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Christian Aid – Update October 2011

Cleaner slum brings hope for the future

Christian Aid would like to thank all the people who have chosen to buy Aquaid water coolers, water dispensers and bottled water. By choosing Aquaid, you have helped to improve and often save the lives of the world’s poorest people. This is because Aquaid donate 10p to Christian Aid for every 19 litre bottle of water that they sell and donate £50 for every new water cooler they install when a Christian Aid supporter has made the order.The money raised by Aquaid is used specifically for water projects around the world; helping to bring clean water and sanitation to places like the slum settlement of Matopeni in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. You can meet the people who are benefiting from this work by watching this video: http://www.aquaidwatercoolers.co.uk/why-we-do-it/christian-aid

Below is an update on the progress of this project

Just over one year ago, the residents of Matopeni in the east of Nairobi faced a daily struggle to survive. Without clean water or working drains, conditions in the small slum were so unsanitary that life-threatening diseases were common. But in July 2010 Christian Aid partner Maji na Ufanisi began work to improve the slum’s drains and provide clean water for residents. At the same time, the local government agreed to fund a new sanitation block with shower and toilet facilities. Today the slum’s residents report little illness since the drains were completed in November. Lydia Kithuku – whose daughters Catherine and Everlyne campaigned to bring clean water and sanitation to Matopeni along with their friend Veronica Milla – says, ‘It is a very big change in terms of diseases like malaria and diarrhoea.’

Alongside improving Matopeni’s infrastructure, Maji na Ufanisi has trained community members in advocacy and leadership giving them the confidence to ensure their government provides the services they need. So when the community decided they needed a water tank to see them through the last few months until the pipes that Maji na Ufanisi are laying are completed, Veronica Milla successfully lobbied the community’s MP to provide one. The project has reinforced Matopeni’s community spirit with residents leading work since it began. Working together they have cleared waste, worked with Maji na Ufanisi to make space for the new drains and laboured on the project, investing time and energy into making it a success. They have seen that they can drive their own future and now have the skills to do so. And a recent visit to Kiambiu slum which was organised for members of Matopeni’s Arise and Shine women’s group and communities from other slums around Nairobi has only reinforced this. Like Matopeni’s community, Kiambiu’s residents lived for years with the constant threat of eviction, relying on the little casual work that is available in Nairobi for income. But using money saved through their own water and sanitation project they bought their own land on the outskirts of Nairobi where they will build homes, roads and other infrastructure. ‘They thought of a future plan,’ says Everlyne Kithuku. ‘Now they are planning to build houses for each and every member of the group. It was really a challenge for us – that we could buy some land and set up small businesses and become self-employed.’

Once again, thank you for choosing Aquaid and for helping Christian Aid in our mission to end poverty. If you are not already an Aquaid customer and would like to become one, simply quote this article when you order Aquaid water coolers or water dispensers and £50 will be donated for each new cooler installed. 10p will then be donated for every 19-litre bottle of water you buy.