IN 2005, KRISTEN KOSINSKI LEFT FOR KENYA WITH THE GOAL OF HELPING EMPOWER WOMEN AND YOUNG GIRLS.
Traveling through Samburu, she met with female leaders in several different communities, listening to stories about their lives, their hopes and their struggles. One of these women WAS named Mariama Lekwale, “Mama Mussa.” She was impacted by Kristen’s determination and for the rest of the trip led Kristen around her community introducing her to hundreds of Samburu women. Again and again Kristen heard the same word: water.
Women spend their entire day, every day of their lives, searching for water. Girls do not attend school because they are expected to assist their mothers in the quest for water. Entire communities suffer from disease because the water they are drinking comes from gaping hand-dug wells that are contaminated due to the fecal matter of livestock and wildlife. Simply stated, people were sick and dying due to diarrhea caused by water-borne diseases. Every aspect of the Samburu communities was impacted by this problem; but as women and girls are tasked with procuring water, this problem impacts their life in greater proportion. Hearing the struggle that Samburu women face due to their lack of access to clean drinking water was the impetus for starting The Samburu Project.
Together, Kristen and Mama Mussa drilled the initial four wells before Mama Mussa passed away in 2007. Kristen Kosinski continued working with the assistance of Mama Mussa's son, Lucas Lekwale. They drilled another 75 wells through 2015 when Kristen resigned her position as Executive Director.