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Thursday, April 6 • 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Clean water an elusive dream in developing nations: Lessons from International service learning projects in Kenya

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In this presentation, I will discuss how lack of clean reliable water sources is a health threat to many communities in Kenya. Experiences from two international service-learning projects will be shared. In the Summer of 2013 a group of students and community members traveled to Kenya to help “bring clean water” to a community of more than 2000. In the summer of 2016, I will guide another water project to serve another poor rural community. 

Many rural communities in Kenya do not have access to safe drinking water.  Where water is available, it comes from unclean sources that are shared by both humans and animals. But many of these communities depend on rainwater for their water needs as well as growing of food and livestock.  During the rainy season, there is abundance of food for families and livestock. However, droughts are common in Kenya and many other parts of Africa “Water is essential to life. Safe, abundant water is vital to our ability to prosper and to fulfill our potential. Without it, we face a continual decline in our well-being, poverty and hunger, and increasing levels of conflict” (Chissano, 2010).

Without clean water come health issues such as typhoid, dysentery and many other diseases. Additionally, this leads to loss of productivity because of water-related illnesses. But  availability of clean water for millions of people around the world continues to be an elusive dream.  With global warming and climate change, droughts are becoming more persistent, and many communities are affected on a yearly basis.  This is a threat to global health because of  its potential to alter patterns of disease, water and food insecurity, affect shelter and human settlement (Chissano, 2010).  Although there is research that points out that humanity is causing climate change and global warming resulting in less water ( lack of rain/precipitation), these topics are ignored by many educators because they are considered “controversial.” In  industrialized nations that own industries that emit gases  that affect the environment and  that have been  subject to scientific research as possible causes of global warming due to “greenhouse effect”, discussions of climate change are controversial. But those in poor nations are the ones affected mostly by this changes, thus, this is an a social justice issues.

Therefore, in this presentation, participant will engage in discussions of:

  • Why availability of clean water is a health and  social justice issue ( mostly it is the poor people who do not have access to clean water)
  • Lack of clean water for millions of people as a global health issue
    • Possible solutions to this problem
  • Explore the controversy behind “global warming/climate change” and possible ways of bringing these topics into  educational and community discussions
  • Classroom strategies for handling and exploring controversial issues
  •  Some practical activities for teaching controversial issues.
  • Education for Global Citizenship as a process that offers young people-
    • new information
      • ability to critiques and judge its bias and reliability
      • analyze it
      •  synthesize it through a process of reflection on their own current views
      •  draw their own conclusions
      •  make informed decision
      •  take considered action on these controversial issues


Bunten. R. & Dawson V. (2014). Teaching climate change science in senior secondary school: Issues, barriers &                 opportunities. Teaching science 60 (1).

 Chissano, J. (2010). Water and food security inextricably linked

Schuffler, M. 2017. Our health is inextricably linked to the health of the planet

Oxfam (2008). Global citizenship guides: Teaching controversial issues


Thursday April 6, 2017 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Warm Valley