Water Wells in Kenya and East Africa

Kenya Special Project

Presbyterian Church of East Africa

Global Ministries has been working, in partnership with the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) to help relieve some of the devastation caused by drought. The PCEA is a large church of more than 1,400 congregations and 2.5 million members in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Thus far this work on wells has been focused in Kenya. In some areas there have not been adequate rains since 1999. Rural families must struggle to secure water for their own survival. The means of livelihood for these families are in ruins because agriculture and livestock cannot be maintained.

After a year-long experience with smaller wells, the PCEA decided that the old method of drilling “shallow wells” was not offering a complete solution to the water needs of communities. In the past, these wells were dug with a small drilling rig owned by the church and could go as deep as 120 feet. Each of the 22 wells built on PCEA property was able to serve approximately 400 people. The average cost of these shallow wells is $3,500 each.

During particularly dry times of the year, there would be water in the mornings and then not again until the evenings. The wells could not function fully year-round and, therefore, the needs of water for farming were not entirely met.

In response, the PCEA made adjustments to their project to provide wells by piloting a project that dug three deeper wells with a commercial drilling rig operation. These wells are called “boreholes” and are up to 900 feet in depth. The boreholes serve a much broader geographic area (approximately a six mile radius) and serve an average of 3,300 people each. The cost of these wells varied, depending on the depth, between $18,000 and $25,000. This cost does not include the cost of the electric pump needed for the borehole, which was provided by the local community that benefited from the water supply.

Based on the pilot project, the PCEA suspended the digging of shallow wells in order to secure a drilling rig. A five-person PCEA staff team works with the rig. It takes between a few hours and a few days to dig one borehole. The intent is for PCEA to dig three boreholes each week.

The PCEA will finance the drilling by charging approximately $20,000 to two out of every three communities. The third “mission borehole” will be free of cost to the third community. In this way, the provision of boreholes to communities in extreme need will be funded by the drilling of boreholes in communities that are able to pay at the same ratio (one mission borehole for every two drilled for paying customers).

Additional mission boreholes will be provided to communities in need as funds are provided by Global Ministries and other international partner churches and organizations.

The PCEA does extensive training with the local community leaders, who are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the water resource, BEFORE a borehole is provided. A local Water Committee is appointed by the community in each location. Members of this committee receive three full days of training from the PCEA and then are responsible for their own borehole. This methodology has proven successful with past water projects. Local communities that receive a mission borehole will provide the electric pump as their local contribution.

Initial plans are to concentrate the boreholes geographically in order to make a significant impact in the provision of water and the revitalization of agriculture and livestock in each area, including church production projects. The East and North Eastern Province of Kenya have been the first areas of concentration. The PCEA will continue its work in Kenya as well as Uganda, Tanzania, and Sudan.

Global ministries will continue to walk with the PCEA in providing clean water to communities in need in East Africa and we invite you to do so also. We estimate with $18,000 to $20,000 Global Ministries can provide mission boreholes for communities in extreme need.

To read how congregations and groups have raised money for Kenya, click here:  Kenya Donor Story

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  • 100% of your gift will be directed to Water Wells in Kenya and East Africa
  • You will receive updates on the work in this area as they become available
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