• Women farmers in Kakamega say they could redirect their energy to increasing economic growth if they didn't spend many hours searching for water
• They want county to sink boreholes and construct water pans in all wards
Women farmers in Kakamega have asked the county government to increase water supply to enable them to participate more in economic activities.
The Women Farmers Association of Kenya (Wofaak) said major sectors affected by the poor provision of water and sanitation services include health, industry and commerce, agriculture and education.
“Women and children labour is spent more on looking for water rather than for productive purposes. All these have contributed to the increase in poverty levels in the country,” Wofaak executive director and founder Daphne Muchai said.
Muchai said 41 per cent of Kenya’s population still relies on unimproved water sources such as ponds, shallow wells and rivers while 59 per cent uses unimproved sanitation solutions.
Muchai led the county Wofaak chapter to present a lobby document to the county government at the county social hall on Wednesday. It was received by the office of Kakamega Woman Representative Elsie Muhanda.
Wofaak Kakamega chairperson Alice Ombima said girls of schoolgoing age engage in early sex because of the long distances they travel in search of water where they meet men who end up impregnating them, hence the rise in teen pregnancies.
“We are asking the county government to increase water coverage so we can redirect the time and energy we spend looking for water to agricultural production to achieve food security through sustainable food and nutrition and income generation,” she said.
Ombima said the county government should sink boreholes in schools, hospitals, markets and churches, construct at least one water pan in each of the sixty wards, harness rainwater and built the capacity of the communities in water harvesting technologies.
Wofaak currently operates in Siaya, Kakamega and Bungoma counties. It seeks to assist women farmers create networks and link them to the market through group value addition chains.
The chairperson said access to water would enable women to engage in agribusiness, thereby increasing income in the households and contribute towards the achievement of food security
Edited by R.Wamochie