The Kibera slum in Kenya is one of the largest informal settlements in Africa, housing up to 60% of Nairobi’s 4.3 million residents.
Beneath the overlapping tin roofs is a hive of activity. Residents move back and forth, hoping to find opportunities to help them cope with their difficult, everyday lives. They live tightly packed, in mostly improvised housing. It’s not unusual to have six people inhabiting a space of nine square meters, sleeping on the bare ground.
Most residents live in extreme poverty, earning less than $1 USD per day. Most live hand to mouth, day to day. Diseases caused by poor hygiene are prevalent as most lack access to electricity, medical care, and clean water.
On May 8, 2020, massive landslides in the Aberdare ranges damaged some of the water lines that bring water to Nairobi. The water company was forced to shut down the water supply to many parts of the city, including Kibera.
To cope with the lack of water, Kibera residents began to use sewer water for their drinking, cooking, washing, and bathing needs. Out of school due to the pandemic, children would walk up to three kilometres searching for a source, then immediately drink the unsafe water.
Cholera was a serious threat. An outbreak would have compounded the pressure on a health system already strained by COVID-19.
Some supplies of clean water were available, however, the price of the water had increased beyond the means of many residents.
“It was a challenge to even afford one jerrycan of water.” – Beatrice
ADRA Canada, in partnership with ADRA Kenya, has been providing access to clean water, handwashing facilities, and personal hygiene items. During the project, ADRA provided over 50,000 litres of clean, safe water a day for six days each week to over 4,000 people.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has really affected us. We’ve lost our sources of livelihood. But at least we have free access to clean water, thanks to ADRA Kenya.” – Elijah
Some of the water was sourced from vendors in the Kibera settlement, which helped them to sustain their businesses during this challenging time.
“We have really benefitted from ADRA’s water project here in Kibera. We are now able to meet other financial obligations since we don’t have to buy water anymore. We are indeed grateful to ADRA Kenya for this form of support given that these are hard economical times.” – Everlyne
Priority was given to families with infants, pregnant women, the chronically ill, and the elderly.
“I want to thank ADRA Kenya for giving expectant women a priority at the water collection points. We do not even queue for water. In fact, they even help us carry the water home.” – Liliane
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