Updated May 13, 2021
Millions of people living in the drought prone Horn of Africa are facing persistent threat from a lack of safe, reliable and affordable water year-round. The arid regions of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia have experienced increasing frequency and severity of drought conditions, which are expected to further increase in coming years. The 2011 drought in East Africa caused food shortages for over ten million people across the region and over 260,000 deaths in Somalia alone. The recent 2016-2017 drought in Kenya resulted in over 3 million people facing food insecurity. Preventable death and malnutrition hits hardest in the nomadic and pastoral communities - UNICEF estimates that there are 19.5 million pastoral people in the Horn of Africa, of whom 40 percent survive on less than one dollar a day. Drought emergencies occur when reduced rainfall, exacerbated in recent years by climate change, conspires with with limited community capacity and institutional failures to cause dramatic reductions in access to water for people, livestock and agriculture. This lack of water results in catastrophic crop failures, public health stress, economic shocks, and displacement of people, disrupting patterns of nomadic migration.
Using satellite-connected sensors produced by our spin-out social enterprise SweetSense Inc., our team is currently monitoring the water supplies of over 3 million people in arid Kenya and Ethiopia. Additionally, our local and national partners are linking this data to regional water service providers, local government leaders, and national policy makers in order to create an accurate picture of resource availability, and thus improve water services and drought resilience. We are currently running impact evaluations in Kenya and Ethiopia focused on improving water access during extreme drought. Our data is being used by local utilities, non-profits, regional governments, national entities and international donors. Previously, in Rwanda, we demonstrated a 10x reduction in water system downtime (from 200 days to 20 days) using our sensor-triggered repair system.
|Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted||10,000,000|
|New Implemented Countries||Somalia|