“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
Access to safe and clean water is a challenge for schools in Kenya. Especially in the rural areas, children walk long distances to fetch water which is not always safe for them to drink. The lack of clean water sources and poor sanitation conditions also lead to water-borne illnesses that result in low school attendance and falling behind in their classes.
In 2008, a man from Nebraska traveling in East Africa saw the need for clean water and sought to help. Through conversations with a social worker and educator in Nakuru, Kenya, he devised a system of installing water harvesting equipment (rain gutters and tanks), filters, hand washing stations, and clean water storage to be installed in schools in Kenya. In 2016, members of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod from Wyoming took over the project’s management.
In 2019, delegates at the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) in Alabama voted to approve the mission grant to help fund Water and the Word for Rural Schools in Kenya. This grant is supporting the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK) to show mercy through the clean water project to their schools and orphanages and build long-lasting relationships. In addition, it allows pastors and deaconesses to provide sound biblical teachings in their sponsored schools. Every dollar goes to help bring clean water and the Word to the children in Kenya!
The Water and Word Project exists to reach ELCK sponsored schools’ children, their parents, and the community at large in Kenya for Christ by sharing His Word and other life-sustaining elements through clean water. Water is vital for all people in their human activities, but most people don’t have access to clean water. This was a God-given opportunity extended to Project 24 to implement the project in ELCK sponsored schools through which the Gospel will be proclaimed to all.
This project has become a welcomed effort to bring communities together. ELCK leadership and church workers teamed with the local chapter of Running Water International to assess water needs at schools and install rain gutters and storage tanks, while school and community members support the preparation and maintenance. In addition, handwashing stations and clean water “buckets’ are placed in every classroom. Church and school leaders establish Water and Safe Hygiene (WASH) clubs to teach youth about personal hygiene, handwashing, and the importance of drinking only clean water.
In February 2021, Water and Word training took place at ELCK Ekerubo Gietai primary school in Nyamira. During this first phase, beneficiary schools included ELCK Botoro Primary school in Southwest diocese, ELCK Othoro Primary school in Southern diocese, ELCK Kamayech Secondary school in Northwest diocese, and ELCK Oleleshwa Primary school in Central diocese. Isaac Soita, the contractor from Running Water International, conducted the training with the ELCK bishops, etc. Now in its second phase, installation of water harvesting, and sanitation systems has begun in five additional ELCK sponsored schools. The program will also take place in those schools.
“Water is life, as well as Jesus, is life, with which without then we die. With this gift of water, the Gospel will get its way to young children who are the best change agents in our societies. Children who have been drinking unclean water can now enjoy clean and safe water for drinking and washing their hands during this Covid-19 pandemic to minimize its spread. They have been traveling long distances for this precious commodity, but now they can get it at their doorsteps. They will use the saved time to learn and read the Bible.” John Kissinger Nyang’au – Director of Project 24