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Project 1:


In 2009, the Los Angeles IHSAN Chapter raised funds to construct two dams at the Kimbo School in the Malewa valley in central Kenya.  This not only provided safe drinking water to the schools and nearby community, but also much needed jobs for displaced people after the 2008 political conflict. 


Many disadvantaged communities in central Kenya depend on the Malewa and Turahsa rivers for their livelihood.  This project has improved the health of the people in this community.  The project has also improved the quality of life, as women and young girls no longer need to walk long distances to find water, and farmers are now able to irrigate their land for better crop production, leading to an improved income.


Project 2:


In partnership with Wherever the Need, and with individual donations from IHSAN supporters, IHSAN sponsored the construction of an open reservoir in northern Kenya to provide access to water to the people of the Samburu tribe.  


Samburuland in northern Kenya is expansive and remote. Due to changing climate patterns, the nomadic lifestyle of the 150,000 people of the Samburu tribe is seriously threatened. The dam that IHSAN donations contributed to is part of a much larger project with a grand vision.  The 10+ year project aims to construct 120 Open Reservoirs (measuring 100m x 100m x 10m and can contain up to a phenomenal 100 million litres of water) along the northern elephant migration route. Water is collected in these dams during the rainy seasons and will allow the Samburu tribe, other people, livestock and wild animals to survive, even in the dry season. Each dam costs approximately 30,000 USD depending on the size. 


Project 3:


IHSAN-Los Angeles members delivered funds they had raised through an IHSAN fundraiser to IHSAN Project Partner Malewa Trust. The funds were used for water reservoirs and education programs at the Kimbo School in Gilgil, Kenya - a rural community two hours north of Nairobi. This project helped hundreds of families by building a much needed water source for a school of over 250 children - almost 80 of whom are displaced children. Young schoolgirls were able to attend school because they no longer had to walk everyday miles down the mountain, to the river, and back up again with 10 gallons of water strapped to their foreheads! Their families now have access to water.  Locally displaced women are provided much needed employment. The children continue to learn about water and environmental education, and newly planted gardens will survive - allowing sustainability for the community.



Our Field Partner : Wherever the Need (WTN)


WTN is a UK charity implementing projects that focus on the holistic approach in the use and provision of water and sanitation.   In its simplest form it provides clean drinking water to human beings and extends the supply to livestock, crops and trees.  To further the charity's aim to safeguard the planet, all projects are environmentally sound. For more information please visit : 

Our Field Partner : Malewa Trust


The Malewa Trust is a Kenyan based trust which promotes environmental education, sustainable land management, and conservation of biodiversity within the water-catchment areas of the Malewa and Turasha River valleys in central Kenya.  The Trust has been the conduit for donor funds to reach rural schools while supporting the Kigio Wildlife Conservancy in order to protect endangered species. For more information please click here



Water reservoir construction in Malewa,Kenya

Water reservoir construction in Malewa,Kenya

Girls carrying water in Malewa,Kenya

Harvested rainwater in the constructed dams

School girls walking with water jerry cans 

Water reservoir construction at kimbo school Gilgil,Kenya




In early 2009, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) students finalized a research paper for a sustainable Small Business Enterprise addressing hygiene and sanitation. The project involved a $750 microloan to a local Kenyan soap maker, Jane, to expand her business beyond her immediate community. The project plan helped her devise a business model and five-year plan for expansion.


Thanks to a gracious individual donation of $750 from an IHSAN member in Sonoma, California, the project began in spring 2009. In only six months, Jane used the money to purchase more equipment (helping the marketplace), hired local staff to assist (providing much needed jobs), and expanded her sales to communities some 40km away, while saving a percentage of her profits to pay back IHSAN for the microloan. That money was lent back Jane a second time for expansion. During WPI's student internships in summer 2010, they assisted Jane with marketing, distribution, and sales expansion plans, while commencing hygiene awareness programs for schools in the entire region. The hygiene education program cost approximately $5,000. In the future, IHSAN would like to replicate this project success by sponsoring other disadvantaged businesses in the region. In 2012, IHSAN heard that Jane was still going strong in her community and her plans to expand into the Nairobi market were still on the books. She had already raised enough capital to purchase a vehicle for transportation and delivery of her products. Jane’s project shows the true footprint of IHSAN’s efforts: From the donation of an IHSAN member in California to a research plan by university students in Massachusetts to Skills Venture—a London-based small business development partner to a disadvantaged community in Kenya. 

