With a population of 46 million, 41 percent of Kenyans still forced to rely on unsafe water sources, such as ponds, shallow wells and rivers. Water pathogens are a major health problem in Kenya, as much of the population has been left unprotected against sporadic epidemics of cholera, parasitic worms, and other waterborne diseases.
This past year, Nabila Hassan used her earnings as a LeadGenius researcher to build a borehole well in her home village of Bomani, Kenya that provides more than 500 families with safe drinking water.
“The situation in Bomani was bad and getting worse,” says Nabila. “The unborn were dying due to a lack of clean, safe water for drinking and domestic use.”
After the birth of her third child, Nabila was determined to use her time, money, and resources to improve the conditions in Bomani any way she could.
“Children were dying, something needed to be done,” says Nabila. “Bomani is my community.”
Bomani is located in the southeastern Coast Province of Kenya, tucked between the semi-arid grassland of Kenya’s sprawling Tasvo East National Park and the expanse of the Indian Ocean. An hour north of the urban bustle of Kenya’s second largest city, Mombasa, Bomani is home to over 500 families.
Bomani is green and lush during the short rainy season and dusty during the hotter months. Nabila, her husband, and three children live close to Bomani and spend much of their free time at Nabila’s uncle’s farm there.
“Bomani is a very unique village,” says Nabila. “The people who live there mostly believe that contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want but the realization of how much they already have.”
Six years ago, Nabila set aside her work doing freelance online research and data entry to be a fulltime mother.
“Nurturing my children along the correct path is my number one priority,” says Nabila.
When two of her children reached school age, Nabila became interested in exploring new at-home work opportunities. One evening in 2015, Nabila was at a family gathering. One of the guests mentioned a company called LeadGenius and the name stuck with her.
LeadGenius’ mission is to provide fair work to underemployed, skilled individuals around the world. LeadGenius has over 360 researchers working in 33 countries around the globe. LeadGenius researchers work in teams to provide B2B sales and marketing teams with high-quality custom contact data. 51% of LeadGenius researchers are women. One-in-three are supporting three or more additional people with income from LeadGenius.
A few months after learning about LeadGenius, Nabila applied. For many mothers like Nabila, online work makes it possible to generate income for the family while still giving young children they attention need. Though a large percentage of Kenyans lack access to clean water, almost 90% of the country has access to the internet.
In addition to supporting her family, Nabila had an additional objective in mind: to earn enough money to build a borehole in Bomani that could provide clean drinking water the community.
“I like spending time with the sick and with people who have experienced poverty in a way that no one could never imagine,” says Nabila. “This helps me build patience and be grateful for the food I can afford, while many others just dream of it. Working with the sick reminds me how fortunate I am.”
Water In Bomani
Only 9 out of 55 public water service providers in Kenya provide continuous water supply, leaving people to find their own ways of searching for appropriate solutions to basic water-related needs.
Waterborne disease is a primary and serious consideration of clean water access, but it is not the only consideration. Water scarcity is a serious limiting factor for development activities overall. Local agriculture and animal husbandry — the main sources of food for rural villages such as Bomani — require reliable access to water.
Kenya’s water shortage also means that, in some cases, women and children spend forty percent of their time collecting and carrying water in the hot sun from the nearest fresh water source. This backbreaking work leaves some the country’s most vulnerable inhabitants exposed to serious dangers on a daily basis.
Village life quite literally revolves around the challenge of sourcing clean water.
Because the water table is between 300-600 feet deep, drilling a well borehole can be very expensive. Undertaking such a project requires money, intimate knowledge of the area, community organization, engineering logistics, and determination.
Work At LeadGenius
Nabila Hassan credits the skills she learned at LeadGenius with preparing her to lead the borehole well project in Bomani.
“One of the first and most valuable skills I learned at LeadGenius from one of my Serbian teammates, Nevena, was how to take a screenshot,” says Nabila. “Some people might take something like this for granted, but for me, it was a pathway to saving people’s lives. I have learned how to use how to use boolean search strings on various search engines and social networks, and use project management tools such as Atlassian, Lessonly, and more.”
“The most important of all my training is the human part of it,” says Nabila. “I have had personal trainings with my PC [Project Coordinator]. I have been able to shadow the work of more experienced colleagues, and I have received a ton of support from my SPM [Senior Project Manager]. This caring element of LeadGenius is what has made me realize that one always reaps what he sows. All these skills and interactions played a role in undertaking the well project.”
In addition to getting the project fully funded, Nabia also managed the logistics of the well installation from inception to completion.
“I used my time, energy and money to oversee the whole process despite starting out with no idea of what water drilling required,” says Nabila. “The purification process that must be installed alongside the borehole is what makes the whole difference and makes it possible provide clean, safe water.”
During the construction, Nabila’s husband slept and worked on site to coordinate with the drilling company and address various considerations as they arose, and keep overhead costs low.
Nabila’s persistence and dedication was noticed by others. To secure additional funding for the project, Nabila identified potential sponsors online to match her financial contribution to the well.
“Proving that I was employed and working hard on a daily basis earned the trust of additional donors,” says Nabila. “The project would not have been possible without proof of steady employment.”
The borehole project in Bomani was not without challenges.
“One of the biggest challenges was overcoming tribalism,” says Nabila. “Being a Muslim, the Christians thought that the borehole will only cater to the Muslims. The person who offered his land where the borehole was to be drilled was a Muslim. To address this, we held various meetings with religious leaders from both groups and ensured both the parties were equally informed about the process. The borehole is for the whole community with no bias towards a particular religion or race.”
In rural areas of Kenya, lack of working capital, inadequate supply chains, bureaucracy, and more can all threaten to sideline infrastructure projects. It takes persistence and intimate knowledge of the community to navigate these considerations.
Overcoming these obstacles ultimately paid off. After eight months of sourcing funds and planning, and five weeks of drilling, fresh water from hundreds of feet beneath the earth was available to hundreds of families in Bomani.
In addition to clean, safe drinking water, the borehole provides free water that can be used for livestock, it reduces the distance people must travel to gather water by centralizing the well in the community, and further reduces wait time by providing several taps that can all be used at once.
“I believe that the pregnant women will now have better newborns and decrease the death rate which was associated with contaminated water,” says Nabila. “This impact will really be visible with the upcoming addition of a solar-power water distribution system that will allow the neighboring families to access the clean and safe water for free as well.”
While Nabila continues her work with LeadGenius, her husband is completing his technical BTIT college degree. Once he completes the degree, the family will relocate so he can join a regional well-drilling company and learn the necessary skills for operating his own equipment.
The ability to work from anywhere with an internet connection enables Nabila the flexibility to plan and work on future well projects.
“We plan to buy our own rig and use it for drilling boreholes for the underprivileged communities,” says Nabila.
“My life has taken a drastic turn for the better since with LeadGenius. Having steady work, and developing new skills, is now enabling me to have a positive impact on others.”
*Religious custom prevents photos of women, including Nabila, from appearing in photos in this article.