Ndue Nguu Self-Help Group is comprised of several farmers from a large region in southeastern Kenya. They came together to address water and food scarcity in Kivandini Village and the surrounding communities through the sharing of resources and the building of new water and agriculture projects.
It is a peaceful and hilly rural area about five kilometers from Wote Town. Some 40 different households dot the landscape, with each having an average of five family members. Their homes are usually made of mud bricks and carved stones.
Most people depend on farming and make an average of 3,000 shillings ($30) per month. Children head out to school in the early morning after which their parents head straight to the farm.
The majority of people in this area rely on water vendors. They're in the water business because the water source is far, and they have the motorbikes needed to cover the distance. They fill 20-liter containers with water from the Ndue Nguu River and sell them for 50 shillings ($0.50) each. Some people make the more than mile-long walk to the Ndue Nguu River for themselves.
The water fetched from Ndue Nguu is contaminated. This river is a sandy riverbed for most of the year. Community members have dug holes to access the water underground. Though the women who travel to the river are saving the money that would have been paid to vendors, they are not saving their time or their health.
"Water shortage has been a problem in our village. We fetch water from unsafe sources that are shared with livestock, resulting in a prevalence of different waterborne diseases," Mr. Bernard Mbithi said.
When delivered home, water is stored in larger 200-liter drums or an even larger tank. A couple households have been able to afford a large plastic tank that catches rainwater but must strictly ration water to avoid buying from vendors or traveling to the river themselves.
Hygiene and Sanitation
All households have a pit latrine, though most don't have doors for privacy. These are a mix of permanent and semi-permanent structures, depending on the economic status of each household. Mud floors make these latrines difficult to clean.
We came across one or two handwashing stations, but there was no soap available.
More than 80% of the people here aren't doing any type of water treatment, not even boiling. This was a surprise since this area is so close to urban Wote Town.
Here’s what we’re going to do about it:
To address gaps in hygiene and sanitation practices, training will be offered to self-help group members and any willing community members on three consecutive days. The members will learn about useful practices and tools to improve health, and then will be able to share those with their families and neighbors. Water transport, storage, and treatment methods will be taught, and hand-washing will be a focus. Group members will learn how to make their own hand-washing stations with everyday materials. To motivate participants, we must show the links between these activities and their health.
This particular hand-dug well is being built adjacent to this group’s first sand dam project (click here to see), which will supply clean drinking water once it rains. We have supplied the group with the tools needed for excavation. With the guidance of our artisans and mechanics, the excavated well will be cased, sealed with a well pad, and then finished with a new AfriDev pump.
Excavation takes a month or more on average, depending on the nature of the rock beneath. Construction of the well lining and installation of the pump takes 12 days maximum. The well will be lined with a concrete wall including perforations so that once it rains, water will filter in from the sand dam.
This well will be located in Kivandi Village, and will bring clean water closer to families having to walk long distances for their water.
This project is a part of our shared program with Africa Sand Dam Foundation (ASDF). Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (formatted and edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.