A river in Kitui, Kenya, where CWS has implemented Water for Life projects. Photo: Beth Oppenheim/CWS

Since 2008, CWS’s Water for Life program has improved access to water in remote arid locations in East Africa through the construction of sand dams, water tanks, earth dams, boreholes and other community water infrastructure.

An external evaluation of the program, conducted in late 2015, found that CWS and its local partners are successfully addressing emergency water needs in communities severely affected by seasonal water shortages. Out of the ten Water for Life sites in Kenya that were randomly selected by the evaluation team, community water systems in eight had remained fully functional since their completion in 2012.

This 80 percent success rate exceeds the typical performance of water supply interventions in remote areas of the region. The evaluation found strong evidence of community uptake, participation and ownership at Water for Life projects sites, to which the sustainability of CWS-supported water systems could be attributed.

In 2015-2016, Water for Life activities took place in Kenya’s Baringo, Kitui, Turkana and West Pokot counties, and in Tanzania’s Morogoro district. In locations where seasonal water scarcity has been successfully eliminated, CWS is now working with community groups to put surplus water toward sustainable livelihoods, including through training on agricultural practices that are conducive to arid environments.

In eight months,
the average distance
to clean water for 19
communities in East Africa