As the Chair of the Board of Trustees and co-founder of the Charity, I am proud to present Dig Deep’s 10 Year Impact Report.
In the region where we work in Kenya, 8 out of 10 people lack access to clean water and sanitation. For the last 10 years we have focused exclusively on working with schools and communities to change this; building taps and toilets, ensuring that water and sanitation services are maintained for the long term, and providing vital hygiene training to the next generation.
In the 10 years since we were founded, our highly committed team have now built taps and toilets and delivered training events which are already contributing to improved health and hygiene for over 219,000 people.
The scale of this impact has been achieved through our focused, community led and long term approach. We continue to focus our work in Bomet County in the South West of Kenya, further building on our partnerships and expertise in the area. We understand that it is local government, business and leaders who will ultimately overcome the water and sanitation crisis, which is why our locally embedded Kenyan staff partner with their communities to design solutions that work for and empower local people and institutions. Perhaps most crucially of all, we have not simply built projects and walked away. We will not stop until we’re completely confident these projects can and will be maintained for generations to come, which is why we continue our commitment to monitoring all of our projects for a minimum of 5 years after completion.
All of this has only been possible because of the generosity of our Dig Deep community – especially the grant making bodies, exceptionally generous individual donors and the 1,500 volunteers who have taken on Dig Deep’s fundraising challenge events in East Africa and the UK.
In the last 10 years, this community has together made over 29,000 individual donations, ranging from 10p to over £100,000, raising a total of £1,945,131 for the charity’s work. This generosity has made everything possible and generated the ripples of impact set out in this report; the alleviation of life threatening disease, improvement in exam results and the increased enrolment of girls in secondary education, are just three such examples. On behalf of the Dig Deep team and all those whose lives you have changed, thank you.
We are now striving to continue scaling up this impact – our target is to double the number of children we have provided taps, toilets and training to by the end of 2020. We hope that you will continue to join us in this journey.
Chair of the Board
In the 10 years since Dig Deep was founded:
Our supporters have made over 29,000 individual donations, ranging from 10p to over £100,000
In total our supporters have gifted £1,945,131 to the charity’s work
We have partnered with 76 schools and 21 community groups in Kenya
We have built taps that will supply clean water to at least 46,652 people in just the next 5 years
We have built toilets that will provide safe sanitation to at
least 22,998 people in just
the next 5 years
We have delivered vital hygiene training that will improve the health of as many as 219,215
people in just the next 5 years
The diagram below shows how our reach has grown over time and key milestones over the last decade.
Dig Deep was founded by Kenyan and British volunteers in 2007, with the aim of helping to increase access to clean water and sanitation for communities in rural Kenya. After establishing our programmes we employed our first staff members in 2011, and have now completed infrastructure and training projects in 97 schools and communities in the southwest of the country, building taps and toilets, and delivering training which will contribute to improved health and hygiene for as many as 219,000 people.
The Need in Bomet
The majority of our work is focused in Bomet County, Kenya
Stunting of Children
Childhood stunting is caused by malnourishment, and it is thought up to 50% of malnourishment cases are caused by a lack of access to clean water and sanitation. Children who suffer from stunting have a high mortality rate, due to an increased susceptibility to infectious diseases such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and measles. In addition, these children are not only likely to have poorer educational outcomes, but also suffer from impaired cognitive development. Therefore a lack of access to clean water and sanitation is not only having a huge negative effect upon individual lives in Bomet, but, with so many children suffering the long-term implications of malnourishment, an adverse impact on the whole community.
What We Do
Building infrastructure to provide schools and communities with reliable, clean water supplies - normally by installing rooftop rainwater-harvesting systems. In the area of Kenya we work, Bomet County, there are few rivers but rainfall is plentiful. We carefully calculate the roof surface area and storage needed to provide a low cost, sustainable solution at each project location.
Building latrines in schools, providing children with a safe, hygienic and private space in which to go to the toilet. We build Ventilated Improved Pit Latrines which control odour, reduce flies and have washable slabs which allow them to be easily kept clean.
Delivering training to teachers and community health workers in health and hygiene, ensuring that communities understand how disease is spread and what they need to do to keep themselves and their families healthy. We also deliver Menstrual Health Management Training directly to girls – menstruation and the damaging taboos surrounding it are a huge barrier to female education in Kenya.
Our locally embedded Kenyan staff work with their communities to design solutions that work for them. We empower community leaders, teachers and water committees through training them on how to manage and maintain their projects. We are on the ground to help communities solve their problems from the bottom up. We base our work around what matters to people – health, school attendance and attainment.
We are not trying to solve every problem everywhere. We work solely on water and sanitation in South-West Kenya in Bomet County. Bomet is a marginalized area of Kenya, much neglected by national government and we are the only NGO working on WASH in the county. We are committed to becoming experts in this area, fully understanding the context, culture, and geography to make our work more effective. To do this we work closely with the County Government.
