Women Make Change is a new series from Al Jazeera showcasing women who have started impactful local projects in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Brazil, Nicaragua, and Papua New Guinea. Focusing on areas as diverse as water, agriculture, family planning and sport, their work shows that investing in women is indeed smart economic sense. Former Nigerian media personality of the year Femi Oke hosts the new series.
The first film, The Water Women, travels to Kenya to talk to Rose Atieno and Catherine Ondele. These women have been instrumental in training local women to build rainwater harvesting tanks to villages which had been without clean water. 43% of rural Kenyans are without clean water, essential to combat preventable diseases. Since they built the tank in one village, they have not had a single case of cholera. It’s also been transformative for a nearby health centre, which can now offer a range of new services.
The benefits go even deeper though. There are reduced attacks on women, who no longer have to travel long distances to the communal well. Each woman saves almost six hours a week, which is now time she can spend working or studying. And there’s a direct financial benefit to the community, which sells the water on to the water company and invests the money in starting new businesses.