From 2002 to 2007, the Water program in the Catholic Diocese of Kitale operated under the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret. It became a full-fledged department of the diocese of Kitale in 2007. In the diocese of Eldoret, the Water department had been initiated in January 1997 when the diocese invited experts from the Water Department of the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru to assist it to establish a Water Program. The experts initiated a preparatory phase that lasted until September 1998. The activities of that preparatory phase included;
i. Conducting a baseline study to establish the water needs in the diocese, including the two counties in the CDK i.e. West Pokot and Trans Nzoia.
ii. Preparation and submission of a project proposal to donors.
iii. Recruitment of diocesan staff for the water program.
iv. Establishment of a diocesan Water office.
After the preparatory phase, a full-fledged water department was established in the diocese of Eldoret.
In the Catholic Diocese of Kitale, the Water Program was established in 2007 to respond to increased community needs for the provision and improvement of water and sanitation services. As already stated, the program had existed earlier between 2002 and 2007 under the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret. The diocese of Kitale Water program is recognized by the government as an agency of development and is registered under The Catholic Diocese of Kitale Trustee.
The program carries out its activities in the expansive counties of Trans-Nzoia and West Pokot. It networks with both the national and county governments on issues pertaining Water, Sanitation and Environment. The program also collaborates with other organizations and agencies in enhancing partnerships for successful interventions and implementation of water projects in response to community water problems and needs. The World Mercy Fund and Combined Servicers Third World Fund are the main donor partners of the Water program in the CDK.
b) Main Functions
i. Assist in the provision of safe water in the rural areas for domestic use and livestock, through self-help initiatives.
ii. Coordinate the establishment of water committees and assist them to promote community participation in all activities of the community water projects.
iii. Contribute towards eradication of water-borne diseases through education and provision of safe water.
iv. Conscientize communities on hygiene and sanitation and conservation of the environment.
v. Promote sustainability of water projects and schemes.
vi. Organise training in technical, financial management, bookkeeping and recording for sound maintenance, management and sustainability of the projects
vii. Provide technical advice to parishes, community groups and other clients/projects.
ix. Build communities’ capacity towards self-reliance, resource mobilization and utilization.
xi. Enhance fund raising efforts to support different projects.
c) Problems and Challenges
The main problems and challenges that face this department are:
i. Lack of reliable transport to access different project sites.
ii. Inadequate finance to support the many needy projects.
iii. Rampant poverty that delays project implementation, limits cost sharing and affects project sustainability.
iv. Delays in project implementation and reporting (attributed to finance &development).
v. Poor networking and collaboration with other departments.
vi. Poor implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting of projects (challenge across all departments)
vii. Inadequate materials for education and training of the water users’ associations, communities, officials and their staff.
viii. Inadequate cost-sharing policy for financial sustainability of the department and projects/schemes.
ix. The Water Board has not been fully established.
x. Lack of essential equipment and accessories.
xi. Shortage of technical staff.
xii. Inability by communities to contribute their share of the costs.
xiii. Lack of awareness amongst the beneficiaries towards healthy hygienic and sanitary use of water, leading to sicknesses in children and members of the communities.
xiv. Low financial and general management skills, limited operation and maintenance abilities amongst the beneficiaries to sustain the projects.
xv. Scarcity of water closer to the communities leading to much time spent while fetching the commodity.
xvi. Lack of clean water supply.
xvii. Lack of capacity with demand for clean water.
xviii. Expensive drilling.
xix. Too many communities in need of clean water.
xx. Inadequate storage facilities.
Goals & Visions
i. Facilitate communities’ accessibility to improved sanitation facilities.
ii. Empower communities for self-reliance and sustainability.
iii. Enhance good conservation of the natural environment
iv. Provision of clean water at close proximity to all the communities for their own use, livestock and irrigation farming where necessary.
v. Have healthy communities with satisfactory and sustainable food security as a result of the availability of clean and potable water.
vi. Provision of water at close proximity to all so as to enable women and children to have time for other productive economic activities.
vii. To have improved agricultural and livestock production as a result of availability of water for livestock and crop farming.
viii. To have a community that is well sensitized and concerned about the need for a clean and friendly environment.
f) Strategic Orientation
The following are the key policy guidelines that will be enforced by the department:
i. Work with groups, which shall show genuine interest, and are ready to make precise requests and cost-share.
ii. Work with groups, which are registered in an acceptable legal framework.
iii. Prepare by-laws based on the model by-laws availed by the department, and shall pursue their operations on the basis of their by-laws.
iv. Formulate a cost-sharing policy guideline, i.e. of 50% local contribution for groups and 70% for institutions shall strictly be adhered to.
v. Ensure beneficiaries make a commitment to be available and to participate in all activities of the project including training in technical, financial and general management.
vi. Prepare project proposals competently and expeditiously. Each project will undergo a project-specific baseline study to determine feasibility and document the information and data upon which subsequent performance and impact will be measured.
vii. Design a monitoring and evaluation system and have it implemented for all projects and groups.
viii. Monitor the performance of completed projects for at least 3 years with a view to assisting groups to pursue policies for sustainability and self-reliance.
ix. Ensure self-support, self-reliance and sustainability, the department shall emphasize and enhance community mobilization, participation and involvement, capacity building and intensive education and training to users, committee officials and staff.
x. Ensure all project proposals are subjected for approval by the water board and the development commission.
xi. Ensure all applications pass through the parish/development committee and signed by the parish priest and the chief.
xii. Ensure that for projects, which require permits from the government to be considered, beneficiaries get the necessary approval from the relevant authorities.
g) Main Strategies
To achieve the visions and objectives, the following are the main strategies that will be applied by the department:
i. Assist in construction of hand-dug wells, gravity schemes, stand Ferro-cement tanks, protect springs, deep-wells and where necessary, pumping schemes according to the technical feasibilities and community needs.
ii. Form and implement a comprehensive water policy.
iii. Establish a Water Board.
iv. Develop education and training materials for users’ groups, committee members and staff.
v. Intensify education and training for beneficiaries, leaders and staff.
vi. Design bookkeeping and recording systems for groups, projects and schemes.
vii. Collaborate with other NGOs, groups, Government and other working in the same field.
viii. Assist the communities and groups in forming water committees.
ix. Equip and furnish the water office to serve the beneficiaries better.
x. Sponsor staff for skilled upgrading courses.
xi. Procure equipment i.e. survey, masonry and plumbing for department.
xii. Establish and train deanery/parish committees.