Poor access to safe water and hygiene are the most basic factors behind illnesses among children in the world. Globally, children and their mothers spend a total of 200 hours every day to fetch water and carry it home. In addition to this, even more time is spent on collecting firewood to treat, heat and boil the water for drinking, cooking and hygiene. This is a heavy and time consuming task, which also puts children at risk when walking great distances in search of these natural resources.
In early 2020, Solvatten, ChildFund Kenya and Barnfonden joined forces to provide more children in the world with Solvatten Solar Safe Water Heaters. Together with the main objective to improve families’ access to safe and warm water, the partnership also aimed to strengthen the protection of children, and the environment, in vulnerable communities.
In an initial pilot, 144 households in Homa Bay and Kajiado County, Kenya, received Solvatten in July last year. The majority of these households collect their water from open lakes and rivers. In Homa Bay, less than 10% of the families had a well close enough to their homes to be able to use it frequently. This, in combination with scarcity of fuels to heat water for hygiene, resulted in frequent cases of stomach illness among the children.
A REMARKABLE CHANGE
After only three months of use, a clear improvement was noticed at both program locations. Except for safe water drinking, the families were also using the heated water for cooking, bathing, hand and face washing, and to prepare formula for their children. Some families, who provide for themselves through fishing, found the heated water very useful to encourage their customers to clean their hands before buying fish, to insure good hygiene.
From a socio-economic perspective, the general household costs for fuelwood and health expenses had decreased by 50% – a margin that enables valuable financial savings each month. Overwhelmingly, 97% of the respondents in Homa Bay highlighted their ability to save more time, now that they can use Solvatten for both treating and heating water.
“Access to clean water restores health for communities and families, reducing the amount of time that children, who often help with chores at home, spend walking and waiting to collect water daily. Through our partnership and provision of clean and safe water, children will have a chance to attend school and build a better future.”
– Chege Ngugi, Country Director ChildFund Kenya.
We look forward to a continued thriving partnership with ChildFund Kenya and Barnfonden. Together we can make children’s rights to health and hygiene possible.