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Seeing the unseen: The value of water

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

Dig Deep has been partnering with Bomet County for over 10 years, building our expertise and trusted relationships across the county. At the same time, we share the successes and challenges of our work with partners in Kenya and around the world so that our model can be replicated elsewhere.

To mark World Water Week, we asked our Programmes Officer, Joe Hook, to reflect on how we are helping Bomet County to digitise data collection, improving planning, and sharing vital information with decision makers and those on the front line to ensure we are reaching those most in need.

As long as we are needed, we will be there to support Bomet's 1 million residents to achieve universal access to clean water, safe sanitation and good hygiene.

In the Spring of 2021 we set out to get a comprehensive understanding of the access people had to water and sanitation in Sotik sub-county (~250,000 people). We surveyed thousands of people, and talked to schools and health centres to establish how people got water, and the toilets they used. We also made a registry of all the local water points, and their state of repair to get a picture of the supply side as well as the demand.

This information has been transformative to Dig Deep as an organisation, as it's enabled us to change the scope at which we operate, and Bomet County as a whole. We've been able to move from working at the level of individual projects for hundreds of people at a time, to planning how we can improve the lives of tens of thousands of people. This has also led to the County Government of Bomet working closely with us to produce the 'Bomet County WASH Roadmap' for achieving universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene services for the entire county.

The data-driven roadmap has been a very significant piece of work. It lays out a plan for improving water services in Bomet County up until 2050, and shows how we can work together to rapidly accelerate to 'Safely Managed' WASH services.

Armed with the roadmap, the county government will be able to better channel resources to reach the communities who are most in need, and ultimately ensure that everyone can access the services that are enshrined in the constitution of Kenya as a human right.

Focusing on one area, to solve one big problem

We now need to survey the other four sub-counties in Bomet. The data we've collected in Sotik represents the responses of 250,,000 people, but this is only one quarter of the total population of the County. This also means that we don't yet have a granular understanding of the variation in environment, demography and local infrastructure across all the sub-counties we work in.

Because of this, over the next 12 months we are committing to partner with the County Government of Bomet to complete this survey across the rest of the county. We will store the data on the WASH Hub that we founded last year, and that has become an integral part of the data management operation for water and sanitation in the County. The responses we get will help the county government to refine the roadmap to accommodate the local needs of people, and better serve communities.

For us, and our partners, this is evolution by design: we want to keep evolving and updating our plans, and so we will also be regularly repeating the surveys we have done to improve our understanding, and track progress towards the goal of safely managed access to water and sanitation for all.

The survey we did in 2021 helped us to identify spring protection as a critical piece of the puzzle of water access; we're excited to discover more of those pieces as we expand its reach to a further 750,000 people.

Written by Joe Hook, Programmes Officer

At Dig Deep, we believe everyone has a fundamental right to the provision of clean water, safe toilets and good hygiene. Our purpose is to collaborate with the Kenyan government, local businesses and communities to transform the provision of clean water, sanitation and good hygiene in Bomet County - one of the most challenging and least resourced areas in the country.

There are two pillars to our work: using practical, immediate solutions and long-term partnerships to create sustainable improvements in health, education and livelihoods for Bomet's 1 million residents.

These pillars of our work reinforce each other:

  • Our practical, immediate solutions provide a blueprint for services that work and are being scaled through our partnerships as part of The Bomet County WASH Roadmap 2022-2050

  • Our long term partnerships for change strengthen the local systems and will ensure that the water, sanitation and hygiene projects we are investing in now are maintained and improved for generations to come

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