We do not build and walk away. We will not stop until we’re completely confident the project will be maintained for generations to come. Our reputation for innovative and robust mobile phone based monitoring has led to us setting the National Framework for monitoring WASH in Schools in Kenya, alongside organisations such as UNICEF and The Red Cross.
Monitoring & Support
Within the Kenyan development community it is thought as many as 60% of all water projects fail within six months of completion, largely because government bodies, NGOs and donors build a well and walk away. We have a very different approach. We monitor all projects at least once every six months for a minimum of five years after the initial intervention.
We lead the field in transparency, publishing project locations and 3 accessible indicators on Google Maps, and sharing our monitoring data and methodology on request. This allows others to learn from our monitoring results and ensures we are accountable to our beneficiaries and supporters. Our monitoring system has been appraised and adopted by several other organisations working in our sector.
In our experience, change does not necessarily follow a linear progression. In order to reinforce the training Dig Deep provides and ensure sustainability of water and sanitation projects, proactive partnership building is required over this 5-year monitoring period. This long-term regular monitoring means that hygiene education and management of water and sanitation resources are prioritised, becoming a sustainable part of school and community culture.
This data is used by the Dig Deep team to inform 32 indicators and 11 headline indicators, which rate progress at the school on water supply, sanitation, operation and maintenance and hygiene behaviour and knowledge. A member of the Dig Deep team then returns to the school to present these ratings to management, local government officials, parents and other stakeholders, gather their feedback and agree a school Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) action plan for the next six months.
A member of the Dig Deep team visits a school to gather 157 quantitative and qualitative data points, using a combination of structured observations, interviews with teachers and student knowledge assessments. This data is inputted electronically meaning our system is entirely paperless. Stakeholder meetings are also held periodically which gather together schools, the local government and community members to offer Dig Deep feedback at a wider programme level.
The evaluation indicators and qualitative feedback from all of the schools are used to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our WASH in Schools programme, in conjunction with the County Government. Making informed interventions towards the sustainability of each school is useful but our system also allows us to look for trends on a programmatic level and to adjust our approach accordingly. This ensures that we are continually evolving, improving and learning. At the highest level, the data we produce is designed to be consistent with National and International WASH data collection systems so that we can also contribute and benefit from wider learning in the WASH sector.
It is our view that the data we collect is only useful to the extent that it can be both understood and acted on by our team, supporters, and (most crucially) the local people and institutions we work with. This is why, for example, we provide our school partners with clear one-page monitoring reports and action plans that we share, discuss and agree with school management, parent-teacher associations, and local government.
Our supporter’s investment is the first drop...
the ripples change everything.
In Bomet County 4 in 10 children suffer from stunting due to inadequate nutrition, resulting in a permanent impairment in their physical and cognitive development. We know that up to 50% of these cases could be prevented with access to clean water and safe sanitation.
Diseases from dirty water kill more people every year than all wars or forms of violence worldwide, and children are the worst affected. Access to clean water reduces diarrhoea by 21%; safe sanitation reduces diarrhoea by 37%; and the simple act of washing hands at critical times can reduce diarrhoea cases by as much as 35%. Our 5 year monitoring of the schools we have worked in to date has shown that on average absenteeism due to diarrheal diseases reduces by 80%.
Access to clean water and sanitation also transforms educational performance. Five years ago not a single school we have worked with in Bomet was in the top 25 schools on the exam league tables. Today 7 of the top 10 are from schools we have helped to get access to taps, toilets and training. Our 5 year monitoring of the schools we have worked in to date has shown that on average:
national exam results are improved by 12%
enrolment at schools increases by 17%
enrolment of girls in secondary school increases by 27%
People fortunate enough to grow up with access to water from a tap and a safe toilet to use often can’t imagine living without them. We know that water and sanitation promotes dignity and brings happiness to people who have never had access to them.
Water and sanitation access unleashes a community’s economic potential. We know that on average every £1 invested in water and sanitation yields over £4 in economic return (due to less absence at work, reduced burden on health services, etc.). The impact of increased educational attainment on the lives of children, their families, and the community as a whole - in terms of poverty reduction - will be enormous.
Empowerment for Girls
Lacking access to clean water places the burden of collection disproportionately on women and girls - in the areas where we work they walk up to 80 minutes a day to collect water in the dry season. Provision of taps and toilets removes this burden and also increases girl’s attendance in school, hugely increasing the opportunities available to them.
Tembwo Junior Academy is located in Ndanai, South-West Kenya. The school was typical of the region in having no access to clean drinking water or safe latrines for their 277 students. Established in 2007 the mixed primary school also has a small boarding contingent for those who travel far from rural areas. The students were forced to drink from hand-dug ponds shared with livestock and to use wooden pit latrines, which offer little privacy and are prone to collapse. When we first visited the school there were no handwashing stations and no soap on the compound. The result was a high incidence of absenteeism due to diarrheal disease, which was limiting the potential of the students to achieve high grades.
