SDGs associated
Universities associated
Action Category

Water and Sanitation Project in Kenya


The WSCSD-African Initiative was conceived in 2008 to stimulate and support development of social enterprises among students and recent graduates by empowering them with necessary resources, technical skills, and networks to provide sustainable solutions to poverty-related issues in Africa. Its flagship water and sanitation project in Kenya is managed by spin-off student-led NGO—Safe Water and LED Lighting Operatives Worldwide (SWALLOW) and is aimed at providing simple, sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. 

After 18 months of planning, the project was started in December 2009 by student volunteers from the Universities of Nairobi (Kenya) and Regina (Canada) with training, manufacture and the installation of 12 Filters to an impoverished HIV/AIDS support group in Nyakongo. 


Plans are underway to register a regional branch of SWALLOW in Kenya so as to fast track scaling up of the project to other African countries. 

Main actions

  • Provide Simple, Cheap, Effective and Long-lasting water treatment/filtration systems 
  • Provide basic sanitation and hygiene education and training 
  • Provide training in water filter use and maintenance 
  • Provide technology transfer to build, distribute and train others in water filtration 
  • Provide vocational training in water-focused and energy-related businesses. 


The project has delivered 48 filters and expanded in scope to incorporate a holistic approach to the development of Nyakongo community by building capacity of individuals and supporting group initiatives targeting bore-hole drilling, rain water harvesting and construction of VIP latrines, improved agriculture and rural energy alternatives. 

  • 200 community members (120 women, 40 men, 40 youths including 8 university students) have been trained in BSF construction, installation, operation and maintenance. 
  • 48 families, of which 20 are HIV-positive, have been provided with biosand purifiers. 
  • Reduced water-related morbidity and mortality among the beneficiaries. 

Stigma associated with AIDS is reduced because of mutual understanding developed as the infected, affected and non-infected worked together to acquire the filters. Filter owners have formed Nyakongo Self-Help Group and established a Village Saving and Loaning program that is already attracting many residents whom refused to commit their labour in the project unless they are paid. 

Innovative aspects

From this experience we realized that a holistic approach is needed in addressing community problems at the root not at the symptomatic level. HIV/AIDS and health in general, can no longer be treated only within the confines of health. Thus, SWALLOW’s integrated project has been conceived to focus on what can be done for Nyakongo’s children and youth before they are drastically affected by poverty and HIV/AIDS. 


Latest update: 31.10.2023