A wish for water not just a pipe dream

"I dreamt about water all the time," said Diana, a mother of 10 living in a remote part of western Kenya, where fresh water is scarce.

"I once dreamt of a stream flowing outside my homestead … I kept asking God to help us get water so that we do not suffer any more."

To her amazement, Diana's dreams became real. With your support, a pipe now carries clean water to her village from a source several kilometres away.

Before, she rose at 4am to walk three kilometres, taking her an hour each way, to the community's only freshwater well. Once there, she could spend another four hours queuing for just one bucket of water – hardly enough for cooking, let alone her family’s other needs.

When the well ran dry, she had to go even further. The daily search was all-consuming.

"I could not sleep at night. I could not sit down to share a meal with my children … All we could do was to look for water," Diana said.

During the wet season there was some sense of relief, as rainwater collected at a nearby dam. But convenience had its price.

"My children would develop high fever and begin to vomit, and I would know they had typhoid," she explained. "The food we ate also tasted bad because the water we were cooking with was saline."

Due to illness, Diana's children often missed school.

"They kept repeating one class after another. I never imagined they would ever succeed in life." But now, with clean water to drink, her children are well and progressing through school once more.

Her children also have access to clean water at school. Storage tanks have been installed in primary schools, benefiting over 5,600 students. In addition to the clean water supply, the project has supported the construction of 27 blocks of safe and clean toilets across 16 schools and four health clinics. Having access to sanitary toilets will make a huge difference to the health and well-being of Diana's community.

These developments are part of a region-wide program, supported by Australian donors like you, improving livelihoods and health through access to clean water. In the last two years, 16 new water sources just like the one in Diana's community have been developed. Thanks to you, 15,000 people in the area now have access to clean water.

Diana's dreams are now filled with hope. She plans to establish a kitchen garden and replace her donkeys – which she no longer needs for fetching water – with dairy cows to earn income and provide milk for her children.

Now that women in Diana's community no longer have to spend hours collecting water, they are able to spend more time earning an income and participating in important community forums and processes.

"The most difficult burden in my life has been lifted from my shoulders," Diana declared. "I believe this is the beginning of change."