With the support of The British and Foreign School Society and our student fundraisers, Dig Deep built 20,000 litres of rainwater storage, using the roofs of the school buildings adding gutters and tanks. These tanks are fitted with a first flush system, which is a downpipe located just before the inlet to the tank which has a perforated end cap to allow water to drain slowly. This means that the initial few mm of rain that falls on the roof can collect and disperse slowly in the downpipe, along with all the dust and muck that has collected on the roof, and when the pipe fills the clean water passes over the top and into the tank. Combined with treating the tanks with chlorine this ensures the water remains fit for consumption.
Dig Deep built 6 latrines for girls and 6 for boys. Dig Deep uses Ventilated Improved Pit Latrine designs in all of our sanitation work. These latrines are designed to contain smell and flies by controlling airflow and light in the system. Large vent pipes on the roof go down all the way to the pit and are capped with mesh. Vent pipes allow more light into the pit than the cubicle openings and any flies that make their way into the pit are attracted to the vents where they eventually die. This contains the spread of disease. In Ndanai the soil is highly unstable as it has a high clay content. This means the pits must be heavily reinforced below ground. The addition of a urinal for boys with a separate soak pit reduces the need for exhausting from the pit and the bathroom for girls allows them to shower and change during menstruation.
We also trained two teachers to become WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Champions. During this training the importance of school WASH practices are discussed, in the context of their schools, and the basis for fecal-oral contamination and the barriers that can be implemented are presented. A key component is effective handwashing techniques and handwashing facilities. The training concluded with the development of a School Action Plan for WASH to ensure that the infrastructure and hygiene curriculum become embedded within the school. Menstrual Health Management Training was delivered directly by Dig Deep to the older girls in order to break down damaging taboos and to teach the girls how to manage their periods and still attend school.
Dig Deep has been running overseas fundraising challenges for eight years, and as our largest source of income, they play a critical role in supporting our work in Kenya. In the last eight years over 2,000 people from across 74 different organisations and universities have taken on a Dig Deep Challenge, from hiking the Inca Trail to climbing Kilimanjaro, to raise funds for our projects.
Our challenges are organised by Dig Deep’s social enterprise ‘Dig Deep Challenges’. We currently offer four East African fundraising challenges; Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, the Maasai Cycle Challenge and the Maasai Marathon. We are proud of our challenge programme; we are committed to ethical and sustainable travel and this approach has led to us being the only UK charity awarded the ‘Partner for Responsible Travel’ status by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project.
In 2017 we had 374 fundraisers take part in our challenges, ranging from climbing Snowdon to Mt Kilimanjaro, to raise funds for our projects in Kenya.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our past and current fundraisers who, through their brilliant fundraising efforts, have enabled us to help communities and schools gain access to taps, toilets and training.
Whilst walking through the Fresher’s fair at the University of Roehampton, I was hoping to join numerous societies but I was sure that I wanted one to be charitable and another to involve climbing mountains. Therefore, when I came across the Dig Deep stand at the Fresher’s fair, I knew that getting involved with Dig Deep was meant to be. Becoming a team leader made me certain of this and since that day I have been on the most incredible journey.
The many fundraising events we have had at university, as well as the socials, have given my team and I loads of time to bond and we all feel like a family. Fundraising has been a fantastic experience as it has not only been really fun but also extremely rewarding. I have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t with regards to raising money and I have also learned a lot about myself. I never thought that I would spend 5 days walking 100 miles on my own, run a half marathon or spend as many nights making bizarre looking ‘mountain cakes’ until I joined Dig Deep. Looking back, I can firmly say that all of these experiences have genuinely brought me so much joy and have helped me to grow into a more confident and happy person (even though I have now realised baking will never be my strong point).
Now that most of the fundraising is done, I am getting increasingly excited about the prospect of climbing Kilimanjaro. I can’t wait to be there for my team to support them to complete the challenge, especially as I am known for my pep talks so I am happy that I can finally put them to good use! I am also really looking forward to spending those 6 days climbing with my team as I know we will work great together. It is going to be such a surreal feeling standing at the top of Kilimanjaro knowing that the money I have raised will have an impact on so many lives and that all of our hard work, both on and off the mountain was worth it!
There are so many reasons that I have loved fundraising for Dig Deep. Clean water and sanitation is a right, not a privilege so I am very happy that my money is going to a charity that is doing such vital work. The support that has been given to me as both a fundraiser and team leader has been incredible and has ensured that I have been in the best position possible to support my team. I am very blessed to have been given the position of beingteam leader of such an amazing group of people who are all pushing themselves to their limits to fundraise for an incredible charity!!!
By Nina Martynchyk