Conclusion of Kiritiri Water Tank Project – Kenya
This project has been completed under the direction of Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Jennifer Mueller. The project was designed to begin an Interlocking Stabilized Soil Bricks (ISSB) operation, and then to proceed to build water tanks.
The Maragwa Umoja group water project was finished this summer, designed to provide not only water but income generation and improved housing opportunity. I traveled to Kiritiri, Kenya May 18th and stayed until August 18th to oversee the group training in the use of two Interlocking Soil Stabilized Brick (ISSB) machines, starting a business, and building 10 water tanks as training.
There were a few hiccups that slowed things down namely the company making the machines taking weeks longer to deliver, leading to the construction not being quite finished when I left. Once I was gone, getting photos of the final product was harder to do until a child of one of the members with email access went home just recently.
Over the three months, we trained some 30 people in how to make the ISSBs, including a crew of masonry students. This provided them with funds to continue their schooling, as they worked the machines in a school internship, and will increase their job prospects once they graduate. They were also hired to help with the tank construction over school break.
In all we made over 3,000 bricks and built water tanks in 10 locations in the community. Once we finished with the training portion of the project, one was rented immediately to make water tanks for a deaf school being built in the next community by the Anglican mission. There were some 10 people in line eager to rent the machines as well for either water tanks or cheaper housing.
We spent some time discussing a business model that would work both with the group’s abilities and needs. The final product should help the community of several thousand with materials while providing the group with income and directly helping with their own water needs.
We are grateful to Jennifer for completing this excellent project. Work of this type empowers communities by presenting training and economic opportunities, in addition to improving water management capacity.