Project Leader: Kenneth A. Puzey, CEO of the Albert and Vivian Puzey Foundation (ALVPF)
Key Partner Contact In Kisumu, Kenya: Reverend Julius Otieno Nyambuoro, Chairman Christ’s Commission Fellowship Church, Kisumu Kenya
Executive Summary for the Kisumu Kenya Water Project
The first objective of the Kisumu Kenya Safe Water Project is to provide people in Africa with a sustainable method of creating safe drinking water. This will be accomplished by setting up manufacturing facilities in Kisumu, Kenya to produce solar water boilers that can boil water with the power of the sun. A second objective of the project is to reduce the costs people have to spend on cooking fuel and reduce the environmental impacts of cooking. A third objective of the project is to provide employment opportunities for “aged out” orphans.
1. Unsafe Water
1.1 billion people around the globe do not have access to safe drinking water. This lack of access results in a large disease burden with 1.7 billion cases of diarrhea annually. Diarrhea kills 1.6 million people annually (90% are children under age 5), 146 million trachoma cases threatened with blindness, 6 million trachoma cases with visual impairment, 133 million people suffer from high intensity helminth (parasitic worm) infections, 1.5 million cases of hepatitis A annually and the loss of 117 million disability adjusted life years annually.
Ken has observed the suffering caused by unsafe drinking water first hand, while volunteering for a medical clinic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in April of 2013. Prior to his arrival 5,000 people had died from a cholera outbreak. In the medical clinic virtually every individual was infected with water-borne parasites. In particular, there were two girls around eight years old that had parasitic worms in their legs literally eating their flesh. Ken could hear one of the girls screaming and crying in the next room as the worms were painfully removed from her legs.
The next day another girl was more stoic, but the tears streamed down her face like a river from the pain as the worms were painstakingly removed inch by inch. Ken and the team he was there with treated other parasitic infections with Ivermectin, which protects patients for two weeks but another clinic was not scheduled for another ten months. Therefore, many patients likely will be re-infected by unsafe drinking water.
A large percentage of children had scabies mite infections and they were treated with sulfa powder. Ken instructed patients to disinfect bedding and clothing to avoid re-infestation. Ken knew that scratching scabies mites often causes secondary bacterial infection. However, Ken learned in Haiti that strep is a common secondary infection organism. A strep infection can easily spread to the kidney shutting it down, which leads to a slow and painful death as toxins build up in the blood. Ken also knew the larvae can be killed with boiling water. Unfortunately, people are too poor to afford fuel to boil water. Therefore, many of the patients we treated were likely re-infected shortly after coming in contact with the larvae in their bedding and clothing.
Through the experience of witnessing all of these horrors, seeing the situation in Haiti and having knowledge of the Kenya water crisis, Ken was determined with the help of God, to create a sustainable solution to boiling water. The objective being to provide people safe drinking water and a means of sanitizing clothes and bedding thus eliminating needless human suffering.
2. Deforestation and its Sequelae
There are three billion people in the world that cook with wood and they burn 3.5 billion tons of wood every year. That level of wood consumption destroys approximately 111,600 square miles of forest every year. This deforested area is larger than the entire state of Nevada. In Africa, wood is consumed at a rate that is twice as fast as it grows. This rate will increase to three times sustainable levels by 2030. While wood has traditionally been thought of as a sustainable renewable resource, the current level of consumption is far from sustainable.
Further, as consumption increases and the supply of wood decreases it becomes more expensive. This expense either occurs in the form of paying more for wood or more hours spent traveling to a wood supply to gather wood. In many areas of the world, the fuel to cook with is more expensive than the food that is being cooked. Furthermore, it is not uncommon in Africa for women to be raped while out gathering wood.
As you can see from the satellite image of the island of Hispaniola, the Haiti side of the island is deforested while the wealthier Dominican Republic side is relatively green. This deforestation is leading to desertification and has made Haiti very dusty.
In Kenya, 400,000 hectares of the Mau Forest in the Rift Valley were destroyed in 2009. Forest cover in Kenya was reduced from 10% of land area in 1963 to 1.7% of land area by 2006.
Other negative consequences of deforestation are loss of habitat, loss of biodiversity, loss of food bearing trees, decreased air quality, increased soil erosion, increased flooding, soil de-nitrification, loss of tourism, loss of oxygen production and loss of carbon sequestration. These negative consequences damage the fertility of the earth and will result in future food security problems. Clearly a more sustainable means of providing heat for cooking is needed for the world’s poor to give them more economical alternatives, halt the rapid destruction of forest and maintain the food productivity of the land.
3. CO2 Production/ Global Warming
The 3.5 billion tons of wood that are burned each year for cooking result in over 6.79 billion tons of carbon dioxide production. Clearly providing zero emission cooking technologies to the world’s poor is an important step in reducing man made carbon dioxide production.
4. Orphans and Poverty
Many developing countries have a large number of orphans. In Haiti, Ken visited two orphanages. While there was care for them at the orphanage, when they are too old they “age out” of the orphanage. In Haiti the unemployment rate is now 90%. Removed from the orphanage, “aged out” orphans have little opportunity to make a living and no parents to help. The drug trade recruits boys. Girls are extremely vulnerable to prostitution and the slave trade. It was painfully obvious to Ken that job opportunities are desperately needed for “aged out” orphans so they can support themselves.
In Kisumu, Kenya there are orphans from recent flooding, post election violence, cholera, and also from AIDS. The prevalence of AIDS in Kisumu is 15%, which is more than twice the national average in Kenya (7.4%). Just as in Haiti, the prospects for “aged out” orphans are few and far between.