Texas-based Christian ministry provides clean water to residents living near polluted river in Kenya

Screengrab/The Bucket Ministry
Screengrab/The Bucket Ministry

Amid the endless rows of tightly packed shanties lining the outskirts of Athi River, a city with an ancient lineage situated about 20 miles from Nairobi, the U.S.-based Christian nonprofit organization The Bucket Ministry is bringing the gift of clean, safe drinking water to residents who have long struggled with unsafe water sources.

The Texas-based ministry has announced its plans to distribute water filters to a quarter of Athi River’s population, specifically targeting the city’s four slums: Bondeni-Jua Kali, Kanani, Slaughter and Sophia. The initiative is focused on combatting the rampant waterborne diseases afflicting these communities, where municipal plumbing is absent and sewage management is non-existent.

Christopher Beth, founder and director of the Bucket Ministry, said that of the total cases reported at local clinics, “40 out of every 100 are water-related illnesses.” Beth believes this figure can be substantially reduced by providing simple and easy-to-maintain water filters. The ministry plans to distribute Sawyer PointONE filters, connected to buckets, that promises up to 20-plus years of clean, safe, drinking water.

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This effort, the ministry says, follows the success of its previous work in Kibera, Nairobi’s informal settlement and Africa’s largest slum. In this settlement, the ministry managed to equip half the households with filters, drastically reducing self-reported diarrhea rates from 52.7% to 2.2% within roughly 70 days.

But these life-changing efforts come amid tensions with the Kenyan government. The Bucket Ministry told The Christian Post that despite the government’s claim of intending to solve the water crisis, it has actually sought to tax the organization for providing the filters.

A widespread issue in the region, water pollution is worsened by local industries accused by environmentalists of discharging raw sewage and pollutants into the Athi River, further contaminating the already compromised water sources, The Associated Press reported earlier. Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority, responsible for the river’s water quality standards, has also been accused of negligence in controlling industrial discharge into the river.

Athi River, home to a diverse range of economic classes, witnesses the plight of its lower-class residents predominantly dwelling in slums. Recent census data revealed that the majority of families in the largest slum, Slaughter, survive on less than $1 a day.

To further their outreach, The Bucket Ministry conducts three in-home follow-up visits after each filter distribution. These visits are tracked using their proprietary Mission Mapping system and offers an opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus while ensuring proper maintenance of the water filters.

With financial support from The Stoller Foundation, The Bucket Ministry has initiated its distribution in Athi River and is seeking additional funds to extend its water filter delivery to all households in the slums.

Since its inception in 2012, The Bucket Ministry has worked in over 20 countries, with the vision of reaching all regions in need of clean water and the message of the Gospel. As Beth puts it, they are as much concerned about the earthly existence of those they serve as they are about their heavenly lives.

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