Water Packs to Marsabit
Can a water back pack carrier improve the quality of life for those who carry water? Seems like the answer would be obvious – especially if you are the one who carries 20 liters of water in a heavy, plastic jerry can – on your back or on your head. Try carrying 5 10 pound bags of potatoes and you will know what women carry – many carry this amount of weight for 8 hours. The water back bags are not only much lighter than the jerry cans but they are designed to provide support making carrying the 20 liters of water much, much easier. I have tried the water back pack myself and there is a huge improvement over the jerry can.
But, how will we know the difference a water back pack can make? Answering this question is why Partners for Care is working with Grief (the company that has developed the pack) and Liz Blake, Vice President of Habitat for Humanity and Tony with Back the Pack to conduct a demonstration project studying the implementation of the water back pack. That is why the PFC staff traveled long, difficult roads to take 400 packs to the people of Marsabit.
The first step was to complete a questionnaire asking the people about how they carry their water, how far they go to fetch the water, what ailments they have from carrying water, and if they clean their drinking water. We asked if their children go with them and if they carry water, too. Second, was to train the people how to use the pack – how to fill it with water, how to lift it to put it on their back, how to clean the pack, etc. Then the team got to give each person their own water pack! The photos tell the story.
Pastor Hirbo will go weekly to Parkishon to monitor the the adoption and proper use of the packs. In 6 weeks I get the exciting job of going to Marsabit to see how the project is going. Then in December we will do the post-survey to determine the anticipated benefits of using the water back packs. We will see if they have less neck and back pain, if it takes less time to carry their water home and what they do with that time.
The team on the ground – Sammy, Moses, George and John along with Pastor Hirbo did a great job this week getting the packs to Marsabit, completing the surveys, training on how to use the packs, distributing the packs and taking the photos so they can share the process with all of you. It is a joy to work with thee PFC staff in Kenya who have a passion to help their own people. Enjoy the photos!
Driving to Parkishon
Difficult travel. Truck broke down delaying the team for a while
Training the “trainers”
Completing the surveys
Teaching how to use the packs
The women are happy
Giving the packs
Taking their packs home