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Nairobi
January 15, 2021
County Focus Drinking Water Projects

Water projects to end shortage in Kakamega

Water projects, Kakamega

Across drought-ridden counties in Northern Kenya, solar-powered sensors help ensure speedy repairs and proper maintenance for
boreholes, making the difference between health and
hardship for the many rural Kenyans who rely on this
infrastructure as their only source of clean water.
SweetSense, a U.S. company that joined forces with
Millennium Water Alliance in 2015 as a founding
partner of the Kenya RAPID program, manufacture solar-powered remote sensors in five counties: Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana, and Wajir.
SweetSense joins Kenya RAPID’s other private sector
partners, such as IBM and Davis & Shirtliff, in building the capacity of county governments to manage
the delivery of water and sanitation services.
Doris Kaberia, MWA Kenya RAPID’s chief of party,
explained how water management before SweetSense
intervention could be problematic. “If you go to a
county minister and you ask them ‘How many water
points do you have? How many are functioning? What is the operation and maintenance regime? How many
beneficiaries are you serving?,’ these counties often
cannot give an answer because they do not have a
centralized database system,” she said. “So when it
comes to decision making for investment or budgeting, it’s not really based on data.”
SweetSense deploys instruments on hand and electric water pumps, water tanks, and water distribution systems to measure rates of utilization and
functionality. These measures are then used to help
dispatch technicians, supplies, or other responses.
With the aid of the sensors, water directors and
county water ministers can monitor individual boreholes right from their desks, rather than having to
travel hundreds of miles for manual assessments.
“They can see which boreholes are not performing well, and which one is almost failing, instead of
waiting for it to fail,” Kaberia said.
The Kenya national average access to improved water
sources is 48% in rural areas. In the region of Kenya targeted for this activity, the average is closer to 27%.
This baseline provides one of the first opportunities to institutionalize accountable, cost-effective
feedback mechanisms in delivering water services.
Key outcomes in this program include a responsible
and accountable government framework for water
services; replicable and scalable business models to
deliver these services; and community engagement

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