UN-backed scheme gives 3,000 Kenyan prisoners clean water and sanitation

Executive Director of the Prisoners' Care Programme Jemima Gichungu and UN-HABITAT’s Bert Diphoorn sign agreement

24 November 2008 – Some 3,000 prisoners, staff and their families in Kenya will have access to clean water and basic sanitation thanks to a new United Nations-backed programme.

The pilot Prisons Water Project will be rolled out in two towns in western and south-western Kenya in a joint effort by the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the Prisoners Care Programme, a non-governmental organization (NGO).

Local communities around the prisons will also benefit from the supply of clean drinking water, which is rare in many Kenyan penitentiaries.

“Caravans of prisoners trooping to nearby springs and other dirty water sources will be a thing of the past,” Bert Diphoorn, who heads UN-HABITAT’s Water and Sanitation Programme, said.

The agency will provide over $150,000 to build water storage facilities which will be connected to municipal water systems, as well as fix or construct sanitation facilities.

The Prisons Water Project is part of the larger Lake Victoria Region Water and Sanitation Initiative, which brings together UN-HABITAT and the governments of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

That scheme seeks to help towns around the large lake to manage water demand efficiently and meet development targets. Its first phase has almost been completed, having provided improved water services to over 100,000 people and better sanitation to some 20,000.

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