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Got Osimbo Water Project (1)


"Got Osimbo" is an international water project led by Rotarian Carol Carper, a member of the Evergreen Rotary Club. This project is supported in part by Rotary eClub One through its international service grants. In a series of make-up programs, we will publish updates from the field by Carol Carper. Efforts have been made to retain the narrative in its original form with minimal edits.




In these letters I will commit to rereading and addressing the most glaring errors but at the same time I do not have an editor here and also am not a journalist.   At the onset I want to thank the Evergreen Rotarians, the Rotary Club of Evergreen and Rotary eClub One of district 5450 for their support of the activities of this period of Sept. 22nd to Dec. 2.  The Rotary Club of Utimishi Nairobi is our local Rotary host club.  Five members will travel to our project to mentor the community members.  They, George Oyeho and I all volunteer our time.  For this exercise the travel costs of the Utimishi Rotarians are being paid for by Colorado Rotarians.  Thanks to all of you.

It seems appropriate to do a summary of what George Oyeho and I are doing in the area of East Uholo.  George invited me to work in his home community of Uluthe in 2007.  We began in his birth village of about 700 people.  My task was to put in a well at a non-existent dispensary George was building with Minneapolis Rotarians and other well-wishers.  Within a year the project had grown to the Mungao sublocation of approximately 6,000 people.  This area is rural with the vast majority of residents being subsistence farmers.  It is 70 kilometers up the Busia Road from Kisumu and 20 kilometers going east to Kakamega.  In 2007, there were few roads, no health care, no affordable secondary school, no electricity and three primary schools in poor condition.

George with Friends of Africa Education (FOAE) out of Minneapolis built a secondary day school.  The school now has 220 scholars and has graduated their first class which performed well on national tests.  The school and the clinic were established by the community and Harambee Kenya.  Both institutions now belong to the Kenyan Government as planned.   The Uluthe Dispensary has 1500- 2000 patient contacts each month and has two nurses.  The Kenyan Government has committed to adding a maternity ward and staff quarters.  The dispensary will become a 24/7 clinic when that happens.  

Our root is organic farming.  We have trained 600 farmers and counting through an agent system. Harambee Kenya trains and pays stipends for the agents.   250 of the farmers have embraced the entire body of organic farming practice.   Once food secure, the farmers are sending their kids to schools and building new houses. They also join our agro business cooperatives formed in 2013 under Harambee Kenya and the Kenyan Government.  There are 20 of these agro cooperatives today and each cooperative have close to 200 members who come from all of East Uholo.  They train together, save together, negotiate loans together and when they are producing at a larger scale they will market together. These groups are trained under Harambee Kenya in leadership and business skills.  Many of them will be a part of the training I will be describing in the months ahead.   There are two cooperative irrigated vegetable demonstration gardens and a third developing. 

In 2012, Kenyan government officials and local village elders, approximate population of 30,000 people, asked Harambee Kenya (American NGO) to expand to cover the entire East Uholo area.  George responded that each of the three other sub locations must register with the government by forming a community based organization.  Expansion to address 30,000 people has been slow because our model requires that the residents identify and address their own needs.   The sub location of Got Osimbo by 2013 did so and are the focus community of the water and sanitation project we will be addressing.  The activities of Harambee Kenya have been funded by International Rotary, FOAE dollars and private individuals.

A moment to introduce to you two people that will be highlighted in these letters.  George Oyeho was born in this community.  He joined the Kenyan Army upon graduating from High School.  He worked for them for 26 years.  He became a colonel in the staff college, received a BA while working for the government and traveled all over the world receiving training and representing the Kenyan Army.  After retiring he migrated to Minneapolis Minnesota with his wife Emily and their 8 children.  He received two masters degrees while in America, an MBA and the other in non-profit management.   After 18 years in America George returned to live in Kenya.  He now teaches part time at Moi University and is a private management consultant serving primarily NGOs.  He and his wife live primarily in Mungao.  His children remain in America.  



