executive Chairman at CAFOD corporate partner b:ssec. Here he tells us about the huge challenge he and Wayne Ward, Managing Director of b:ssec, are taking on for CAFOD.
For three days in May 2016, Wayne and I will be taking our mountain bikes off road and cycling 180 miles in aid of CAFOD. The ‘Wessex Way’ ride takes us from Westbury in Wiltshire to Beachy Head in East Sussex, across rough terrain and through some really varied landscapes.
It’s a ride that has been on my bucket list for a while. Life is too short not to do what you love! Wayne was mad enough to join me on it – so great. What’s fantastic about this challenge is we will be having fun, reducing the middle age spread and raising money for CAFOD. Any sponsorship that we receive will go towards supporting vulnerable farmers in Kitui, Kenya, to grow enough food, access clean water and engage with the local government on the issues that prevent them from earning a living.
CAFOD is helping farming families in Kitui to plant seeds and to terrace their farms, re-sculpting the landscape to keep rainwater where it is needed and stop topsoil from being washed away during the rainy season. So that crops flourish, the farmers are being supplied with solar-powered drip irrigation kits and sand dams to collect rainwater. We are proud to be involved in making this important work happen. Continue reading “CAFOD corporate partner: cycling 180 miles for Kitui”
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!
After the sand and check dams came through the rains in good shape, and with the fifth sand dam almost complete, we’ve been looking at some additional work which may be possible here in Kitui, and have decided to build some off-take wells. These are connected to the sand dams – water flows out of the dam and into the well, which is easier to use for collecting water. Continue reading “Hands On: Small things that make a big difference”
About the project: Hands On is CAFOD’s special series of projects that allow individuals to donate to a specific project. Our project in Kitui has been running for over a year and is seeing some great results. Our latest project is in need of donations – find out how you can help the community of Altiplano in Bolivia.
With four sand dams and many dozens of check dams completed, and work continuing on a fifth sand dam and the main Musosya dam, the first big test arrived in the form of a short rainy period.
This would really show whether the work done so far would produce the results we were all hoping for. Thankfully the answer has been a resounding yes! The check dams held firm, and the sand dams filled with water, which the community here in Kitui were able to put to use right away. Continue reading “Hands On Kitui: A testing time for the dams”