Cummins Distributor in Kenya provides safe water to local tribes, wins Environmental Challenge

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Car & General employees help community members build retention pools to trap scarce rainfall in the Samburu region of northern Kenya.
Car & General employees help community members build retention pools to trap scarce rainfall in the Samburu region of northern Kenya.

Water is essential to survival. The people in the Samburu region of Northern Kenya are all too familiar with the importance of this basic need.

In 2009, the region began suffering from a severe draught. Within one calendar year, the precipitation level in the region fell by more than 60 percent. Families who depend on water for farming and livestock were left searching for answers.

Due to the draught, thousands of families were left searching for safe, clean water. Often times, they were left to travel hundreds of miles and some families had to abandon their homes altogether in order to survive.

In 2011, employees from the Car & General distribution center in Nairobi actively decided this was not something the families of the Samburu region should have to live with daily.

In collaboration with the Lions Club of Kenya, a group of 35 Car & General employees spent nearly three months designing and constructing large water retention pans to trap and retain the little rain water the Samburu region receives. Members of the surrounding community provided support for the project by providing manual labor.

The project leaders estimate that the two dams combined can hold nearly 10 million liters of water, and will serve more than 12,000 tribal members annually.

“The children of these communities now enjoy guaranteed access to safe, clean water, and can better concentrate on their studies,” said Raphael Atanda from Car & General Kenya. “Likewise, the women in these communities can focus on raising their families without devoting too much time collecting water.”

The Environmental Challenge did a fantastic job at encouraging Cummins employees to get engaged in the communities where Cummins employees live and work. The partnership with Car & General in Kenya proves that being a responsible corporate citizen extends to multiple stakeholders, and that the Cummins mission statement of “everything we do leading to a cleaner, healthier environment,” is an expectation we hold for our business partners as well.

Each year the Challenge engages thousands of employees around the world. It has continued to gain momentum each year, engaging record numbers of employees and delivering measurable environmental benefits. In four years, more than 300 projects have reduced nearly 10,000 tons of greenhouse gas. Winning project teams are recognized for their creativity by receiving a $10,000 grant from The Cummins Foundation payable to a public charity of their choice.

“We believe access to water is a basic human right,” said Mahendra Mahek of the Lions Club of Kenya, “and we want to play a role in providing water to the most needy community groups.”

We want to thank all of our great employees who participated in the environmental challenge and a special congratulations to the employees from Nairobi for their great work!

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