Full Gospel Church of Kenya (FGCK) Swari Water Mission

For the remote village of Swari in Samburu, the first step towards getting a clean water supply happened 3 years ago with the chance meeting of Mr. Sami Konttinen (Chief Executive Officer, W4W) and Bishop Mugambi of Full Gospel Church of Kenya. Full Gospel Churches of Kenya ( FGCK ) was founded in 1949 in Kisumu District by Missionaries from Finland. Since then, the church has expanded to many parts of Kenya including Murang’a, one of the Counties in Central Kenya. Bishop Mugambi is the head of FGCK in Murang’a.

Earlier that year (2017), FGCK Murang’a had opened a church mission in an extremely remote village in Samburu County known as Swari. Swari is located 50kms north of Wamba town. The encounter with Swari community exposed FGCK to the reality being faced by many communities in the remote and under-served parts of Kenya. Swari was one of the villages where a person had to walk several miles in extremely high temperatures in order to get access to unclean water in seasonal steams, pans and ponds to meet a family’s basic domestic needs. Such water scarcity brings about conflicts since inhabitants have to scramble for the scarce resource to simply quench their thirst. The rivalry among communities coupled by the threat of wild animals that have to quench their thirst from the same water sources creates a very volatile and insecure environment for the inhabitants of these areas. This is especially hard on children who despite having to walk for several kilometers to access educational facilities, mostly drop out and go back home to care for their families’ livestock or often sick relatives.

In the case of Swari, the nearest source of water is a seasonal river located several kilometers away. The residents have to make more than two trips a day to get enough water to meet the most basic household or domestic needs. Being a pastoralist community, most of the young boys of school going age are usually out in the field with their fathers looking after livestock while young girls help their mothers with chores at home which include trips to the river. Enrollment in schools is very poor.

On their chance meeting, Sami and Bishop Mugambi discussed the challenges faced at the new FGCK field mission. It downed on them that the Swari community needed far more than spiritual nourishment. One of the most viable interventions was to help the community access clean and abundant water. Having agreed on that, they challenged the Church to pray along with them for the provision of the resources to meet this need.

The answer to the prayer came through Sami’s daughter who was studying in Aberdeen in Scotland. Through her, Sami got connected to King’s Community Church that is involved in mission work and reaching out to under privileged communities. A visit by Rev Ian from King’s Community Church and two of his congregants to Kenya and then Swari gave birth to a working partnership between Water for The World (W4W) and King’s Community Church. The agreement was for the drilling of a borehole to provide water for the community in addition to training and support in the areas of basic health and sanitation.

As the team walked in faith towards realization of the goal, they were joined by yet another partner- World Poverty Solutions – who came in to help in integrating physical and spiritual aspect of development through a training program called Community Health Education (CHE).

The success of Swari water project can be described as a long journey with ups and downs. For example, the terrain was challenging for trucks to access, and mechanical breakdown of equipment was rampant due to the extreme heat. And yet in spite of the difficulties of reaching the site, the first hole drilled turned out dry! This was very demoralizing for the drilling team and it dashed the hopes of an eagerly waiting community, who had camped day and night at the drilling site expecting relief from the expected water strike. Fortunately the second drilling effort was successful but alas! the water turned out to be highly saline therefore not suitable for human consumption! Once again, God opened a way and yet another partner – Solar Water Solutions -provided a solar powered reverse osmosis water purification solution.

As the drilling and other technical work progressed, the community were also taken through series of water management training to ensure sustainability of the borehole project and other developmental approaches within the Swari community.

Residents of Swari arrive for the commissioning the Swari Water Projectcommissioning the Swari Water Project

Bishop Mugambi of Full Gospel Church Murang’a and Rev Ian from King’s Community Church Aberdeen commissioning the Swari Water Project

2nd October 2019 was the date for an auspicious occassion when the team came together for a thanks giving service and commissioning of SWARI UPGRADED WATER MISSION PROJECT. The ceremony was graced by Bishop Mugambi of Full Gospel Church of Kenya, Murang’a and Rev Pastor Ian from King’s Community Church, Aberdeen.

The Swari Swari Water Project plaque

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