For John Mbaluka, a retired civil servant, his new household water
connection from the Embu Water and Sanitation Company (EWASCO) has transformed
his life for the better. John is one of 75,000 low-income residents in Embu,
Kenya to have improved access to water services as a result of the USAID-funded
Sustainable Water and Sanitation in Africa (SUWASA). DIG has been leading the SUWASA
Kenya initiative since 2010 under a sub-contract from Tetra Tech.
With DIG’s support, EWASCO secured a USD 884,800
loan from the Kenyan bank, Housing Finance, to install a 29 km pipeline. In
2014, the financing agreement represented the largest commercially-financed
loan ever made for a water project in Kenya’s history. DIG was instrumental in helping
EWASCO obtain this loan, assisting the water utility with identifying a viable
project and preparing a financing proposal for local banks. In addition, DIG provided
technical assistance to Housing Finance, enabling it to design loan products
for water utilities and to adopt appropriate lending methodologies for this new
clientele. DIG also facilitated EWASCO’s access to an Aid on Delivery grant
from the Kenyan Water Services Trust Fund to help EWASCO repay its loan.
Prior to EWASCO’s partnership with SUWASA, John Mbaluka struggled to
bring water close to his home.
Felista, walked four kilometers to the river to collect water that she would
carry home on her back.
He dug three
wells near his home. The wells, which were mainly dry except during the rainy
season, were insufficient to meet the household’s needs. John then built a
water tank to harvest rain water, which his family used for drinking, cooking,
cleaning, and washing.
After receiving a potable water connection in the convenience of his
own home in October 2014, “life has really changed,” John proudly said. “We are
very happy. We don’t think about water anymore. It’s no longer a problem.” John
not only has peace of mind knowing his family is drinking clean water, he earns
income thanks to his connection. With a reliable water source, he and Felista increased
his livestock’s milk production and raised more chickens, generating an
additional USD 400 in gross income per month from the sale of milk and eggs. To
John and his wife, it is well worth the average USD 5.55 they pay EWASCO each month.
John even built sewer pipes and a septic tank to install two flush toilets in
his home. John can now “live like a Nairobi man,” he declared with a smile.