In many arid regions of Africa, water can be hard to find, particularly in the dry season.
But a center run by the Samburu Girls Foundation in northern Kenya – which rescues girls facing early marriage and female genital mutilation – has a new high-tech source of it. Since June, the center has used panels that catch water vapor in the air and condense it to supply their drinking water.
Officials at the school say the girls no longer have to travel for water. “The girls can now have more time to study since there is enough fresh water to go round and there is no need to walk long distances to search for water,” said Lotan Salapei, the foundation’s head of partnerships. Girls formerly trekked up to five kilometers a day in search of clean water during particularly dry periods, sometimes bringing them into contact with members of their former community, Salapei said.
The center, given 40 of the water vapor-condensing panels by the company that builds them, U.S.-based technology company Zero Mass Water, now creates about 400 litres of clean water each day, enough to provide all the drinking water the center needs. The panels provided cost about $1,500 each, foundation officials said.
George Sirro a solar engineer with a Nairobi-based solar equipment company said such devices can be a huge help not only to people but in slowing deforestation that is driving climate change and worsening drought in Kenya. Often people with inadequate water cut trees to boil the water they do find to make it safe, he said, driving deforestation.