In Kenya, a few hours outside of Kisii in overlooked rural areas, Aqua Clara International (www.aquaclara.org) has been at work for the past year, training local entrepreneurs in the manufacture, promotion, installation and sale of simple, effective and affordable household water filters. Currently in the Kisii region, there are 16 entrepreneurs, each working from a rural school as a base of operations in their own community, making a small profit while serving their fellow community members. Thanks to Kind World Foundation, ACI has taken the initial steps in the implementation of its first ‘H2Ope Center,' refitting a four room building in rural Rigoma as a center for local training, oversight, testing and tracking. Ten community health workers, meeting with all new filter users, are now fully supporting the program, and filter entrepreneurs have now also been trained in the sale of safe water storage and distribution containers. As the center is finished, more water, sanitation and hygiene related trainings and products will be distributed through this center to ACI's growing network of local entrepreneurs.
On July 1st, a dozen local leaders from the rural area of Rigoma (near Kisii in Kenya), met with ACI staff to officially donate a building to serve as the site of ACI's first H2Ope Center – a center of community support and training operations. This first center will have office space for ACI staff, lab space for the regular testing of purifiers, and a large classroom for the continual training of entrepreneurs as well as community health workers.
Though the building doesn't currently look like much, it is one of the largest and most solidly built in the rural area where most of ACI's entrepreneurs are working. Originally a government cash crop buying center, it has lain largely unused for years. The local officials present were happy to donate it to ACI's programs, being very pleased that ACI chooses to base itself in the rural areas rather than in city-centers, as they see many other rural development projects choosing.
While moving forward with its training center, ACI has continued to expand its partnerships in the area, including shared training promoting income generating projects applicable for the rural environment. In June, ACI partnered with African Development Initiatives (ADI) staff to conduct its first training in high-yield greenhouse and drip irrigation construction and management. Soon, ACI will be involved in the construction of simple, effective affordable latrines, as well as discounted rain water harvesting systems.