May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Katung'uli Community
Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.
We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to rural communities like Katung'uli, Kenya.
We trained community members on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19.
Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.
We covered essential hygiene lessons:
- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station
- Proper handwashing technique
- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing
- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.
We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:
- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19
- What social distancing is and how to practice it
- How to cough into an elbow
- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.
- How to make and properly wear a facemask.
During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point.
The line for the handwashing station.
Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.
Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.
June, 2018: Katung'uli Community Hand-Dug Well Complete
Katung'uli Community, Kenya now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. A new hand-dug well was constructed adjacent to a sand dam. The dam will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water. Community members also attended hygiene and sanitation training, and plan to share what they learned with their families and neighbors.
The main contact for the group was field officer Ruth Mwanzia, who is responsible for all the self-help groups in this area. She reached out to the group's chairman who worked with the other members to decide on the best training date. They also agreed on the venue, which was at the nearby shopping center where one of the members had their own shop. Out of the 35 members, 30 attended. The other five were reportedly working on their farms to take advantage of the rainy weather.
The trainer highlighted:
– Ways to treat water
– Proper handling and storage of drinking water
– Protecting water sources
– Food preparation
– Building and using a dish drying rack
– Building and using a handwashing station
Participants' favorite topics were on water hygiene and making soap. For water hygiene, different methods of water treatment were explained along with their pros and cons. They were interested in learning the proper dosage for water guard, and also how to use the local moringa seed to purify water. Though we had taught people how to make soap a while ago, the group members requested a review. A member told us, "Though it is the second time we learned how to make soap, the procedure has now been well understood; it was not so clear to us but now we can make quality soap."
Being the second year of our program with Kianguni Self-Help Group, we reviewed their action plan for making improvements both on the community level and household level. Mr. Munyao Muia said, "We have not been serious in the installation of hygiene infrastructures, like for instance, construction of tippy taps (handwashing stations) and using soap to wash our hands, and water treatment. Now that we have learned the diseases that can be transmitted through taking untreated water, we will improve on that and the rate of diseases will be lowered. Because of the soap, handwashing with soap will be practiced throughout and we will teach the other family members on the same."
Very few people were practicing water treatment since they learned about it last year. Thus, a session was devoted to teaching why and how to do so.
The hand-dug well was constructed during the rains, and some days it would rain the entire day. Well artisans arrived with excavation tools, while community members supported them in the digging itself.
Since it was rainy, many of the farmers realized the opportunity to get good work done on their farms. They were torn between getting this work done to earn money for their families and working on the sand dam for its long-term benefits. More people chose their farms, which led to a low number of volunteers to help our artisans at the well. Anyways, it would rain so much at times that the well would flood, and excavation had to be put on hold.
Excavation was put on hold when the well flooded with muddy rainwater.
A hole seven feet in diameter is excavated up to a recommended depth of 25 feet. (Most hand-dug wells don’t reach that depth due to the existence of hard rocks between 10-18 ft.). The community wasn’t even able to finish digging before torrential downpours flooded them out. They had to use a pump to drain the well and continue their work.
The diameter then shrinks to five feet when construction of the hand-dug well lining is completed. This lining is made of brick and mortar with perforations to allow for water to seep through. Sand builds up around the well walls, which will naturally filter the rainwater that’s stored behind the dam.
Once the construction of the lining reaches ground level, a precast concrete slab is laid on top and joined to the wall using mortar. Four bolts for the hand-pump are fixed on the slab during casting. The concrete needs to dry over the course of two weeks before the pump is installed.
The mechanics arrive to install the pump as community members watch, learning how to manage and maintain the pump for themselves.
The well is then given another few days after installing the pump to allow the joints to completely dry. Communities are advised to pump out the water that seeps into the well after it rains for the first time because it needs to be cleaned out after construction. After pumping that for a while, the water turns clean and clear.
The well was pumped continuously to make way for more water to filter through the lining. Now people are filling their jerrycans with clean water to bring back home.
The pump was installed level with the top of the sand dam (click here to see that project) because as the dam matures, sand builds up to the top of the wall. The entire community is excited to have a new water system in their area. Mr. Muia said, "This project will be a big revelation to the community. It will hold more water and top up on the already existing water from our first sand dam. Water access in the whole village will be greatly improved. Many people will now be served by the water points. It is the joy of everyone to have water at these close ranges!"