Chesilot Water Project

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Introduction

A community is defined as a group of people living in the same geographic area with shared interests, principles and values. Communities are not monolithic and have differences in power structures, classes, gender and race. Community based programming must therefore take into account the unique structure of each community to establish effective programs that meets the needs of each community. In this paper, I will review the Chesilot Water Project, one of the successful community based programs explored in Were’s “Local Organization and Gender in Water Management: A Case Study from the Kenya Highlands.”

Kenya is one of the most water scarce countries in Africa and the world. Therefore, there are many areas with inadequate access to safe and sufficient water. The WHO estimates that only 12% of rural Kenyans have household water connections (WHO/UNICEF, 2004). During the 1980’s, the Kenyan government acknowledged the importance of local initiatives for the management of water resources in rural areas and for the improvement of water supply (Were et al, 2008). Since then, there have been several different water projects throughout the country.

In 1997, ten male farmers in the Kericho District, Kenya, initiated the Chesilot Water project. Its main goal was to “protect water sources and pipe water to their members’ homesteads” to increase access to safe and sufficient water for their farming and domestic needs (Were et al., 2008). Although it was largely community based, there were collaborative efforts between the community and two local government agencies; the Ministry of Water and the Department of social Services. Members of the Chesilot Water project came from a rural community where women and men have dis...

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...ith Paulo Freire’s—a successful popular educator—emphasis on the cycle of discussion, awareness and action. The ability of the members of the Chesilot water project—to successfully implement a water project through effective community organization makes the Chesilot Water project a good model for conducting community-based programming.

Works Cited

Were, E., Roy, J., & Swallow, B. (2008). Local organisation and gender in water management: A case study from the Kenya highlands. Journal of International Development, 20(1), 69-81. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

WHO/UNICEF. 2004. Coverage Estimates, Improved Drinking Water, Kenya. World Health Organization/United Nations Children’s Fund, Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation, Geneva, Switzerland; http://www.wssinfo.org/en/welcome.html, last accessed on 18 October 2007. World Resources Institute.

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