DEVELOPMENT – HOW GOVERNMENTS CAN GET IT WRONG

by ACT

  • Posted on March 10, 2016

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… ACT steps up to help a community

 

In 2010, the then new UK coalition government, cancelled DFID (Department for International Development) support for an initiative to expand the capacity of diaspora led small UK charities carrying out development projects at grass roots in developing countries. Although DFID’s in-house monitoring and evaluation reported that the added value contribution of the diaspora led organisations outweighed the small cost of DFID support, the minister’s reason for cancelling the support was that the overall impact would be marginal in the context of the needs. How so very wrong was this way of thinking?

Take for example the water project serving the Sitikho Ward in Webuye, Bungoma County in the Western province of Kenya. This project is being carried out by ACT working at grass root with local partner JTAN. Having paid the government fees, it has sourced water from the Milo mains supply in Webuye town and local volunteers have laid three kilometres of pipeline to the community in Sitikho. This is feeding a number of other communities along the route, including the local primary school. Water storage tanks have been constructed in Sitikho and also at the primary school. The main objective is to provide continuous supply of water for Green House Farming to this rural community as part of a project to empower women, particularly the widows, so that they can generate sustainable income to support their families and educate the orphans and fatherless children. About a third of the approximately 38,000 Sitikho population are benefiting from the access to pipe borne water. The total project cost is £5,000, donated by Lions Club District 105M, Birmingham, UK.


Chris Nyongesa, Deputy Headmaster of Bukunjangabo S.A. Primary School, is very grateful. This project is providing clean fresh water to the school of about 800 pupils and 16 staff. He acknowledged that it would improve sanitation at the school and water will be available for drinking and for cleaning. He believes this would improve the health of the children and also their performance in their studies. Local leaders in the surrounding communities have also complemented both ACT and JTAN because available water supply is changing their land and also their way of life in a positive way. For example, the three thousand (3,000) women and children who on a daily basis trek several miles with buckets to fetch unhygienic water from the river no longer need to bear such a burden.

When the Green Houses are completed the widows in Sitikho will be provided with seeds and fertiliser to start their farming projects and work together in a cooperative.

What this project shows is that development capable of significant impact can take place at relatively low costs when the local community is mobilised and empowered to carry out and manage the projects they have been involved in formulating. The ten thousand people in Webuye supplied and benefitting from the piped borne water are a testament to this.

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