Water & Sanitation
All water and sanitation projects undertaken by The Maa Trust are done in partnership with Dig Deep. Dig Deep’s Mara field officer, Jonathan Sairowua, is based at The Maa Trust’s HQ.
Few schools in the Maasai Mara have access to clean drinking water or adequate, safe sanitation facilities. This results in children not being able to concentrate due to thirst, and many school days missed from preventable illnesses. In partnership with Dig Deep, we work with schools around the Mara to provide clean water and toilets, which break the cycle of poverty and enable children to focus on learning.
Water for Livestock
Livestock are an inextricable part of Maasai family life, but the subdivision of land and creation of community-owned conservancies has restricted access to traditional watering points for domestic animals. Conservancies have grazing schemes for cattle that allow herds into specific areas within conservancies during pre-agreed periods. However, sheep and goats are not permitted access into conservancies as they destroy habitat, pulling up grass and vegetation by the roots. In order to ease the potential conflict created by pastoralists demanding access to water inside conservation areas for their livestock, The Maa Trust develops water points on the border of conservancies. This is one of the greatest aids to conservation in the area, as it secures the core of the protected lands for wild species to thrive, as well as eliminating conflict between cattle and predators.
Community Water Projects
Water is life, and it is imperative that communities have access to clean, safe and reliable sources to avoid health implications and negative impact on the environment.
At the Maa Trust we base all of our projects on innovation, sustainability, efficiency and practicality. We have found that extracting water from the ground is not only expensive, but incurs major issues that can easily be avoided:
- Ground water in the Maasai Mara is very high in salts, and natural fluoride levels are double the WHO fit-for-consumption guidelines. Fluoride filters are very expensive and difficult for communities to maintain.
- Boreholes are extremely costly and complicated to dig, build and upkeep. They also drain the underground water table, which has long term negative implications for the ecosystem.
- Solar panels are frequently stolen
- Wind turbines can be destroyed by storms
- Generators consume dirty fossil fuels and regularly break down.
Consequently we have found that sometimes the simplest solution is the best way forward, and so we are working with communities and professional collaborators to build large community rainwater-harvesting systems. Installed by Africa Water Bank, each village structure consists of a slanted iron sheet roof, totaling 1800m2 surface area, raised on tall posts, which drain into a 500,000l water tank.
Using just a small amount of chlorine to maintain purity, these initiatives guarantees a permanent supply of fresh, clean water to hundreds of families and thousands of school children. Further, these community rainwater-harvesting systems have no moving parts, nothing that can be stolen, and they are very easy to maintain.
We choose the sites for these projects very specifically, strategically locating them in close proximity to community areas but separate to the natural water sources favoured for livestock, so that domestic animals do not consume the clean water intended for human use.