Church World Service, The Potter’s House Join Forces to Help Solve Kenya’s Water Problems

Church World Service and The Potter’s House announced on Sept. 21 that they will join forces to help solve Kenya’s water problems.

Church World Service and The Potter’s House announced Wednesday that they will join forces to help solve Kenya’s water problems.

Through the “Water for Life” program, the global humanitarian agency and the 30,000-membered church in Dallas will provide clean and safe sources of water to villages in Kenya that currently have little or no clean water sources. Currently, many of the villagers are forced to walk for miles to the nearest water source.

“We are delighted to be able to share our global development expertise with the dedicated people of The Potter’s House church,” said Church World Service Executive Director, Rev. John L. McCullough.

Although the program that will be presented during a weeklong event Sept. 26-30 includes the building of wells in villages, McCullough noted that the “Water for Life” ministry provides more than wells to villagers. He said, “It represents hope for families whose babies now will have a chance to grow up instead of dying young from deadly intestinal diseases just because there is no clean drinking water nearby.”

The water source problems have created intense conflicts in certain areas in Kenya.
In the past, the Maasai and Kikuyu tribes had frequent conflicts over the water source between the two areas. In 2005, these conflicts led to the deaths of over 120 people when the Kikuyus blocked the water source for the Maasai livestock. CWS and The Potters House were able to arrange peace talks between the two tribes concerning the problem, resulting in the construction of three wells. The partners will consign the wells to the Suswa and Mai-Mahiu areas on Sept. 27.

Moses Ole Sakuda, the associate director of CWS reports that the people in the Suswa and Mai-Mahiu areas responded to the project “with joy and praise.” Ole Sakuda also added that the wells had “brought peace to the region.”

Church World Services and The Potter’s House plan also includes building schools that can provide a safe and supportive environment for children in Kenya. The program, called “School Safe Zones,” hopes to help public schools in Kenya create an atmosphere that facilitate learning. So far, CWS has helped the 2,000 Kenyan students of Kawangware Primary School experience greater safety through a $15,000 grant that was used towards building gates to enclose the seven-acre campus.

The construction of clean water sources and schools are a part of CWS’s Africa Initiative – “an intensive multi-year effort to work with African churches and government and civic institutions to find solutions to root cause of poverty,” according to a CWS statement. The Africa Initiative will address issues such as peace building and conflict resolution, care of displaced people, alleviating hunger and poverty, developing clean water resources, and providing access to public health care among other concerns stated the CWS statement.

Kenya will be the first country where the “Water for Life” program will be implemented, but the program is expected to bring clean water sources to many other African countries.

“Although we are going to Kenya right now, we are not going to stay only there,” said Bishop Jakes recently. “Instead, the initiative is the center of what might be termed a ‘spider web approach’ to accompanying our brothers and sisters on the continent of Africa.”

During the week of Sept. 26-30, CWS and TPH will hold a public inauguration for the Kenya water and health projects in Nairobi. Events such as vision and health clinics for Kawangware students and residents of the area, and distribution of eyeglasses will take place at the occasion. There will be 25 U.S. doctors and 100 Kenyan doctors and nurses at the event.

"This is an exciting time for Church World Service, The Potter's House, and our mission partners in Kenya,” McCullough said as he awaits the inauguration events. “Through our work together in mission we will experience the joy of giving and receiving as we share in helping to solve a life-threatening problem for the people of Kenya."