Water quality is an important determinant of diarrheal illnesses, especially affecting children in sub-Saharan Africa. Orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in sub-Saharan Africa are at increased risk of poor quality drinking water, and therefore of diarrheal illness. The present study assesses primary drinking water source and typical household water purification among OVC households involved in a multi-sectoral empowerment program in semi-rural Kenya. Findings show water purification practices, but not water source, significantly increase with more time in the program. Other factors associated with safer water include household income, orphan type, food consumption and security, school completion, psychological resilience, engaging in sexual intercourse with more than one partner in the past 12 months, and previous year’s financial status. Incorporating water quality improvements in a community-based empowerment program such as the one described may be one method of improving water quality and decreasing diarrheal illnesses among OVCs in sub-Saharan Africa.
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