Suffering from avoidable health problems has become a tragic way of life in developing countries. Millions of people are challenged by the burden of infectious disease, malnutrition, and health complications simply because they do not have access to clean drinking water.
Together with our guests, Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy is working toward eliminating these problems in Kenya, among Maasai children — a demographic whose health inequalities continue to be persistent and pervasive.
Creating access to clean drinking water is one of the most powerful ways to improve the world. The Safe Water for Schools Initiative introduces sustainable, non-invasive means to acquire clean water for Maasai students in Kenya. So far, Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy has provided the LifeStraw community filter, a high-volume water purifier designed to deliver safe drinking water, to eleven Maasai schools.
The filter’s hollow fiber purification technology converts contaminated water into safe drinking water by removing a minimum of 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.999% of viruses and 99.99% of protozoan parasites. It prevents waterborne diseases common in Africa, such as diarrhea, typhoid, cholera, worms, and cryptosporidiosis. Each filtration system can purify between 70,000 to 100,000 liters of water (enough to serve a school for three to five years), is chemical free, and does not require electrical power or batteries.
The introduction of this revolutionary filter into Maasai schools improves nutrition by preventing loss of vital nutrients due to diarrhea and water-related illness, helps prevent stunted growth and malnutrition in children who are particularly vulnerable to waterborne illness, and contributes to economic development of the community through income saved from avoidance of clinic expenditures. The ready-access to clean water will also help increase the productivity of school children and staff by reducing absenteeism from sicknesses related to diarrhea and other waterborne diseases. By implementing this program in schools, Sanctuary Retreats Philanthropy is promoting the health and hygiene of Maasai children in an equitable way.
In Kenya we have provided LifeStraw Community Filters to 42 schools in the Masai Mara National Reserve, 10 schools surrounding Ol Pejeta Conservancy and 20 schools in Amboseli National Park benefitting more than 54,000 children. Local schools have seen an improvement in children’s nutrition as loss of vital nutrients due to water-related illness has been limited. Furthermore, the filters are helping to prevent conditions such as stunted growth and malnutrition. The LifeStraw filters have also positively impacted the local community from medical expenditures, which can be extremely expensive. The access to clean water will also help increase the productivity of school children and staff by reducing absence caused by waterborne diseases. As part of our long-term commitment to the Maasai community, the Safe Water for Schools Initiative will use mobile phone technology to conduct quarterly surveys, ensuring all the filters are working well.