ABOUT 150 households at Motukeri village in Serengeti District have every reason to smile because they now have access to clean and safe water which is available throughout the year, thanks to Singita Grumeti Fund (SGF) for improving a natural well at the village.
"Construction of the well has relieved the people in the village especially women of the burden of walking long distances in search for water," said Motukeri village Chairman Robert Nyaraba. The natural well provides water for domestic use and livestock consumption in the interior remote village whose large part is made up of beautiful flora and fauna.
"It was difficult for people to get water during dry seasons but now that we have the well which can provide water throughout the year that problem is now something of the past," the village chief said, adding that the facility has a provision for human consumption and another one for animals. Before the improvement, human beings and animals shared the supply from a single point.
SGF has spent millions of shillings to improve five natural wells in different villages of Serengeti and Bunda districts in Mara Region between 2010 -2012. The fund is a non-profit making conservation and community development organization that receives resources from Singita Grumeti Reserves (SGR) which operates luxurious lodges in western Serengeti.
"At the begging we drilled many boreholes and later supported construction of rain harvesting tanks and now we are focusing at improving natural wells. Such wells can provide water throughout the year if improved. The good thing about them is that they have no environmental effects," said Mr Richard Ndaskoi, head of SGF Outreach Programme.
He mentioned villages that have benefitted from the fund's support as Singisi, Motukeri, Iharara, Makundusi and Miseke in Serengeti District. For example, two water collection stations have been installed at the natural well at Miseke village at the cost of over 21m/-.
A similar project has been executed at neighbouring Singisi village. "We have also improved a natural well at Hunyari village in Bunda District and people will soon start enjoying water, service from the well," Mr Ndaskoi added. Over 42m/- has so far been spent to set up three collection points and a cattle trough at Hunyari natural well. SGF's Community Outreach Department has built two rain water harvesting tanks at Kyandege and Bukore villages at the cost of over 50m/-.
Each tank has the capacity to hold 50,000 litres of water at ago. In 2012 alone SGF set aside 104m/- to help improve water services in some villages of Bunda and Serengeti districts with public institutions such as schools also being listed as some of the beneficiaries. In addition to that it has financed the rehabilitation of 20 boreholes drilled several years ago with the aim of improving water supply in various parts of the Serengeti and Bunda districts.
According to the fund's Managing Director, Mr Brian Harris, the work has enabled SGF to gain so much experience in the implementation of water projects in the two districts of Mara Region. Mr Harris stressed the need to protect water sources and challenged beneficiaries of the SGF funded projects to make good use of them for the present and the coming generations.
The organization is currently supporting construction of a rain water harvesting tank with the capacity of accommodating 50,000 litres at the cost of over 23m/- at Nagusi Secondary School. "Completion of this project will relieve us of the task of walking about 2 km in search for water," Mr Robert Kitang'ita , a teacher at Nagusi ward Secondary School said.
Nagusi is one of the several ward community secondary schools opened in Serengeti District in recent years, in efforts to improve provision of education in the area. The school is estimated to have 400 students from families that in the past relied mostly on poaching as their major source of income. However, poaching incidents are reported to have decreased significantly in the villages that benefit from SGF in the two districts over the past few years, according to local leaders.