|Collection and storage of rainwater is the most cost effective way of providing water to communities living in the dry and arid climates of sub-Saharan Africa.|
Self Help Africa has devised a range of ‘rainwater harvesting’ methods to assist individual farmers, communities, schools and others to secure water for their drinking and crop irrigation needs – and in doing so are often lifting the burden of back-breaking water gathering from women and children in these rural communities.
Roofs, roads and ground catchments are amongst the methods currently being used by Self Help to provide cost effective solutions to the water shortage problems which for generations have blighted the African people.
At Self Help’s projects in Kenya the construction of road run-off rainwater harvesting has been hugely successful amongst small-holding farmers, who are now able to capture and store the rainwater which falls in torrents over a short period, and is subsequently used to irrigate their crops over a period of months.
‘Because the rains are extremely heavy, but fall for only a short time, this method has had a huge impact’, says John King’au of Self Help partners Baraka Agricultural College. ‘After digging the channels and excavating the pond the farmers have an abundance of water on their land for the dry months ahead’.
Upwards of 1,000 Kenyan small-holders have dug their own rainwater harvesting systems with the support of Self Help – who operate similar systems for water gathering in it’s projects in Eritrea and Ethiopia.
For just a few hundred Euro Self Help has succeeded in supplying entire schools with drinking water supplies – thanks to innovative roof catchment systems which the organisation has worked with community groups to install.
A modest investment in PVC guttering, downpipes, water storage silos and ancilliary equipment has enabled schools to meet the drinking water needs of thousands of school-children on a daily basis.