It is always so exciting to find solutions that will help solve the myriad challenges facing the SANGO-Kenya farmers —solutions the farmers can afford and easily implement.
And, thanks to our Board member Owen Calvert, we just found such a solution to help them solve one of their greatest problems — lack of water, which is becoming more of a problem every year due to climate change.
Rainwater harvesting systems can be very effective for capturing water, but many are so expensive they are beyond the reach of most of our farmers. So, when Owen visited the farmers last week and showed them an innovative and affordable way for capturing rainwater from their roofs — there was so much excitement!
Beauty in Simplicity
“When I first saw this rainwater harvesting approach in Bangladesh (where he is currently working), I thought it was brilliant in its simplicity. I wish I had thought of it!” He continued, “You take a piece of thin plastic pipe, cut it the length you want. Then you slit the pipe on one side. When you want to install it, you just pull it open, slide it along the edge of the roof, and let it pop back into place. Then all you need to do is put something below either end to catch the water.”
Affordable, Scaleable — and Easy to Install!
Importantly, the gutters are both affordable and scalable. A meter of the gutter costs between 200 and 250 Kenyan shillings — between approximately $1.35 and $1.70. While it is optimal that the farmers add gutters the whole length of one side of their roofs, generally five to six meters, if they can’t afford that, they can start with less and add additional gutters later. Further, the plastic gutters don’t require special clips or other hardware to install.
Owen, Winnie, and Evance visited several of the farms to talk about the gutters, explain the benefits, and demonstrate how to make and install them. Once they had done that, the Lead Farmers were tasked with training all of the farmers in their groups how to add one to their own roofs.
Evance, SANGO-Kenya’s Project Officer and Head of Agriculture, added that “the farmers were very excited about the gutters — they were shocked how easy they are to install and how inexpensive they are.”
Healthier — and Saves Money
He also explained some of the many benefits. “The farmers can retain more rainwater for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. They will save money because they won’t have to buy as much water.” He added that the plastic gutters are healthier — metal gutters rust and the rust can contaminate the water for drinking.
Already about a dozen farmers have put up gutters — we are working with them to get them installed as soon as we can so that they can take advantage of the rains while they last.
I’m heading back to Kenya next month. Can’t wait to report back to you on the progress the farmers are making — and find out more about another interesting innovation Owen is recommending.
SANI KENYA farmers, Winnie, Evance, Peter, Constance, and Kit
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Write me! I love hearing from you! kit@SANGO-Kenya.org