The rights and the realities
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CTA. 2001. The rights and the realities. Rural Radio Resource Pack 01/2. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57372
Mr. Situma Mwichebe talking to Ann Mikia about the reality of water rights in Kenya.
The rights and the realities Cue: Water supply projects are sometimes accused of ignoring the water needs of rural communities in favour of supplying industry and urban areas. And while a country may include a right to water in its constitution, in reality many poor people have a daily struggle to access water for their most basic needs: washing, drinking and cooking. The United Nations Development Programme is working in Kenya to improve the access of the rural population to safe water. Ann Mikia spoke to Mr. Situma Mwichibe, the National Coordinator of the Africa 2000 network to find out his views on the rights of the rural poor to water. IN: ?I?m talking to Mr Situma Mwichebe, he?s? OUT: ?and as such there is self regulation? DUR?N 2?50? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Mr. Situma Mwichebe talking to Ann Mikia about the reality of water rights in Kenya. Transcript Mikia I?m talking to Mr Situma Mwichebe, he?s the National Co-ordinator of the Africa 2000 Network, a programme of the United Nations Development Programme. Mr Mwichebe, would you say Kenyans have rights to water? Mwichebe I would say yes they have rights in the sense that the right to access to water is entrenched in the Kenyan constitution, but whether they have equitable access to water is a different story. Some people have access to water; others normally don?t have equitable access to water. But their right is there. Mikia So would you say the poor are discriminated against as far as access to water is concerned? Mwichebe I would not say that the poor are deliberately discriminated against. Maybe discrimination comes about in that the poor hardly ever can afford a water project. Mikia What would you say about the government projects? Do you think they take their communities? needs into account in placing their projects? Mwichebe Most government projects are targeting larger community interests other than household or small community interests. They are designed to spur economic growth. They are supplying water to municipalities, they are supplying water to industries and as such sometimes they do not take the needs of the local people in consideration. But there are also other smaller water schemes by the government which actually do address their community needs. So where you have large giant water projects they tend to address national interests but where you have medium and long term small projects, spring protection, they hopefully do address community needs. Mikia What about irrigation, do you think people are free to do irrigation if they wish to? Mwichebe Whether every Kenyan has a right to irrigation, I think in principle, yes, but there are certain standards that you have to meet and as such you have to go through the political control mechanisms of government which sometimes people perceive to be restrictive. In general any Kenyan can irrigate but there are some community water schemes where the volume of water available is limited. The communities themselves restrict irrigation because they want first of all to meet the household domestic needs first and if you went into irrigation it means out of the six thousand households probably only two hundred would do that, and as such there is self regulation. End of tape.