12 solar-powered water systems for nomadic communities in Kenya
Together with Practical Action, we will help 72,000 people in pastoralist communities in north west Kenya access drinking water for themselves and for their livestock. The programme will also strengthen water governance and management systems for rural solar-powered water systems, including already existing Practical Action projects.

Turkana is an impoverished area of north west Kenya, characterised by arid and semi-arid lands and staggeringly high poverty.  More than 90% of the population live below the poverty level at 2 $ per day. Only around 20% of the population have access to clean water at least basic, due to poor water resource development and poor management.  The situation is made worse by persistent droughts – more on reliefweb.int.

Enhanced access to water will improve lives and significantly enable communities to:

  • Cope with increasing droughts and climate change
  • Improve household, maternal and child hygiene and health
  • Empower women
  • Undertake small-scale agriculture, to improve food security and provide an alternative source of income to help pay for water use

The project establishes 12 solar-powered water systems, in 3 geographical clusters, in rural Turkana County, Kenya. Photo: Practical Action

The county of Turkana is among the poorest and most marginalised in Kenya. It’s arid climate and poor soil conditions make it almost impossible to grow crops. The effects of climate change are only making it harder and water access is a major problem, as droughts become more frequent and severe.

"Most of the population in Turkana is made up of pastoralists, struggling to earn a living through raising livestock. 90% of people live below the poverty line and less than 20% have access to clean water."

Communities often trek for up to 15 km to reach water. Water points are usually scoop holes dug into dry river beds. The water is dirty and the climb into scoop holes is extremely dangerous. Where water points exist, people often queue for hours and it’s usually women and girls who are impacted the hardest.

Water access will be life-changing for communities in Turkana.  Through implementing solar-powered boreholes, communities will finally have a reliable supply of clean water. Local technicians will be trained to care and maintain the water points and we will work with local government to ensure families will continue to have water access, long into the future.

Project objectives

The primary objective of this project is to improve access to potable water for 72,000 *pastoralists (nomadic people who move around to productive land, depending on season) in rural arid and semi-arid in Turkana, north west Kenya. Due to the nature of their culture, it makes no sense to supply drinking water to people, without supply water for their livestock.

A secondary objective is to strengthen water governance and management systems for rural solar-powered water systems, including already existing Practical Action projects.  Improved governance and management will increase the project’s direct impact on 100,000 individuals (and about 200,000 animals).


  1. Establishment of 12 solar-powered water systems, in 3 geographical clusters, in rural Turkana County
  2. Creating effective water systems and management set-up, establishing and training (registered) Water Committees
  3. Improving WASH practices through training and increasing access to basic hygiene facilities e.g. water storage, hand washing etc.
  4. Strengthening policies and regulations for water management systems in Turkana county, e.g. guidance for installation and management of water points and management of water tariffs.
"With increasing droughts, there is a knowledge gap on understanding the strategic water and sanitation needs of pastoralist communities and the resulting sustainable water management options. The data from the project will provide knowledge to more sustainable water projects for pastoralist communities in the future."


Together with our partners, we bring access to safe and affordable water to the world's poorest in rural communities and forgotten refugee camps.

Kenya Refugee Alliance


UNHCR, PlanBørnefonden



Oxfam GB, Water Mission, WaterAid, Practical Action, UNICEF Denmark

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