Colby students are changing the world. Last year we followed Benard Kibet ‘18 as he made a life-changing contribution to his village in Kenya. This story, Maji, has just earned one of the highest accolades in higher ed.

But what has happened since we produced the film is even more remarkable. Here, Kibet tells us why.

How has the installation of the water system changed life in Tinet?

Installation of the hydraulic pump in my village was transformative. Schools, hospital, churches, and people who get water now have a different living style and do not have to worry about water now.

Children at the schools do not have to fetch water from the river or take water from their homes in the morning. This has given them extra time to focus on their studies, which I hope will translate to better results in their exams.

Benard Kibet ’18

Benard Kibet ’18

Are other communities in Kenya considering installing a similar system?

There is now a continuing project by the country government, installing the same pump down the same river to supply water to more people down the hill. I think this model will be bought by more villages to supply water cheaply and sustainably to their community.

You chose water availability for your second project. Why?

Water accessibility was one of the challenges I had to go through while I was growing up. I had to fetch water from the river a mile away. My family went to the river three times a day to get enough water for my family and brought our livestock to drink at the river as well. When water was needed at school, I had to carry a five-liter container of water from my home almost a mile and a half away. From these difficulties that I went through before I came to the U.S., I chose to bring water as a way of giving back to my community and ending the problems that I went through when I grew up.

Many women in rural Kenya do household work and that involves carrying gallons of water at the time with donkeys.

Many women in rural Kenya do household work and that involves carrying gallons of water at a time with donkeys.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when your plan went from a proposal to a real task, after the Davis Projects for Peace award?

Implementing the project was the toughest part of the project. Roads to the site were not passable when it rained. It was hard to bring all materials required to build the dam by the river. Rains are heavy from June to August, during the time of the project. This made bringing materials so hard and adding on bad roads made it worse.

You’ve had quite an impact on your town, with the kindergarten building and the water system. What’s next?

I am interested in economic development and I hope I can bring my knowledge back to my community and help in building my community and my country.