Marybeth Thorsgaard currently serves as Pentair's Vice President of Communications and President of the Pentair Foundation

Imagine living in an area the size of New York’s Central Park with one million other people without access to clean, safe drinking water. This is the reality for residents of Kibera, an impoverished settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. Up until recently, there was no reliable clean water in Kibera, and Kibera residents often paid ten times what Nairobi city residents paid.

Kennedy Odede, who spent his childhood in Kibera, dreamed of bringing a better quality of life and greater opportunities to the people of Kibera. He founded Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) to help provide critical services for all, including clean water, health care, education and economic empowerment for women and girls. His story was recently featured on BBC, which can be viewed here.

Pentair has been a key partner in helping Odede achieve his vision. In collaboration with SHOFCO, Pentair and the Pentair Foundation recently completed a multi-year endeavor to expand access to safe drinking water in Kibera through the implementation of water filtration technology and a cutting-edge aerial piping system to sustainably deliver clean water to residents.

According to Pentair’s Chief Technology Officer, Phil Rolchigo, treating the water in Kibera to make it safe to drink was only the first step. The larger challenge was how to sustainably deliver the treated water to residents as the water distribution system was not secure, leaving the potential for contamination as well as vandalism. The solution was to literally reach for the sky and a custom aerial piping system, the first of its kind to be constructed in Kenya, was designed and installed.

The breakthrough approach is gaining attention. SHOFCO was honored as the 2018 Hilton Humanitarian Prize recipient at the Hilton Humanitarian Symposium and Prize Ceremony on Friday, October 19 for its local approach to transforming lives by providing critical services that disrupt the survival model, including the sustainable delivery of clean water in Kibera. 

Congratulations to the team from Pentair’s office in Noida, India, that led the effort to design and install the system in Kibera. To read more about the project, click here.

Kennedy Odede, Founder, Shining Hope for Communities

Photo courtesy of Shining Hope for Communities

The revenues from the Clean Water Access Project pilot program support the water system and help fund the Kibera School for Girls, thereby creating an integrated link between clean water, the girls’ education and community development.

Photo courtesy of Louis Nderi

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