Some 3,000 prisoners in Kenya, including prison staff and their families, will soon receive clean drinking water and basic sanitation, thanks to a cooperation agreement signed last week between UN-HABITAT and a local NGO, the Prisoners Care Programme.
|The Executive Director of the Prisoners' Care Programme, Ms. Jemima Gichungu and Head of the Water and Sanitation Programme of UN-HABITAT, Mr. Bert Diphoorn sign the Cooperation Agreement. The ceremony was witnessed by Mr. Samuel Kariuki, Chairman of the Prisoners' Care Programme and Mr. Robert Goodwin, the Chief Technical Adviser of the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative|
The Prisons Water Project, to be piloted in Homa Bay and Kisii Prisons, situated in two towns in Western and South Western Kenya will also benefit the local community living around the prisons.
Under the agreement, UN-HABITAT will provide the NGO with approximately USD167, 537 to construct water storage facilities and connect them to the municipal water system. The money will also be used to rehabilitate and construct new sanitation facilities to improve hygiene in the prisons. These activities are scheduled to be completed within 9 months.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the head of the Water and Sanitation Programme of UN-HABITAT, Mr. Bert Diphoorn, noted that the project would uplift the living conditions in the prisons by providing clean drinking water, an extremely rare commodity in many Kenyan prisons. “Caravans of prisoners trooping to nearby springs and other dirty water sources will be a thing of the past”, he added.
On her part, the Executive Director of the Prisoners Care Programme, Ms. Jemima Gichungu, thanked UN-HABITAT for supporting the prisons water project and reiterated her NGO’s commitment to implement the project according to the agreed schedule. She noted that Kenyan prisons are currently characterized by severe overcrowding worsened by rudimentary facilities. “Lack of clean drinking water and adequate sanitation often result in deaths of inmates due to water-borne diseases”, she said.
The Prisons Water Project is a component of the ongoing Lake Victoria Region Water and Sanitation Initiative, a joint project involving UN-HABITAT and the Governments of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It promotes improved access to water and sanitation, encourages efficient water demand management and carries out capacity building activities to help towns around the Lake attain the water and sanitation MDG targets. Phase I of the Initiative is substantially completed and has already provided improved water services to over 114,000 persons and improved sanitation to about 20,000 persons.