Nearly 2,700 primary school children in a drought-stricken region of rural Kenya are receiving much-needed drinking water and food thanks to the UK charity African Promise.
The Kasigau area of south-east Kenya is suffering from a near year-long dry spell which has left water supplies dry and caused recent harvests to fail.
African Promise, which has been operating in the region since 2008, is providing vital relief to the youngest and most vulnerable members of this community by delivering supplies of clean drinking water as well as food for its school lunch programme.
In the last few weeks the charity has brought in 60,000 litres of fresh water whilst it is currently supplying enough food to provide a daily lunch to each-and-every pupil across its seven partner schools. Without this, children would be forced to walk long distances to fetch water or to go without entirely, whilst for many the lunch is currently their only guaranteed meal of the day.
Charles Coldman, founder and director of the charity, explains that this drought, which has been declared a national disaster by the Kenyan government, is one of the worst in living memory. “This is certainly the worst drought in the 9 years that African Promise has been working in Kasigau and the 14 years that I have been coming to the area, but many residents are telling us that is the worst since the 1970s.”
The charity is providing immediate relief but as Charles explains further it is also ensuring that the schools will be more resilient to future droughts, which he sees becoming more regular. “In addition to supplying water we are also further improving the rainwater catchment and storage potential of our partner schools; we are in the process of increasing capacity by 60,000 litres (around 25%) but ultimately we aim to ensure schools can harvest rainwater from every available roof area.”
It costs the charity just £1.50 to provide one child with a basic lunch of maize (or rice) and beans for a whole month and £110 to supply 10,000 litres of clean drinking water, which is brought in by bowser from sources up to 60km outside the project area. To find out more about how you can support the charity in its vital and urgent relief efforts and in its wider work with these schools, please visit their website at www.africanpromise.org.uk.