US Navy veteran waterborne diseases experience prompted water filters donations in Kajiado

By Obegi Malack

obegimalack@gmail.com

Water is a scare resource in Maasai land and the community mostly depends on water ponds which is shared with livestock.

According to UNICEF in Kenya, 9.9 million people drink water directly from contaminated surface water sources and an estimated five million people practice open defecation.

Ken Clark a Navy Veteran (1970-1976) visited Kenya’s Maasai land and had firsthand experience of waterborne diseases. He took samples of water consumed in Maasai land tested it and found it to be contaminated.

He went back to his country USA and had to find a solution to diseases caused by dirty water, for him prevention was better than cure.

Ken started Clean Water Kenya (CWK)a non-profit Charitable Organization in 2016 to supplying Portable Water Filtration Systems to rural Maasai.

Jackson Kanga country director Clean Water Kenya said Ken has been in Iraq and seen destruction and human suffering, he has been in over 522 missions and has witnessed personal attacks and convoy attacks. He has also experienced the loss of friends and co-workers.

Through her personal experience he authored “Other Sons and Daughters: A True Account of Civilian Convoy Drivers in Iraq” and Co-Author with his wife, Judy, of the delightful children’s book “Wiggles & Button.”

He visited Kenya in 2014 volunteered with a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Texas to provide medical supplies and medicine to remote villages in Kenya, that is when he experienced widespread waterborne diseases caused by dirty contaminated water.

Clean Water Kenya founder Ken Clark , Jackson Kanga and a Maasai elder . Photo Courtesy

Ken’s doctors with whom he was working with found out that the main problem of illnesses in the Maasai community was found in the water and it was better to treat the problem from the source than symptoms.

Charitable donations to CWK purchase Kenyan made water filters and rain barrels. The equipment is distributed to Kenyan communities that lack clean water.

Virginia Sakuda Turasha from Kajiado West who also works with CWK said they have been able to access most remote areas in Maasai land where locals lack clean water.

“We have partnered to distribute the filters, most of our people rely on water from sources such as ponds and shallow wells which is dirty” she said.

Speaking during distribution of the filters in Kisamis in Kajiado West Constituency Turasha said CWK has been able to supply more than one thousand filters around Maasai land and Eastern region.

Turasha who is also founder Maasai Education and Advocacy for Change said they also advocate for end of gender-based violence in the community, such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages.

She has also partnered with Michelle and Frederick Bianchi Education Foundation that is helping underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students in Kenya, Africa achieve their potential through education through donation of school uniforms every year.

Naretu Maa CBO founder Nancy Milanoi said the provision of water filters will reduce illness which make communities poorer they will now focus in education matters and creation of wealth.

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