UNESCO – Water use in Turkana, Kenya

Two years after the worst drought in 60 years hit the Horn of Africa, water remains a precious, illusive resource. This media project illustrates the story of UNESCO’s quest to find underground water in Turkana…

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Eyanai, a young boy, and his grandfather, Napathar stand next to the grave of Napathar's wife who died recently from malnutrition, near the homestead in Lodwar, Turkana, Kenya on the 14th July, 2011. One of the worst droughts in 60 years is affecting the Horn of Africa. In Kenya the Turkana region is particularly badly affected with thousands of people facing starvation.

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Refugees fill water containers at a water pump in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kakuma, Turkana, Kenya on the 5th December, 2012. The Turkana region has been severely affected by drought in the last few years and the recent influx of thousands of refugees from Somalia has put huge pressure on the already limited water resources.

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A woman and her baby, who are refugees from Somalia, pose for a photograph in their shelter in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Turkana, Kenya on the 5th December, 2012. The Turkana region has been severely affected by drought in the last few years and the recent influx of thousands of refugees from Somalia has put huge pressure on the already limited water resources.

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A Turkana pastoralist sits on the edge of a watering hole with her goats near to Kakuma Refugee Camp, Turkana, Kenya on the 5th December, 2012. The Turkana region has been severely affected by drought in the last few years and the recent influx of thousands of refugees from Somalia has put huge pressure on the already limited water resources.

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Casey Walther, coordinator of UNESCO'S groundwater mapping projects, teaches a group of representatives from the Kenyan government and NGO bodies how to trace groundwater sources in arid regions using WATEX maps at a workshop in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Turkana, Kenya on the 3rd December, 2012.

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Alain Gachet, president of Radar Technology International, teaches a group of representatives from the Kenyan government and NGO bodies how to trace groundwater sources in arid regions using WATEX maps on a GENS device, at a workshop in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Turkana, Kenya on the 3rd December, 2012.

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A group of representatives from the Kenyan government and NGO bodies learn how to trace groundwater sources in arid regions using WATEX maps on a GENS device in Kakuma Refugee Camp, in Turkana, Kenya on the 3rd December, 2012.

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A Turkana pastoralist fetches water on her head near to Kakuma Refugee Camp, Turkana, Kenya on the 5th December, 2012. The Turkana region has been severely affected by drought in the last few years and the recent influx of thousands of refugees from Somalia has put huge pressure on the already limited water resources.

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A sign lies on the main road that connects dry and arid regions that have suffered from severe drought in recent years, as well as being the main corridor for refugees coming into the country near to Kakuma Refugee camp in Turkana, Northwestern Kenya on the 4th December, 2012.

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A young boy stands on arid land waiting with his water buckets to fetch water in Turkana, Kenya on the 5th December, 2012. The Turkana region has been severely affected by drought in the last few years and the recent influx of thousands of refugees from Somalia has put huge pressure on the already limited water resources.

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Severely malnourished children sit with their mothers in the paediatric unit of Lodwar District Hospital, in Lodwar, Turkana, Kenya on the 14th July, 2011. One of the worst droughts in 60 years is affecting the Horn of Africa. In Kenya the Turkana region is particularly badly affected with thousands of people facing starvation.

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A Turkan woman holds up an empty pot in front of her two children who haven't eaten in two day near Lodwar, Turkana, Kenya on the 14th July, 2011. One of the worst droughts in 60 years is affecting the Horn of Africa. In Kenya the Turkana region is particularly badly affected with thousands of people facing starvation.

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A woman walks with her baby to a group of people who have come from a village to be nutriontally assessed at a health post near Lodwar, Turkana, Kenya on the 15th July, 2011. One of the worst droughts in 60 years is affecting the Horn of Africa. In Kenya the Turkana region is particularly badly affected with thousands of people facing starvation.

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A lactating Turkana mother is measured to see if she is malnourished at a nutritional centre near Lodwar, Turkana, Kenya on the 15th July, 2011. One of the worst droughts in 60 years is affecting the Horn of Africa. In Kenya the Turkana region is particularly badly affected with thousands of people facing starvation due to lack of water.

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Two sisters collect water at a water point that has been installed by UNICEF as part of their WASH programme near Lodwar, Turkana, Kenya on the 15th July, 2011. One of the worst droughts in 60 years is affecting the Horn of Africa. In Kenya the Turkana region is particularly badly affected with thousands of people facing starvation due to lack of water.

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Dominique, from the Lutheran World Federation, teaches a group of representatives from the Kenyan government and NGO bodies how to trace groundwater sources in arid regions using WATEX maps on a GENS device in Kakuma Refugee Camp, in Turkana, Kenya on the 3rd December, 2012.

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Casey Walther, coordinator of UNESCO'S groundwater mapping projects, teaches a group of representatives from the Kenyan government and NGO bodies how to trace groundwater sources in arid regions using WATEX maps at a workshop in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Turkana, Kenya on the 3rd December, 2012.

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Dominique, from the Lutheran World Federation, teaches a group of representatives from the Kenyan government and NGO bodies how to trace groundwater sources in arid regions using WATEX maps on a GENS device in Kakuma Refugee Camp, in Turkana, Kenya on the 3rd December, 2012.

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Casey Walther, coordinator of UNESCO'S groundwater mapping projects, (R) and Dr Alain Gachet, (L) President of Radar Technologies International, use a GENS device to trace groundwater sources in arid regions using WATEX maps near Kakuma Refugee Camp in Turkana, Kenya on the 3rd December, 2012.

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A young pastoralist tends leads his cattle to water at a watering point near to Lodwar, Turkana, Kenya on the 4th December, 2012. The Turkana region is very arid and has been severely affected by several drought in the last ten years.

Two years after the worst drought in 60 years hit the Horn of Africa, water remains a precious, illusive resource. In Turkana, in northeastern Kenya, water scarcity continues to undermine food security and basic hygiene, with hundreds of thousands of people still vulnerable to malnutrition and disease.

 

Recognising the potential of a new geospatial technology being used by UNESCO in the region, the Government of Kenya called upon this specialized science and technology agency of the UN to carry out a survey of the region’s groundwater.

 

Conducted from July 2012 to February 2013 in northern and central Turkana County, the UNESCO study was the first of its kind in Kenya to utilize the advanced WATEX System developed by Radar Technologies International (RTI), which is recognised for its unique ability to accurately locate water in dry areas.

 

This media project illustrates the story of UNESCO’s quest to find underground water in Turkana. Arete Stories produced a short film – which UNESCO has used to show what Gridmapping is about. A series of photographs were taken that has been used for internal and external marketting purposes. A multi media piece was produced that was given to the International Media; and a photographic exhibition was produced that is to be exhibited in both Nairobi and New York.

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