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The Horn of Africa is suffering from the worst drought in 40 years. In Kenya alone, more than 5 million people struggle without access to safe water. In the region of West Pokot, collecting water has never been easy—women and girls typically have to walk miles in the burning sun, facing threats from the environment and passersby, all for the possibility of filling up a single jerrycan in a livestock trough. 

The Smart Tap System, funded with support from USAID and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, is helping to make it safer, faster, and easier for people to collect the water they need for drinking, washing, and planting. It functions like a solar-powered "vending machine,” allowing someone to withdraw water with simply a tap of a token on the machine’s electronic interface. The interface and its water pipes are connected to a massive storage tank, which simultaneously pulls and treats groundwater. 

For people like Habiba Kanchora Wario, shown here in 2023, this invention has done more than provide clean water, combat community-wide malnutrition, and even save lives—it has also inspired hope. Habiba is responsible for feeding herself and her three young children and, without water to cook, they would all often go hungry. Today, even amidst the ongoing drought, it takes only moments for her—and thousands of others from her community—to safely collect all the clean water they need. 

Solar-Powered Vending Machines Provide Clean Water in Drought-Stricken Kenya

2023 Photo Contest Winner submission_type Winner
Copyright © 2023 Abel Gichuru/Action Against Hunger

Country Kenya
Topics Water and Sanitation, Gender and Social Inclusion, Humanitarian Assistance

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