Water, Sanitation and Hygiene


Each person on Earth requires at least 20 to 50 liters of clean, safe water a day for drinking, cooking and maintaining cleanliness. Therefore, clean water is a fundamental necessity for human survival. Drinking clean water, both for humans and animals, maintains good health, aiding digestion, boosting blood supply, cleaning the body of waste and preventing sickness, especially for children.

Marsabit is a rain-deficient county that largely relies on rain-dependent water systems. Frequent droughts coupled with the effects of climate change are resulting in decreasing amounts of available water county-wide. With no permanent rivers in the county, during the rainy season and early dry season, over 70% of the pastoralist population and their livestock rely on boreholes, pans, and shallow wells. Only 4% of the population has access to piped water. These sources quickly dry up with the onset of the dry season and the population has to rely on a limited number of high yielding boreholes, often at an average distance of about 30 km away. According to the Marsabit County Integrated Development Plan, 2013-2017, “most of the resources are used to take care of emergencies at the expense of longer-term development”

On Sanitation, households with latrines account for 34.3 per cent of the population. Waste/garbage disposal is done by public garbage heap burning which account for 19.7 per cent, garbage pit (12.1 per cent), farm garden (8.9 per cent), public garbage heap (1.9 per cent) and 0.4 per cent disposed by local authority.

Girls and women, who are traditionally responsible for collecting water long distances from their residential areas bear the burden of the communities’ survival at the expense of their own education and development. Inaccessibility to clean portable water predisposes families to water borne diseases especially during the dry season where water for domestic and livestock use is drawn from open dams and water pans. During the rainy season, the community fetches water from seasonal surface runoff and streams which are unsafe for human consumption.

PACIDA continues to make a difference in the communities through the construction of large underground water tanks and water facilities for livestock, as well as replacing diesel-powered pumps with solar ones on boreholes. This has made a very big difference in water availability, accessibility, affordability and regularity (water security), both in urban and in grazing areas.

Training of Water User Committees (WUCs) has improved management aspects like accounting and book keeping. The cost of pumping water has reduced where solar water pumps have been installed, resulting in positive economic impact. Distances covered to the nearest water point have reduced from 15-20 km 10 years ago to about 1-5km currently, with some locations such as Loglogo, where with PACIDA support, water has been piped up to the homesteads (Manyattas), significantly reducing the time spent by women and girls on collecting water.

News Stories:

PACIDA implements pre-paid water meters in Dirib Gombo

Reliable water supply for Ambalo community


Summary of achievements in 2018

By expanding water storage facilities in Illeret through expansion of a natural dam to 1,800 cubic meters, PACIDA helped over 50 households to access safe water. A new borehole drilled at Dosa Wachu was equipped with a submersible pump, 57 solar panels of 270 Watts capacity and  6 meter elevated steel tank with capacity of 48 cubic meters. At Tiigo School, PACIDA constructed a 48,000 litre water storage tank serving 270 pupils with clean water. Three surface tanks completed in 2018 supported water harvesting initiatives in various schools. Hydrological surveys were conducted in Illeret in the prospects of getting underground water. Technicians opted for construction of shallow wells as a more sustainable option due to salinity of underground water.

Under hygiene and sanitation, PACIDA ‘s Hygiene Promotion and Community Led Total Sanitation approach (CLTS) enhanced knowledge on the proper use of toilets and hand-washing after visiting toilets. As a result of sensitization campaigns, more people maintained hygienic standards in Mudhe and other locations across the county. Construction of ventilated latrines with hand-washing facilities enhanced hygiene and sanitation, minimize threats of spread of diseases and eased congestion in targeted schools.

Read more about water, hygiene and sanitation successes from our annual report 2018

Narrative report

Operational outputs