By Lilian Kaivilu
A few years ago, residents of Kamrio in East Pokot would walk for days in search of water but they are now enjoying the benefits of a borehole that was operationalised two months ago.
From walking for over a day to get water for their personal use as well as for their livestock, the more than 4,000 residents of Kamrio region can now access free water alongside other social needs such as education and health. The borehole that was sunk in October 2013 by Mamlaka Hill Chapel in partnership with the World Vision and the government of Kenya sought to address water scarcity and waterborne diseases in the area.
Mamlaka Hill Chapel head of missions Margaret Muhia said the Kalya Water project was funded through contributions by church members who contributed over Sh9million after witnessing what the residents went through to get water.
The water project, alongside education projects in the area were as a result of a 10-year church development plan that began with free veterinary camps in the region in 2005. After witnessing the harrowing experiences that the residents had to go through to earn a living, the church set out to impact the residents, not only with the gospel but by empowering them though education. “We first held a veterinary camp in the area in 2007 since we felt that livestock was their greatest treasure. In the camp, the residents brought over 2,000 livestock which were attended to by our volunteer veterinary officers. The next month we held another camp and over 6,000 animals were attended,” said Muhia, adding that the camps are an annual event to date. In 2012, 22,000 animals were treated, a testimony of remarkable growth.
According to her, the church in Kenya has a big role to play in the development of the communities and that it is the only way they can reach the people who have never heard the gospel. “It is important for the church to first understand the community that they want to reach out to, listen to their needs and apply the best approach in dealing with those needs. For example, if you are going to pastoralists, understand that their greatest treasure is their livestock thus approach them from that perspective. Do your research well and ensure that you do not attack the values of the community through your approach,” advises Muhia.
In addition, the church adopted the Kamrio Primary School and graduated the first KCPE class of 16 pupils who got places in the various secondary schools in the country. The school which had only one teacher initially today has nine instructors and a pupil population of over 200. “We want them to be change agents in their community and the congregation is paying their school fees,” she added.
Julie Lovi from the church missions department disclosed that the church is organizing a 21-kilometre half marathon on May 30th aimed at raising funds to support the 16 students through their secondary education.