Kenya - Arombe




Exciting News! Arombe escaped a cholera epidemic because of their work in partnership with the Kenya Team of EWB-SFP.  

In April of 2015, 600 cases of cholera were reported in the area surrounding Arombe.  When the team traveled in Fall of 2015 they were told that Arombe had zero outbreaks of Cholera in part due to the newly installed water sources.

Current Kenya Team Activities

In January, the Kenya team traveled to the Migori region of western Kenya. There, they visited 3 different communities: Arombe, Masara and Lela.

In Arombe, the team checked on the wells that were installed in 2013 and 2014. They ensured that the community has been able to maintain the pump over the past year and found out what kind of support the community will need.

In Masara, a driller has been hired to install a well to provide clean water for the community and local school throughout the year. The team was there to oversee the work and provided the support required to make sure the project was completed.

In Lela, three wells were previously installed by another EWB chapter. The community was in the care of the Oregon State University Chapter until 2015.  Due to travel restrictions, the OSU students are unable to travel to Kenya. The Kenya team volunteered to check in with Lela because it is geographically close to Arombe and Masara. The primary objective in Lela is to monitor the community’s three installed wells. Oregon and the Lela Water Board initially agreed to drill 6 wells in Lela.  The EWB-SFP team hopes to help Lela drill additional wells in the future.

Community Overview

Arombe is a small community located inland of Lake Victoria and north of the Tanzanian border in Western Kenya. The local people live in rural homesteads and grow tobacco and mine surface gold for sale to large companies, (the average income in Arombe is $10 per month per household). Their current sources of water are several seasonal springs and a heavily contaminated river. When the springs run dry during periods with little or no rain-fall, the river is the only source of water for the community as well as everyone up and down stream. Contaminated water leads to outbreaks of typhoid and dysentery that affect nearly half the population every year leading to fatalities.

The village has a very motivated self help group that has been working over the past few years to improve quality of life in the Arombe area. The group has already raised funds to build and staff a medical clinic that provides treatment and testing for HIV as well as medications and treatments for several less severe diseases that occur within the local population. The group’s current goal is to reduce the occurrences of disease and infection by providing the community a clean, reliable source of drinking water. The self help group took several steps forward:

  1. forming a water board,
  2. facilitating a hydro-geologic study,
  3. obtaining a well drilling permit,
  4. pursuing a Kenyan government grant and
  5. applying to EWB USA for engineering design assistance.


Past Acivities

EWB-San Francisco Professional Chapter traveled to Arombe, Kenya to assess the community’s access to water, perform hydro-geologic research, meet the self help group and interview local drilling companies. During the visits our engineers were able to discuss community health priorities, view several nearby water systems, and compare potential water source locations.

Assessment of the community indicated both minimal access to clean water and poor knowledge of sanitation. In addition, members of EWB noted a lack of capital for the self help group to implement a clean water system, and a lack of education to expand the Arombe economy

After investigating the geology in the area, well installation was determined to be the most effective method to address Arombe's clean water issues. In 2012-2013 a borehole with afridev pump was installed. EWB plans to return in November 2014 to install two additional boreholes.

2017 and Beyond

EWB-SFP plans to work with the Arombe, Masara and Lela communities in Kenya to help realize both clean water and socioeconomic advancement. The activities in the future include:

  1. Monitor previously installed wells in Arombe and Masara
  2. Install wells with mechanical pumps in Lela and Masara
  3. Educate and raise awareness within the local communities about sanitation and water
  4. Build a library in Masara

To get involved, please join our Google Group for all correspondence and meeting information.