During the 2018 Lenten season, we’ll share the work of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur from around the world. We hope you in turn will share their work with your family and friends or via Facebook or Twitter.
Sister Evalyne Aseyo is a teacher, researcher and community advocate at the Tropical Institute of Community Health and Development in Kisumu, Kenya. In collaboration with community health workers and volunteers, she reaches out to vulnerable communities to improve health care, especially by providing treatment for safe water. Sister Evalyne is the focus of our Holy Week Lenten Snapshot.
The United Nations classifies Kenya as a chronically water scarce country and the current drought has worsened the situation. With a population of 46 million, 41% of Kenyans still rely on open water sources such as ponds, shallow wells and rivers, while 59% of Kenyans use primitive sanitation solutions. Drought conditions have left 3.4 million people severely food insecure and an estimated 500,000 children require treatment for acute malnutrition. Caption: Map of Kenya.
These challenges are especially evident in the rural areas and the urban slums where our Sisters live and work. Caption: A shantytown on the outskirts of Nairobi.
In Kenya, it is difficult for children to get an education, especially girls. Often, children are responsible to collect water for the family’s daily needs. A child may spend the hours they could be in school walking miles to and from a water source fetching water. Many girls also frequently stop their schooling before receiving an adequate education because of difficulties with sanitation. Many schools in Kenya lack public toilets or clean water for hygiene. The sad result for these girls is that the prospect of a higher quality of life is greatly reduced.
Sister Evalyne and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur are helping communities in the Kisumu area by educating about the importance of safe water and providing water purification packets to remove contaminants from collected water. Through financial support, water purification packets have been provided to households in Kadero’s 25 villages and Okok’s 14 villages.
The Awach River and an unprotected spring are the major sources of water in these villages. Water purification supplies have helped clean dirty water in vulnerable households, and residents are continually reminded of the 2016 cholera outbreak resulting from contaminated water. Sister Evalyne and her community health team stress the importance of household water treatment and make distribution of water purification packets a priority in these villages. Plans are in place to expand the project to reach more households, to further reduce diarrhea and water borne diseases in these communities. Caption: Two brothers on a typical errand to collect water.
As we approach Easter, think about how much the gift of clean water means to you and your family. Do you know where your water comes from or how it is made safe for drinking and other purposes? What would you do and how would you feel if you weren’t able to go to school because of lack of water?
We are most grateful for your support as we end the Lenten season. With your help, our Sisters are educating the people of Kenya about safe drinking water and making clean water available to those in need.