By Sarah Ooko, World Vision Senior Communications and Media Officer, Kenya
Esther, a mother of two, enjoys fetching water from a borehole that is located less than a kilometre from her home. This is one of the many water projects that were implemented by World Vision to improve access to clean and safe water for communities at Kainuk in Turkana County, Kenya.
Before the construction of the borehole, Esther and other women used to walk for over six kilometres to fetch water from a river situated in one of Turkana's forested areas.
This forest is home to poisonous snakes and other wild animals such as leopards, antelopes and warthogs that posed threats to community members who relied heavily on the river as their sole water source. Crocodiles were also in plenty.
"We used to get scared while going to the river. We were forced to go in groups for safety purposes. But still, there were incidences where people were attacked by wild animals and even killed in their search for water," Esther says.
Aside from the wild animals, the forest surrounding the river was also a hiding place for warring groups that fuelled numerous inter-communal conflicts in Turkana County.
"Whenever these wars broke out, women would be attacked, raped and even killed as they fetched water in the river. We were soft targets because the warriors targeting our community knew that we had to go there since it was our only source of water," she says.
The community continually risked their lives and overcame various hurdles to access the river water that was not even safe. It was heavily polluted and exposed families, especially young children to waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera, which are leading causes of child deaths in the country.
"When World Vision constructed this borehole, it was a dream come true for us and something short of a miracle! This water came near our homes and solved all the problems we used to face before," Esther says.
She notes that the easily accessible borehole has freed her and other women to spend quality time with their children and dedicate more time to their income generating activities.
Aside from supplying water to households, the borehole also serves a nearby school and health facility in Kainuk.
"I can say without doubt that our lives have been changed in a big way, thanks to this water project,” states Esther.