Since 2006, EWB-NY has worked with Usalama to help improve the community’s educational facilities and health through the construction of school buildings (including a library) between 2009 and 2010 and the rehabilitation of a water distribution system between 2013 and 2014. In January and February 2017, the team returned for a final trip to evaluate the status of the water system, school structures, and community’s general well-being. Read more about the team’s trip here.
Despite the completion of the rehabilitated water system and point-of-distribution water treatment program in 2014, infrastructural challenges upstream of Usalama prevent a consistent supply of water from reaching the community’s water system. As such, Usalama’s citizens currently obtain water from two kiosks operated by the local water district and unrelated to the EWB-NY-designed infrastructure. Usalama’s EWB-designed water tank and piping remain in place and ready to function, and in 2017 the community began working with the Makueni County government to install additional infrastructure (including an electric pump located within Usalama) that will hopefully supply their system as needed.
Meanwhile, the school infrastructure continues to be consistently used and is in generally good condition. In addition to performing maintenance on the structures, the community is also in the process of constructing new facilities for their secondary school using techniques learned from the primary school classroom and library construction. In spite of the challenges with the water system, we are pleased to see that Usalama is able to work independently of EWB-NY to continue improving their village. As such, after more than ten years of partnership, EWB-NY is preparing to close out the EWB/Usalama program while maintaining a personal connection to the community.