We work together with families to assist them in improving their living environment. They provide everything they can and we fund the rest, so that together we can ensure the children, youth, and adults can practice proper hygiene, feel secure at home, and enjoy dignity within their community.
Many families we assist live in homes with leaky roofs, or lack access to hygienic pit latrines. Through a collaborative effort called Healthy Homes, our staff in Kenya work with families to find a solution together. Typically, this means we fund materials like cement and iron sheets, while the families provide wood, labor, and whatever materials they can afford. Through this collaboration, Healthy Homes has assisted dozens of families to live with dignity in a safer and healthier home environment. We also work with families to ensure they have a traditional kitchen separate from the house, keeping unhealthy wood smoke from filling the living environment and significantly extending the lifetime of a new roof.
Our staff help families understand good hygiene practices and implement them as a daily routine. We provide families with water tanks that allow them to harvest rainwater from their roof instead of fetching it from a stream or gully-spring, reducing the risk of water-borne diseases and freeing up time otherwise spent by women and girls who haul water from far. Meanwhile, our Healthy Homes program makes proper hygiene easier by helping families build locally-appropriate latrines and washrooms.
Most families in the areas where we work use buckets or jerrycans to collect household water from the nearest stream, river, or spring. It is a job usually done by girls and women, taking time away from studying and income generation. Meanwhile, this water is often not clean, and although it’s fine for washing bodies and clothes, it puts those who drink it at risk of water-borne disease. We provide a 500-liter water tank to all families who are part of our Family Care program, and assist them to install a gutter and water pipe so they can harvest rainwater from the rooftop. Rainwater is naturally cleaner than water from other sources, but our social workers still assist families in understanding the importance of using chlorinated products like WaterGuard, and help guide them in accessing simple water filters that are often available for free from government or other charities.
The majority of families we support lack access to the electricity grid, and we help them overcome this problem by providing every household in our programs with a small solar light. With modern light, children can more easily study at night and adults can work later without worrying about trying to cook food in the dark.
A solar light is life-changing for people who previously had no home access to electric light. We give each family in our programs a bright, solar-powered lamp that also has a USB port to charge phones or, for those who have radios, to listen to music, news, and educational programs. We also assist families in building more fuel-efficient wood stoves for cooking, or we give them a “rocket stove” that uses less wood and produces less smoke. As the electrical grid in Kenya expands, we offer knowledge and financial assistance that helps eligible families access subsidized power connections. “Energy poverty” impacts over a billion people across the globe and we have helped hundreds of families overcome it, enabling them to live in homes that aren’t polluted by sooty smoke of kerosene lanterns, and remain productive both after the sun sets and before it rises.