[VIDEO] No water, no sex: Jomvu women move to end biting scarcity | The Star, Kenya Skip to main content
August 21, 2018

[VIDEO] No water, no sex: Jomvu women move to end biting scarcity

Jomvu women dig trenches where water will be laid for the supply of water, amid an acute shortage, March 12, 2018. /OHN CHESOLI
Jomvu women dig trenches where water will be laid for the supply of water, amid an acute shortage, March 12, 2018. /OHN CHESOLI

Women in Jomvu have taken drastic measures to push for solutions to a water shortage that has persisted since last July.

They will limit sexual intercourse as there is no water to clean up and their husbands are unhappy. They added they fear the worst during their menstrual cycles.

Fredrick Ojiro, an activist and university student, noted on Monday that the shortage has persisted since last July, with some parts facing a complete lack of water.

Ojiro added the commodity has been expensive with a 20-litre jerry-can going for Sh70.

Read: Jomvu taps run dry as pipes are ruined

More on this: Mombasa illegal connections to blame for dry taps, poor supply

Patients in hospitals and dispensaries have been forced to drink untreated water, at times less than two litres per day, health worker Nicholeta Odhiambo said.

There were reports that a girl was sexually abused while searching for the commodity.

Police say they are unaware but Ojiro reported that the crime took place last week while the girl looked for water at night.

"Others have spent nights with their boyfriends in the guise of searching for this commodity," he said.

Domtila Juma, the chairperson of Kwa Ngombe Slums, added Muslims face difficulties in ablution or tawadha, which refers to clean-up for prayers.

"Women use a lot of water so lack complicates matter. I have had to think twice before meeting my partner because how will I clean myself after the act?" 

She further said her family of five uses an average of 200 litres per day yet her businesses fetches just Sh150 daily. The husband is unemployed.

"Furthermore, some of our neighbours who are HIV positive need to drink clean water regularly but where is it?" 

Elizabeth Akanui from Mikindani area said the disabled have suffered most while Janet Masinde said diseases such as typhoid and diarrhoea have become recurrent.

"We have lost a resident because of this," she said.

Emma Onyango, a Nyumba Kumi head in Bangladesh, noted the effects have trickled down to poor economic growth.

Due to this, the community living in Aldina area has raised funds for water connections with the help of a Norway donor. They have set-up a kiosk inside a community school and are waiting for water to flow.

Ojiro, who is coordinating the Sh100,000 project, said half of the money was paid by the donor.

"On Monday, we laid down pipes that were connected from the main source. This will be the first time women in this area will be fetching water within a kilometre distance," he said.

To sustain the project, the acivist said, a 20-litre container of water will cost Sh5.

"We want it to be as affordable as possible," he said.

Ojiro said environmental degradation has affected the aquatic water, subsequently lowering the boreholes levels.

Florence Sitawa, the Acting Deputy County Commissioner in charge of Jomvu sub-county, noted the need for a proper water system.

"Water scarcity is a stress trigger. With good systems, families will have enough time to generate incomes. Children will be looked after and won't be defiled," she said at her office on Monday.

Two weeks ago, area MP Badi Twalib told the National Assembly that pipes connecting water to the constituency were destroyed by road engineers constructing Mombasa-Jomvu Superhighway.

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