Two years after the Wamumu community in Kirinyaga, delivered a petition demanding better infrastructure and public services, they finally got clean drinking water. The petition was used by the community to keep up the pressure on their Member of County Assembly (MCA) – and the MCA used the same petition to push the County Assembly for funds for a water project.
Wamumu Ward is in Mwea Constituency, Kirinyaga County. The area is a big producer of horticulture and rice and also home to the infamous Gathigiriri Mwea G.K Prison.
In May 2018, the IFA Nyeri Team visited Kirinyaga County, with a focus on Mwea Constituency. After mobilizing the community and holding film screenings and discussions, it emerged that Wamumu was one of the most neglected communities in the area.
The community elected a Community Action Team (CAT) made up of eight community members that drafted a petition demanding proper roads and drainage, better health facilities, better schools, and clean drinking water.
After the CAT delivered the petition to the County Assembly of Kirinyaga on the 5th of June 2018, the roads were graded and culverts put in place within a week.
Constitution: Everyone has a right to clean drinking water
But clean drinking water for the community had remained a pipe dream. Though Mwea is home to several rivers like Tana, Thiba, Nyamidi, and Rupingazi, it still encounters endless water shortages for domestic use. Water for irrigation is abundant and is supplied through canals in the vast Mwea Constituency.
Following the petition delivery, the CAT from Wamumu did not relent in their pursuit for clean water. The community was fed up with consuming the contaminated water from the canals, and kept pursuing their Member of County Assembly (MCA) about the water priority.
The community’s confidence grew strong after they saw some of their demands met like the improvement of medical services and availability of drugs at the dispensary, which was in a miserable state before the petition. The dispensary previously had no drugs in stock and lacked key medical equipment.
Finally, the MCA used the same petition as a bargaining tool in the County Assembly to ask for an allocation of funds for the water project, and the project was funded in phases. The water pipes were procured by the county government, while the community was only too happy to volunteer their labour.
On 22nd May 2020, the MCA launched the Wamumu Water and Sanitation Project. Today, the Wamumu Community drinks clean tap water.
The petition had given the community a voice.
Story by IFA Central Team