Jane from Kenya at her soap business




In 2008, IHSAN volunteers conducted a trial project introducing BWM equipment, donated by B9 Plastics, to boarding schools in Kenya. The incident rates of diarrhea and other ailments caused by water-borne diseases decreased significantly through use of the BWM. While the BWM pilot program was successful in that regard, IHSAN was unable to gain the empirical data needed on usage of the equipment for future projects.


Subsequently, with the assistance of research conducted by the IHSAN Student Chapter at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), a detailed business plan with research components was developed to expand the BWM into more disadvantaged communities in Kenya. During their summer 2010 internships in Malewa, WPI student volunteers kicked-off a second phase of the BWM Kenya Project, partnering with Skills Venture and Malewa Trust NGO to bring the business plans they prepared to fruition. The project cost was $10,000 and included equipment, materials, and microloan grants for the deployment of six BWM projects throughout the region. WPI volunteers raised funds for their own travel. 

Karin (member of the board) doing the first field trial of BWM in Malewa, Kenya

Community members using BWM,Malewa,Kenya

Our Field Partner : B9 Plastics


B9 Plastics is a not for profit company dedicated to social and environmental improvement through the use of plastics. Currently, B9 is working on many solutions which address creating healthy water: water treatment, human generated power, and beneficial uses of commingled plastic.  There are many existing organizations that focus on providing safe drinking water to people in developing countries. B9’s goal is to provide them with an improved tool for accomplishing their work. For more information please visit:



Better Water Maker Technology:


The Better Water Maker (BWM) is a human-powered device designed for use in the developing world to produce safe water. By physically turning a hand-crank, electric power can be generated to pump water through a column containing an ultraviolet light bulb. The UV bulb has an expected life of 8,000 hours, which can produce 225,000 gallons of safe drinking water.  The water flow is controlled to make sure there is enough contact with the light to kill E.coli bacteria. The lightweight plastic units are easily movable and can be used by numerous households. The PWC BWM can safely produce as much or little water as needed and can produce potable water immediately, anytime and anywhere. Use of the BWM is environmentally benign; the source of energy is human power and there are no waste products. 



Community members learning to use BWM,Malewa,Kenya

Karin tasting the clean drinking water from BWM (yum!)

Testimonial: Anna Chase, Malewa Kenya, June 2010  


"My name is Anna Chase, I'm studying engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and about a month ago I traveled to Kenya with two other students to carry out a project. I worked with two women wanting to create a business selling clean water from the Better Water Maker (BWM).

One entrepreneur, named Naomi Mumbi, is 21 year old, two years of out of high school, working on her family's farm alongside ten of her brothers and sisters. Raw water from the nearby Malewa River is pumped to her community, resulting in lush farms, but outbreaks of cholera, typhoid, and amoebic dysentery are common.  The other entrepreneur, named Mary Munthoni, came from a community that had access to treated water.  However, because all their water was treated, it made its way into the soil and bellies of livestock. Mary's chicken can't gain weight or lay eggs and her crops are meek in comparison to Naomi's. The treated water is also unpleasant to use domestically: it has an orange tint, smells, and there's oily residue left behind after washing with it. 

We started experiments comparing the BWM purified water to the raw and treated water: they could see the color difference after washing clothes, the effect it had on plants, the color difference, etc. The water test showed that it did kill the bacteria from the raw water.


I'm so appreciative of this opportunity I was given. Working on a project with people in the community really allowed me to learn much about their lives, giving me a better sense of how I can help them as I continue to pursue this engineering degree. I truly look forward to working with the Malewa Trust, IHSAN, and B9 as I continue to move forward in my career."

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