Life in the Villages

Kaswanga, Rusinga Island, Kenya

The present situation is portrayed as bleak and desperate. The Kenyan government recently completed a study and identified the SUBA District as the number two priority in Kenya for the need of sustainable water. Kaswanga and Wanyama are small fishing villages on the eastern shores of Lake Victoria, with a population of approximately 10,000. The economic engine is a small fishing industry and small, barely productive plots of agriculture. The entire area has been in drought conditions for the past five years.

The village is approximately ½ mile from the shores of a bountiful yet bacteria and parasite-polluted water source, Lake Victoria. Currently, all water is either hand carried or transported by burro to the surrounding homes and businesses. The community has been without water (unless hand carried from the lake) for over 4 years due to a non-functional water infrastructure consisting of a windmill for pumping water from the lake to an above ground water storage facility located on the grounds of the SUBA District Medical Center, located approximately 1 mile away.

There is no running water in either the village or individual homes (with the exception of minimal water to the Tom Mboya secondary school) and the water supply tank and filtration system at the medical clinic are non-functional.

There are four schools with approximately 2,500 orphan/students within approximately a two mile radius and three of the schools do not have any type of functioning water supply availability.

There are virtually no educational materials available to the schools and the school rooms are mostly dirt or bare concrete floors with a black board and a few have some rough cut wood desks. There are no visual learning aids in any of the schools we toured. One school in particular has no finished classrooms with either windows, or doors.

Most of the 1000+ orphans live in child run homes that consist of no essential living comforts including fresh water or adequate food supplies.

The medical clinic is in need of supplies and equipment. The surgical room and labor and delivery rooms lack sterile equipment. This is the only surgical site within a 6 hour drive, if even an automobile transport could be arranged. The medical clinic is staffed by four employees who are doing their very best with virtually no financial support. On an average day they will treat 35-50 people with every imaginable diagnosis including malaria, typhoid, HIV/Aids, hypertension, fractured limbs and amputations. There is no available continuum of care for any disease. The Kenya Lake region has a 42 percent HIV/Aid’s rate, one of the highest not only in Africa but in the world. Malaria, typhoid and TB are prevalent and treatment and education for all diseases is difficult to obtain. There is minimal governmental support for much needed resources to combat this dire situation.


Phase 1- Project development includes a geographical and demographical analysis. Needs were identified and then prioritized. The top five priorities are:

  • Clean sustainable water available to the medical clinic, village and schools.
  • Medical clinic upgraded to acceptable service levels with renovation completion, equipment purchases and a reliable supply chain for medications and supplies.
  • Agricultural enhancements for family garden plots with drip irrigations systems available for all villagers.
  • Educational facilities completed and learning materials provided.
  • Orphan provisions for basic water, food and educational opportunities.

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