SWIM brings water to Kenyans

Heather, Britt, Zip, and I visited villages that Shallow Wells International Management (SWIM) serves in the arid region around Mount Kenya.

SWIM helps local people dig wells. Professional well drilling can cost a farmer $20,000, and there is no guarantee of finding water. SWIM provides training and divining (the act of detecting the best places to dig a well) and “encouragement” – as one person puts it – to anyone ready to solve their water shortage problems. SWIM’s methods take time and the labor of a whole community, but the total cost is less than $1000 – making water affordable to farmers.

This video illustates the challenges of digging your own well. By the way, these buckets don’t fill themselves! Someone climbed down and chiseled every foot of the 120 well you see here. And it has taken months of hard labor.

SWIM also meets with 39 community leaders, representing villages with about 36,000 people. These people represent dozens of small “self help” groups that organize for anything from well digging to “merry-go-round” micro loans. Over 2 days, we met with most of these leaders and Zip introduced the GlobalGiving Storytelling project to them.


Many seemed interested. They realized this was an opportunity to bring their concerns to outsiders, since, as I noted, storytelling is easier than getting the world to come to their villages.

Please support the Pulling for the Underdog Fund – which helps support this storytelling, and also SWIM itself as it competes to become a permanent partner of GlobalGiving in the April Open Challenge.

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3 thoughts on “SWIM brings water to Kenyans

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