Leigh, an engineer who hails from Canada, took a leap of faith earlier this year and embarked on a life changing experience. Armed with a degree in engineering and a passion for delivering water solutions to those who need them most, Leigh traveled to Mutomo, Kenya to volunteer with CMMB. Her purpose: To immerse herself in a new community, learn from her neighbors, and collaborate to improve access to clean water and sanitation.

Every March, we join our global community to recognize World Water Day and reaffirm our commitment to bringing clean, safe water to people living in places where it’s historically hard to come by. This year’s theme calls on us to accelerate action against the water and sanitation crisis—to be champions of change. In response to this important call to action, we asked water and sanitation volunteer Leigh to reflect on three questions about water access in her new community of Mutomo, Kenya.

Three Questions with Leigh

Tell us about water in Mutomo. What’s the situation? 

My impression of the water situation in Mutomo can be summarized by the relief I felt when the rains finally arrived about two months into my volunteering experience.  Having inspected so many hospitals, homes, and communities that had run dry, I had a newfound appreciation of the impact this rainfall would have on the health of so many.

Reflect on the theme of this year’s World Water Day: Accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis. In what ways does your volunteer work align with this year’s theme?

When I think of the theme of World Water Day 2023, I think of the communities we are working in. At a community meeting for one of our projects, nearly all members engaged with questions, concerns, and provided input towards the design of a new Sand Dam.  The community members are endlessly generous with their time, knowledge, and understanding, and are seemingly ready to accelerate this change in any way they can. I believe our role is to facilitate these changes.

How are you responding to this call to action during your time with CMMB? 

The team and I are working with the local communities to develop sustainable solutions. There is no shortage of water projects in the region that are no longer functioning, so accelerating change may not be in regards to developing new systems, but repairing old, or adequately planning for sustainability in our designs. Communities are happy to discuss why a given intervention wasn’t successful so the next can be improved and listening and implementing these recommendations, I believe, is part of this call to action.