Comfort Widows is a small community based organization located around 20 minutes from Kisii town in Western Kenya. It is a group of around 20 older women who work together in support of each other following the deaths of their husbands. AIDS remains very prevalent in this region of Kenya, with an enormous stigma attached to it. It is uncommon for men in particular to visit doctors, which has lead to a large number of widows. We were introduced to Comfort Widows through the HEART organization, who installed the shallow well and greenhouse that the widows now operate. Fetching water from the well for the greenhouse and domestic use is extremely labor intensive for the women, some of whom are over 70 years old. To reduce the amount of labor required, the women have innovated a funnel system that allows them to pour the water directly from the top of the well to the greenhouse. They have also built several gutter systems for collecting rain water. Despite these efforts, the widows have seen their profits dwindle each year the green house has been in place. This is due to physical injuries they have received, which have kept them from providing the greenhouse with the necessary 1,000-2,000 liters per day.
In order to help reduce the manual labor these women must currently struggle through, we installed a solar powered submersible well Majipump to get the water from the well to a nearby tank which feeds the greenhouse’s drip irrigation system. The results so far have been very promising. Checking in two weeks after the install was completed, we asked: how well is the system working? Justin, the son of one of the widows responded: “Is it working out well? Haha oh yes. We used to spend 5-6 hours per day fetching water, and now we only take 30 minutes at most!! It’s amazing!”