Project Safewater: Kibera

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Project Safewater: Kibera


One of the most densely populated places on the planet, an estimated one million Kibera residents in Nairobi, Kenya live in an area of less than 2.0 square miles, smaller than New York City’s Central Park. Up until recently, there was no running water, and residents paid exorbitant rates for water— often ten times what Nairobi city residents pay. The lack of clean water disproportionately affects women and girls, who are left to tend to those who fall ill due to unsafe water and lack of sanitation. Access to clean, safe water is thus key to empowering the women of Kibera, and to helping the larger community build a better future.

In 2013, partnered local non-governmental organization, Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), to implement a pilot program with two objectives: to create a more stable, fairly priced supply of clean water in Kibera, and to help reduce the number of contracted waterborne illnesses. The revenues from the project sustain the water system and help fund the Kibera School for Girls, thereby creating an integrated link between clean water, the girls’ education and community development.


engineers designed, built and installed custom, state-of-the-art water filtration equipment to treat water on site and doubled the volume of the existing water supply system delivered to the community. Additionally, an aerial piping system was installed, the first of its kind to be constructed in Kenya, and now distributes clean water away from groundwater contamination while reducing risk of tampering or vandalism. Because of this development, SHOFCO and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are partnering to research waterborne diseases in Kibera. Initial findings indicate a reduction in reports of waterborne disease in neighboring health clinics since the program launched.

Project Safewater: Mathare


Due to the successes of Project Safewater in Kibera, in 2019 and SHOFCO expanded their efforts to replicate the water program in Mathare. Mathare is one of the oldest slums in Nairobi, with roughly 400,000 people living in highly vulnerable conditions.

With ’s support, SHOFCO has made incredible progress in building the infrastructure necessary to bring clean water to Mathare residents. A water source has been secured, and the water treatment plan housing and aerial piping infrastructure is complete. The water kiosks, which will feature attached washrooms, are currently being constructed, and the water system is planned to be fully operational by May 2020—bringing clean, safe drinking water to 17,500 residents.

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