In Kenya it is estimated that only a third of the population has access to safe drinking water close to their homes at an affordable price. Between the year 2012 and 2013, International Transformation Foundation members worked together on a country-wide research project. The project looked into sustainable clean drinking water system(s). The root problem of the Kenyan water system projects in most communities were summed up in two where:
+ The water system with the technical components to get groundwater to the tap and
+ The paying system that describes what to pay for, how to maintain the system and how the business is set up; the social system difficulties lead to inaccessible clean drinking water.
The Join the Pipe project aims to install sustainable tap water stations near playgrounds, city centers, parks, schools and bus stations in Kenya; for people to drink clean tap water whenever needed. The project also works to bring awareness on environmental impact of production and waste of bottled water. The project is operated in partnership with The Join the Pipe Foundation, a community of tap water drinkers promoting tap water drinking and helps developing nations gain access to clean drinking water and sanitation. The foundation is based in Amsterdam and fundamentally provides specially designed and sustainable products that characterize the project in Kenya. These products include a)water saving tap station that not only provides clean drirnking water but also conseres water with its auto-stop design.It has a customized filter system that removes last impuritiesfrom water and ensures that water coming out is clean and safe for driking, b)refillable water bottles made of BPA-free plastic for people to drink from, c)jerry carry karts which reduce the physical injury from constant lifting and carrying heavy loads of water on heads of the children and d)drip taps for hand washing. These help in preventing spread of waterborne diseases and reduces 90% of water wastage.
The Join the pipe Project is divided into three sub projects to ensure its effectiveness:
- The first microcredit project for schools with a sustainable business model, creating money for WASH activities in school.
- A repaid loan system that is redeployed to additional schools in need, thus reducing the need for subsidies and dependency.
- A pre-paid credit card system ensures that school members pay a lower price per 20 liter container of water.
- All sanitation facilities are improved around the school, the money from the water kiosk is used to purchase soap and toilet paper for the school children.
- Jerry carry karts reduce the physical injury from constant lifting and carrying heavy loads of water on the heads of the children.
- Increased safety as children do not have to go to remote and dangerous places to fetch water.
- We increase school attendance as children no longer need to absent themselves from school to secure water for their families.
- A place for work experience to learn about teamwork; commitment, leadership and responsibility.
- Children are able to transport more water to their own houses straight from school
- A school kiosk saves time and waiting in lines at other water points.
In tandem with the recent plastic ban in Kenya and our interest in keeping the environment clean, we came up with a especially designed bottle bike/ vending trolley idea. Here we sell refillable water bottles at an affordable price. This way one is able to carry clean drinking water at their own convenience and we are able to prevent pollution through disposable drinking water bottles. The bottle bikes offer employment opportunities to willing youth as the idea is for them to sell as many bottles as possible and earn income from it.
Although there are various drinking water points around Nairobi City Centre, none of these points are functional because all the taps have been vandalized. This leaves those who can’t afford to purchase bottled water to suffer. Plastic water bottles, a source of clean drinking water for those who can afford it, litter the area. ITF saw the opportunity to provide access to clean tap water for thousands of people, while preventing the use of disposable water bottles. This brought about the idea of installing unbreakable public Join the Pipe drinking water taps in the City Center at vandalized drinking water points. Thus far, we have managed one public drinking water station in Nairobi’s main recreational Park (Uhuru Park) in collaboration with Nairobi City County Government - Environment, Energy & Water department.As of December 2016, since the project was launched in 2013, we have successfully built 9 water kiosks across 9 schools/communities in three 3 counties (Nairobi, Bungoma and Siaya) directly serving 4338 students and 70587 people around these communities on a daily basis.