Kiwi-funded, climate-change innovation for drought-stricken Kenya

Kiwi-funded, climate-change innovation for drought-stricken Kenya
  • ChildFund appeals to New Zealanders to fund climate-change adaptation projects for drought-stricken Kenya
  • New solar-run reservoir holds over 1million litres of clean, safe drinking water
  • Children walk up to 12 kilometers to collect water for their families

In the face of increased threats from climate change, ChildFund is asking New Zealanders for donations to fund innovative projects to help already drought-stricken communities in Kenya to access safe, clean drinking water.

ChildFund programme manager Matt Fowler travelled to Emali, Kenya in July and visited a new ChildFund water reservoir that is run on solar technology and holds over 1million litres of clean, safe drinking water that is accessed by over 3,000 people.

"We are seeing every year now worsening drought through failed rains in Kenya that previously we saw every three to four years, this new ChildFund water infrastructure was installed in a bone dry looking riverbed, whereas in fact under this riverbed sand is holding a large amount of water that is now being captured and filtered through a porous sump tank and is a great example of a climate-change adaptation project," Matt says.

"While drilling boreholes, laying water pipes and installing tanks remain as important project elements of increasing access to water, ChildFund is working more and more with communities on new solutions that are able to address large scale impacts of drought and climate change."

The reservoir and tank system at Mulala has a solar-powered treatment plant that will pump the water, including to children, at four schools and over 500 households. ChildFund will work with the communities on ongoing maintenance of the equipment.

Matt visited Mulala Girls' High School which is connected to the new reservoir and says the school, that has 800 students, had not had a clean water source before.

"I spoke with the principal at Mulala Girls High and she said that previously, towards the end of the day, the girls would not focus on learning because they knew they had to run to the borehole to get water after school, water that could make them sick but now they do not have to worry about that."

Children can walk up to 12 kilometers to fetch water for their families in this area of Kenya, a task that usually falls on females and often is at the cost of valuable learning time at school.

Other projects in Emali include boreholes powered by solar pumps saving the community not only the cost of the diesel which previously was used to power pumps but also causing less pollution, along with automated water kiosks.

Working with communities in the Pacific, Africa, and Asia, on innovative solutions to provide safe, clean drinking water for children is a focus for ChildFund. ChildFund is asking Kiwis to donate to its new water and sanitation hygiene appeal to help fund more innovative projects and to help wash away the injustice of dirty water. Visit to make a donation.

About ChildFund: ChildFund New Zealand is a member of ChildFund Alliance, a global network focused on ending violence and exploitation against children, and promoting a world in which all children enjoy their rights and achieve their full potential. Please visit for more information.