I’ve had a wonderful catchup conversation with Helene Van Der Roest of www.takafrica.org, a Kenyan-based travel company that also runs a foundation. During a stay in the Netherlands, TAKAfrica have joined forces with the dutch organization FloFlo, brainchild of designer and engineer Floris de Vos, who devised an incredible hand-drilling rig for borehole wells allowing any community to take charge of drilling for water themselves.

After an accident on an oil rig left de Vos lying flat for almost a year, he researched old Chinese methods of drilling using bamboo frames, techniques dating before Christ! With support from Shell and colleagues he designed a unit weighing only 70kg in total allowing anyone, regardless of literacy or background, to drill a well for fresh water, by hand. De Vos then tested the units from Morocco to Namibia, drilling along the way for various communities. Further development has led to a heavier-weight, 250kg electrical unit which, luckily for us, can cope with large depths and especially the lava layers under Amboseli, in the foothills of the volcanic Kilimanjaro, home to our maasai host community of Nkiito.
TAKAfrica and FloFlo will be bringing one of the larger units to Kenya in June/July 2012, drilling 3 wells already scheduled and providing training to each community in maintenance and ownership practice. Villagers must form a Project Maintenance Committee and since it is the women who are involved more directly in collecting water, they “should” count more than men in the committee though cultural issues tend to arise. The group owns and manages the entire operation with the elders investing in both building and maintaining the well as a good, clean, close source of water for the village into the far future.
AVIF need to raise funds for our drilling depth of 280m down into the lava and limestone!
TAKAfrica has already collaborated to bring in a professional, local organisation to perform a hydro-geological survey and cover the paperwork and application to the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA), and for registration & permits. The total works will include drilling, pump, electrical source, storage tank, and even separate watering and feeder areas for cattle.
In Kenya, drylands occupy over 80% of the country, where over a THIRD of the Kenyan population and 50% of the national livestock herd is found. The sustainable development of drylands is a priority as with 70% of Kenyans being subsistence farmers, access to water is a critical issue. Most farmers obtain water from surface water sources – traveling large distances and transporting the water back to their farms. Such surface waters are often contaminated. The maasai women of Nkiito currently have to walk many kilometres and when volunteers visited in November the original settlement was barely habited as the community had had to move to a seasonal enclosure closer to water.
We’ll keep you posted with progress but if you’d like to assist please donate via the link Top LEFT or via the FaceBook Page.
Asante Sana