On a typical day in the village of Mihingoni, Kenya, girls emerge at dawn, walking down red clay paths for hours in search of that one element none of us can live without: water.
Lack of proper water, sanitation and hygiene leads to disease, and Kenya continues to have one of the worst mortality rates for children under five in the world. Families are forced to choose between sending their girls for water or sending them to school, and they choose water first. That helps perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
Ashley Miller — an alumna of the Blum Center for Developing Economies at UC Berkeley — has spent the last five years working with the community of Mihingoni to design solutions that will increase their access to water.
She raised money to start the Maji Yaje Kwanza project. Determined to build a sustainable, community-led program, Miller and her team collaborated with Mihingoni primary school, and asked local teachers to help her organize a community meeting to hear what was needed.
With just over $20,000, Miller and her team hired 200 people to build and install drip irrigation pipes for a school garden, hand-washing sinks outside of the latrines, two drinking water taps and a water kiosk that serves the entire community. Two 10,000-liter water tanks were provided, ensuring water even during dry periods of low rainfall.
Maji Yaje Kwanza is currently fundraising with the goal of raising $10,000 to complete construction of the underground well and water pump. To contribute through the official UC Berkeley crowdfunding campaign, visit https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/8853 .The current crowdfunding campaign cycle will be live until February 23 at 11:59 p.m. PST.