Program Vision: Increasing access to SafeWater and Sanitation, improving community and environmental health for Kenyan families, and strengthening bonds of friendship with the Tweed community
The Tweed Kenya Mentoring Program (TKMP) is a unique relationship that has grown between the Tweed community and a number of poor rural villages in the Siaya district of Western Kenya. The program vision connects water and people, recognising the fundamental similarity of our communities need for water, but extreme difference in our ability to access and manage it.
Rural Siaya is one of poorest areas in Kenya and suffers some of the country's worst human health and welfare indicators, including high infant mortality and very limited water and sanitation service levels. Due to climate and geology, surface water is very scare in the district, and ground water is restricted to deep brackish aquifers.
TKMP uses the Tweed’s human, technical and financial resources to support projects focusing on water, sanitation, hygiene, environmental education and youth development. The program is underpinned by a strong bond of friendship between individuals from Tweed Shire and Kenya who have met and learnt from each other over the life of the program. Ongoing facilitation of visits between the two countries is a key objective of the program.
The program retains the services of committed Kenyan staff, and operates within three villages where volunteer Tweed Shire Council staff members have installed water purification equipment at local dams. Kenyan staff work with local villages to operate and maintain these 'Safewater stations' and visit local schools to raise awareness of environmental issues and organise youth development activities based around sport.
TKMP is funded by voluntary contributions made by a significant number of Tweed Shire Council Staff, the sum of which is matched by Tweed Shire Council. Significant annual sponsorship is also received from the Peden family, and a large number of individuals and community services organisations. The International River Foundation in Brisbane assists with the programs financial management, enabling donations to the program to be made tax deductable. Skyjuice Foundation has also provided significant support through the donation of equipment and expertise over many years.
A new Operational Plan was adopted by Council on 17 July 2012 with unanimous support for the program and ongoing support for at least the next three years.
The Tweed TKMP management group have confirmed their intention to implement the 5th Safewater Project, ideally in May 2013. This project will focus on sanitation, and result in the construction of toilets in at least one of the three schools in villages where existing projects operate. Improving sanitary facilities for children in schools is a project that will be used to catalyse community wide adoption of toilets, a key step in further reducing the impact of communicable disease and poverty in the Safewater villages.
Download a copy of the Operational Plan 2012 to 2015 (1.69mb).