While terrible problems - like the situation in Turkana - sometimes call for complex solutions, shallow wells are in many ways a real "back-to-basics" answer. However, like so many Practical Action projects, we've also helped local people make simple changes to the design of their wells, leaving them safer, cleaner and more durable.
For example, many of the traditional hand dug wells are prone to contamination from animal or even human waste. They're also much more likely to dry up due to fluctuations in the water table. By contrast, the new wells (right) are more durable and more hygienic.
For a start, each well is surrounded by a concrete platform, then covered with a hinged metal lid, both of which help stop the water being polluted.
Another crucial innovation has been ensuring that a concrete trough is built next to each well, into which herdsmen can pour water for their livestock.
Finally, the key elements of the well - the bucket, the rope and the surrounding metal plates are all made of galvanised iron, giving them a lifespan of up to 15 years.
Every well Practical Action can dig in Turkana could save lives – for three reasons.
- Firstly, the more safe, clean water we can make available to people in the area, the less of a source of conflict it will become.
- Secondly, more water for drinking, cooking and washing will mean less hunger and disease.
- And thirdly, if we’re able to dig more wells closer to villages, fewer women will have to make 15km journeys, alone and at risk of becoming another innocent victim in the conflict over water.
So please help us with £60 or whatever you can afford. Help us dig more wells by donating online now. Thank you.
“If I don’t go for water, my daughter could die. If I go, she could be left without a mother.”
It’s a choice no mother should have to make. Yet for women like Priscilla it’s a daily, impossible, decision.
With her husband ensuring they don’t lose another herd of livestock to rustlers, it is left to Priscilla and her children to find and fetch water. In many cases, that means rising before first light for what can be a 15km trek for water. How many husbands must wonder if that shadow disappearing into the dawn will be the last sight they have of their wife? How many wives must wonder if today is the day when their children lose their mother?
For Priscilla knows, as all the Turkana women know, that the journey can be a fatal one. Water is in such short supply that violence regularly breaks out at the few remaining wells – with many innocent women and children wounded or killed. Which is why it’s so critical for us to dig more wells. Because the more wells we can dig throughout Turkana, the safer women like Priscilla could be.
Please help us with a donation if you can. Donate online now
- Technical information on water pumping and drilling from Practical Answers
- Practical Action's work in water and sanitation
- Our work in conflict resolution in Turkana
- Practical Action Eastern Africa
- Photo-story See how simple well technologies can make a real difference
- Diary A detailed account of a field visit to Turkana, to see this work in action
Practical Action's Peace Bulletin shares knowledge and experiences of conflict resolution in conflict-prone northern Kenya.