Home Environment Maasai villagers breathe sigh of relief after getting access to clean water

Maasai villagers breathe sigh of relief after getting access to clean water

There are about 20,000 residents living in the villages surrounding Amboseli National Park – and the scarce water has to be shared among the people, livestock and wildlife

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There are about 20,000 residents living in the villages surrounding Amboseli National Park – and the scarce water has to be shared among the people, livestock and wildlife
There are about 20,000 residents living in the villages surrounding Amboseli National Park – and the scarce water has to be shared among the people, livestock and wildlife. Photo: Courtesy

After years of walking for long distances in search of water, a Maasai community in Amboseli village – about 200 kilometres south of Kenya’s capital Nairobi – can breathe a sigh of relief following the recent launch of two clean water projects by humanitarian organisations.

The current prolonged droughts that have been brought on by climate change have worsened the problem of water scarcity in this area, and these water projects come as a godsend for the pastoralists and schoolchildren.

According to Joseph Parteri Kotene, a resident of the area and local tourist guide, the two boreholes that were funded by Humans Care Foundation (HCF) and Mila4Africa are lifesaving for residents who have been trekking 20 kilometres to fetch water from Amboseli National Park dams. The nonprofits also refurbished water wells in the area.

“We used to make a round trip of about 40 kilometres to the water points at least once every week to fetch water, which would take one about five hours. But when it rains at times we get water for the temporary ponds,” Kotene said.

There are about 20,000 residents living in the villages surrounding Amboseli National Park – and the scarce water has to be shared among the people, livestock and wildlife.

The community now hopes that with more support for construction of water sources, they would be empowered to restore the environment and the grasslands by planting trees, curbing overgrazing and stopping deforestation. Photo: Courtesy

“We now have access to clean water for household use and to feed the livestock. Children in schools can now quench their thirst with clean and safe water. We appreciate this support and hope to get more boreholes in the future,” Kotene said.

The water will not only boost the quality of life in the area, but also the education standards of more than 100 children who attend the nearby Amboseli District School.

With the community’s pastoral culture and reliance on the grasslands for pasture, the water is still not enough for the villages and their livestock. Photo: Courtesy

“We requested the church to help us bring children here to get education but we have had the challenge of a broken borehole. Children could not access safe drinking water until this project was done,” said Monica James, a teacher at the school.

According to Mila Anufrieva, the founder of Mila4Africa, reconstruction of the water wells for the Maasai community has not only provided them with access to clean drinking water, but has also shed light on the wider issues faced by the people.

“A detailed plan for further assistance is now being developed. The project is a step towards a better future for the Maasai people, addressing not only their need for water but also their overall well-being, preserving their heritage and enhancing their way of life,” said Anufrieva.

She called on well-wishers to join hands to alleviate poverty in such communities and uplift the lives of the people, especially women and children who bear the brunt of poverty the most.

 Still not enough water for Maasai

“This collaborative effort serves as a model for how organisations can work together to make a positive impact on communities in need. We are intentional about helping the community and we will continue with the mission,” she added.

With the community’s pastoral culture and reliance on the grasslands for pasture, the water is still not enough for the villages and their livestock.

“It is disheartening to see children carry 20 liters of dirty water. There is a need to drill more boreholes because adequate supply would improve their living standards and preserve their culture,” said Anufrieva.

The community now hopes that with more support for construction of water sources, they would be empowered to restore the environment and the grasslands by planting trees, curbing overgrazing and stopping deforestation.

The communities identified modern agriculture as a technique to cultivate their own crops using the same water source for sustainable food security instead of relying on relief food.

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