Update on Swari, Kenya, 2021

Background

Swari is a remote village in North-Eastern part of Samburu County in Kenya. In 2016, a local church from Murang’a belonging to the Full Gospel Churches of Kenya (FGCK ) started mission work in Swari, serving a very remote, underserved and arid community. After assessing the needs of the Swari community, FGCK Murang’a approached Water for the World (W4W), and expressed the desire to provide the Swari community with water. At W4W, FGCK Murang’a made contact with the Chief Executive Officer, Sami Konttinen who also happens to be a Missionary. Sami simply advised the church to pray. A short while later, a connection was made with King’s Community Church (KCC) in Aberdeen Scotland and in early 2018, after a team visited Kenya, KCC chose to help Swari to get a borehole.
The Swari community would not only benefit from a borehole, but also Community Health Evangelism (CHE) training provided by Full Gospel Churches of Kenya (FGCK )

After drilling the borehole, the water was found to be saline. Good technology was available for water treatment, but it was costly. World Challenge (a partner of Full Gospel Churches of Kenya (FGCK ) was approached and they contributed for the water treatment, which was installed in 2019.

All the partners (FGCK Muranga, W4W, KCC Aberdeen and World Challenge) have been active throughout, supporting the water project , Swari mission work as well as the Community Health Evengelism (CHE).

Current Progress

The CHE training process has resumed after a break caused by Covid 19. In early December, the training team observed following changes:

  • Water access has improved. Villagers used to walk more than 5 km to access water can now quench their thirst just a few minutes from their home. This water is very clean, which is a miracle for Swari.
  • Quality of health improved. Provision of available, affordable and clean water means improved health especially for children. Due to treated water system accessible to the community, there is drastic reduction of water borne diseases which have been prevalent in the community as per local health centre report.
  • Women and children save lots of time as the water is near and that has helped them to engage into other profitable ventures such as small businesses, handicraft and other activities which benefit their families.
  • Despite the harsh weather conditions and very poor rocky soil structure, the community’s hopes of doing small kitchen garden farming has fired up due availability of water. Few families who have tried plating Moringa trees have reported tremendous progress. The garden that is being developed in coming months means there will be constant supply of vegetables.
  • Due to availability of abundant accessible water, a new secondary school with boarding facilities was built in record time of six months.
  • Quality of education has improved in both secondary and primary school as the access to quality and good quantity of water is near.
  • Violence and rape cases have highly reduced as schoolgirls don’t have to walk several kilometres in bushes to fetch water.
  • The community is now more open to the Gospel with clear and consistent invitations to teach them about the God of the Bible. Many have come to Christ and more village-based fellowships are coming up even in wider area. So far, there are 3 church fellowships. 2 of them have been started by women in the communities themselves in two different villages.
  • Men who have been resisting Gospel are now opening up. Recently a village elder received Jesus as his personal saviour.
  • Community is receptive to new changes and for learning.
  • The resilience of the people is increasing.
  • Community is taking more responsibility in managing the water with more people being involved in decisions about day to day running and how resources are used.

We have reason to be grateful that despite numerous challenges, all this progress has been made. Glory to God! The CHE training will continue for 1-2 more years. By then we hope the local church and community will have increased its capacity to continue with the process of transformation. Swari is a good example of how holistic gospel can be applied for human progress; where spiritual, physical, mental and other needs of the people are considered.

We plan to do more in-depth evaluation of the progress in 2021 and a more detailed report will follow. On the behalf of the W4W, we want to thank all the partners involved!