Bringing Safe Water to a Girls School in Kenya's Largest Slum
“In Kibera, where most children do not attend school and life expectancy is 30, we are changing lives.”
– Jessica Posner, COO of Shining Hope for Communities
Safe Water Network provided technical assistance on the design and installation of the Kibera School for Girls water tower, which opened in January, 2012. This 100,000 liter tower is located in Kibera, Africa’s second largest informal settlement.
The Kibera School for Girls, founded by Shining Hope, is the first tuition−free school for girls in the community. Shining Hope also runs a free health clinic and community center on the premises. The water tower will provide safe water free of charge to the school and sell water to the surrounding 2,000 households at affordable rates.
Safe Water Network was represented at the opening by Board Chair Josh Weston, CEO Kurt Soderlund and board member, Robert Forrester (also CEO of Newman’s Own Foundation).
The event also featured remarks from the US Ambassador to Kenya, Major General (Ret) and former COO of Safe Water Network, Scott Gration. Ambassador Gration was national security adviser to the Obama Presidential Campaign. His wife, Mrs. Judy Gration, officially opened the school with a ribbon cutting.
Concurrent to the launch of the water tower was a doubling of the school’s student capacity. Both projects were supported by Newman’s Own Foundation, which has contributed $750,000 to the school.
“We are grateful for the continuing support of Newman’s Own Foundation,” said Jessica Posner, Chief Operating Officer of Shining Hope for Communities, “as well as Safe Water Network’s technical assistance. In Kibera, where most children do not attend school and life expectancy is 30, we are changing lives”.
Now that the tower has successfully launched, Safe Water Network is training local operators on how to run and maintain the facility. Working with Shining Hope, the organization is also helping introduce an integrated health and hygiene educational program, as well as several community demand generation initiatives to create awareness of the benefits of drinking safe water.
Through its Technical Assistance services, Safe Water Network aids organizations interested in providing safe, affordable water to those in need. This capability includes comprehensive training materials in the form of tool-kits and manuals.
“We are very pleased with everyone’s effort in Kibera,” says Kurt Soderlund, CEO of Safe Water Network. “The broader objective is to capture the learning from this project so that we can develop our Technical Assistance capability to support the work of other organizations seeking to provide safe water”.