Karen Quiring & Carol Carper at the airport
Karen Quiring with her host family

Karen Quiring took the leap and came along for the ride to volunteer in the project.  At this point I have to say she is an incredibly good traveler.  No complaints in all the 24 hours of grueling air flight.  Karen served many years in the Colorado mental health care system.  Her most recent job was as a victim’s advocate for the Park County Sheriff’s office.  Karen has a nursing background.  She will live and work with me in Sigomere.  Because of my long term relationship with the community I live and work without fear in the community.   The members of the community and also the Nairobi Rotarians will see that we am safe and well cared for.  The Kenyan government has prepared their medical system for an outbreak in EBOLA.  Much education around hand washing and sanitation is going on.  But most are focused on water borne diseases and malaria.  

Well that was not short! But I hope the readers have a better sense of the Harambee-Kenya journey.  

I am in Sigomere after a long journey.     I will be in Kenya until December 2 and Karen Quiring will be here until October 3.  We will be working with the nurses and the Community Health Workers of Mungao and Got Osimbo sub locations..  Our first two days we will meet with two different groups to find out what Kenya is doing about the threat of ebola.  We will offer to assist in any community awareness campaign.   When I was in Sigomere in June working on the water system sites for the Got Osimbo water project we identified two springs with ecoli.  Both springs have latrines above them.  We intend to use one of these areas for a borehole.  We discussed with the Got Osimbo Community Based Organization (CBO) what we should do.  The leaders, especially John Omollo, located an exhauster located 20 minutes drive away.  The community members and the home owners are raising the money to do this.   With the public health officer we will work with the Community Health Workers and schools to talk about hygiene and keeping the environment clean.  

 

Starting in October, four Rotarians will come at 2 week intervals to mentor the Got Osimbo Community about their water system.  The travel of these Rotarians was funded by donations of my fellow Rotarians in the Rotary club of Evergreen and Rotary eClub One of District 5450.  On behalf, of Got Osimbo and world peace I would like to thank you. 

The community raised 40,000 Kenyan shillings ($471 USD), a considerable investment in an idea for people who  make less than $2 a day,  for the Kenyan county water engineer to do a preliminary plan.  The proposed plan will include the drilling of 3 boreholes, storage tanks, gravity feed lines with booster pumps and 11 Kiosks.  The kiosks would include: water a dispensing tower, showers (income generating) vaulted toilets, and communal wash tubs.  To raise money to support the water system we may put tilapia pools in at the outsourcing since they would thrive in effluent with solid waste matter

 Following is a list of the topics that we will be discussing to form a plan with the community.  These plans will form the root of a Rotary global grant.    

This plan will include the following components:

1.       Conceptual plan (financed by the community delivered by the County water engineer  and finished)

2.       Water usage mapping- done by the women at the main water points

3.       Engineering-community decisions about components of the system

4.       Budget

5.       Benchmarks (including monitoring and evaluation) Setting up the 5yr/10yr monitoring plan 

6.       Logistics and scheduling-building the project

7.       Health studies and Outputs 

8.       Sustainability planning including resource generation (forming a utility to function as a business) Tilapia pans at each kiosk, bottled water to sell, ???

9.       Operation and management planning –begin a management protocol and guide.

10.   Training – Leadership, empowerment, management and repair of system

In early October, Lillian Mutua, a Utimishi Rotarian and nurse will spend a weekend with me.  We will be creating a plan for the health component of the water system.  We will be primarily working with the women.  One of our goals is to strengthen the voice of women in the panning and delivery process.  The women will do the water usage mapping. 

In November, Wafula,  another Rotarian will spend the weekend doing leadership training for 30 of our adult leaders.   He will be joined in this by Lillian.  The participants will be already existing leaders from our Mungao agriculture program, the community microfinance board, the Got Osimbo water project leaders and selected leaders of the agro business cooperatives.  

So my days will be full.  I will attempt to share with you my observations.  At this time I want to thank my husband Bob, who has not been well, for tolerating my long absences and also Dale Watne, his caregiver, who makes it possible for me to leave.  She also brightens his days  







Note:

  • Photo of Carol Carper was originally published by the Rotary Club of Parker on parkerrotary.org
  • Photo of George Oyeho was originally published in the Rotarian Magazine of January 2009
  • Other Photos are courtesy of Carol Carper
  • The opinions expressed by the authors of each Make-up Article do not necessarily represent the opinions of Rotary eClub One and its editorial staff.



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