According to Dr. Swaleh Shahbal, Kinango District Medical Officer of Health, infant mortality rate is 91.5/1000 compared to 78/1000 nationally. The under-five (5) mortality rate is 149/1000 compared to 114/1000 nationally. The maternal mortality rate is 650/1000000 live births compared to 414/1000000 live births nationally. Maternal delivery at a health facility is only 18%. It has 19 dispensaries, one health center and one district hospital. Mnyenzeni, the largest village in the Koins Service Area, houses one of the highest volume dispensaries in the district.
In the spring of 2011, a microscope was provided by Koins to the dispensary in Mnyenzeni. With the help of trained lab techs, villagers can now be tested for a variety of diseases, ranging from malaria to HIV/AIDS. This allows for proper diagnosis and treatment of ailments. In the first six months of use, the microscope was able to help in the treatment of over 2,000 patients.
Koins has developed a baby blanket program, providing mothers who come to the dispensaries a handmade baby blanket for their new infant. This has helped to increase the well baby births, as mothers now have trained staff available to help with their births, where before most births occurred at home, with resultant problems.
The Koins Board of Directors has determined that water is high on the list of issues that must be dealt with in 2012. The women of our service area of Kenya are required, on a daily basis, to walk to a watering hole, scoop water into 5 gallon buckets, and carry that water home. This is their sole source of water. There are no wells in the area, and no year round sources of flowing fresh water such as rivers. The entire population is dependent upon there being enough surface water to provide for their needs. In times of drought, women will walk 10-15 miles each way in search of water. They share this water with goats and cows, as well as wild animals. The water can be relatively clear, but usually it is brown and silty. There are no water treatment plants, the water that is carried home in these 5 gallon buckets is used as is for drinking, cooking, washing and cleaning.
To date, water projects in our village area have consisted of building 30,000 liter water cisterns to collect rain water from the roofs of school buildings. This has proven to be an excellent way to store fresh water for the needs of our school children, but has done nothing to help the villagers in their daily quest for fresh water.
In November 2008, engineers from LDS Humanitarian determined where 3 bore holes could successfully be drilled within our service area. These wells will be donated by the LDS Church, for the benefit of the villagers living with proximity of these wells.
The wells are located in the areas of:
Mwache – designed to serve 1,100 students from Mwache primary school and 500 local women
Bofu – serving 780 students of Bofu primary school, 80 students from Bofu secondary school, Bofu health center and the entire population of 5,000 people
Miguneni area well drilled at a place called Vyogato under the the leadership of Jane Mangale. It serves 700 students from the Miguneni primary school and the entire population of 1,300 people.
A recent article in an LDS church publication tells of the drilling of such wells in Kenya:
“Water Project Provides More than Just Water,” Ensign, Jan. 2009, 78
As water sprayed from a new well drilled into the Kenyan countryside, villagers from the Makueni region shouted for joy. Some danced. Some cried. It meant no more 30-kilometer walks to fetch water in lieu of drinking from contaminated rivers.
The Church’s clean water initiative is providing remote communities like Makueni with hand-pump wells to reduce water-borne diseases. But by allowing villagers to spend less time fetching water, the wells also enable families to spend more time together and children to attend school more frequently.
In July 2008, in the neighboring district of Mwingi, the Church, with help from the local residents, built 30 wells that serve 56,000 people. Around the same time, 20 wells in Masinga, Kenya, were also completed, serving 32,000 people. Seven other projects in the country are in process.
As with other major humanitarian initiatives, the clean water projects incorporate principles of self-reliance and sustainability. A community water committee becomes responsible for maintaining the system. The Church supplies the committee with the necessary tools and trains them on hygiene so they can use the water safely and properly.
While local contractors take care of major construction elements like drilling, community members are expected to help, digging trenches, moving pipe, and mixing cement, among other things.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 400 people are digging a 30-kilometer trench and laying pipe to create a gravity-fed water system. The four-year project will benefit an estimated 160,000 people, making it the largest clean water project the Church has funded.
With an estimated 23 projects in progress for 2008, the clean water initiative continues to touch hundreds of thousands of lives. Since 2002 the projects have provided more than four million people in 50 countries with access to clean water.
With our record of success in rallying our communities in helping build our projects, our hope is that we will be able to drill additional wells in more of our villages. With the new technology provided by the organization WhoLives.org, and the opportunity to manufacture and use hand drills, Koins will be able to provide much more affordable borehole wells to the various communities we serve. The previous wells cost more than $10,000 each to build. The new hand drilled wells will cost about $4,000 each.
The dam building project completed in November 2011 proved that it is possible to capture large amounts of rainwater in riverbeds, for the use of local villagers. Previously, the riverbeds would flow during the rainy season, but that water would wash downstream and end up in the Indian Ocean, leaving the riverbeds dry during the remainder of the year. With one dam constructed with locally made block, and rocks and clay gathered from the area, millions of liters of water have been contained and are now available for village use. The cost of the dam was less than $12,000. There are plans to build future dams in our service area.
If you would like to contribute to a well, dam or cistern project, you can go to our donation site
and choose Water Projects in the drop down box under Donation Destination.
In November, 2008, Kristin Brown, Executive Director for Koins for Kenya, joined Deb Whipple of LDS Humanitarian Services for a Neo-natal Resuscitation clinic that trained about 60 Kenyan health workers as Skilled Birth Attendants.
The purpose of the clinic was to train local Kenyan health workers in simple resuscitation efforts on infants, and providing them with the training materials that they can then train other health workers, providing a local resource for this training.
Currently, in the Koins service area, there is limited healthcare available to local villagers. The NNR program will provide a much needed service to the local population, raising survival rates among infants.
Here are links to the work Deb Whipple and LDS Humanitarian are doing around the world: