People living in Ikuusya Community have to travel more than two miles to collect water from the nearby riverbed. They must scoop the murky water from a hole, fill their containers and make the return journey home - this time with the added weight of the water.
The journey is made easier for those who own a donkey. Others must resort to paying for people to fetch the water for them.
All of this effort is undertaken to bring home water that is unsafe. The water containers don't even have covers, so water is succeptible to further contamination on the way home. The majority of people are using this water without any form of treatment.
The problem is amplified by the fact that it reduces the level of hygiene and sanitation in the community. Roughly three-quarters of households have latrines, but none of the households we visited had water nearby to use for handwashing due to the lack of access.
"The majority of people in our area want to lead decent lives, with high levels of hygiene and sanitation. However, water challenges in our community have led to poor levels of cleanliness at the household level," Mrs. Mwikali Kimeli, a local farmer, said to us.
The Kwa Mbunza Self-Help Group heard about our work from neighboring groups. They got in contact with our field officer Patrick and expressed their intention to partner with us to improve access to safe water in their community.
Most people here rely on farming or casual labor as their source of income. However, some are employed in formal jobs and others conduct petty trade to make a living.
The community is found in a peaceful remote rural village with the characteristic indigenous dry-land tree species forming the majority of the vegetation cover. The majority of individual houses are mud made and grass thatched with others made of bricks and iron sheets.
What we can do:
Our main entry point into Ikuusya Community has been the Kwa Mbunza Self-Help Group, which is comprised of farming households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. These members will be our hands and feet in both constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone.
We’re going to train self-help group members and their communities on hygiene and sanitation practices. Not every household has a pit latrine, so we need to explain the importance of this facility. Some of the latrines we were able to observe were very poorly constructed, so we are concerned they will collapse and sink when the rare burst of rain occurs. We will continue to encourage improvement here, especially when it comes to daily cooking habits, personal hygiene, water hygiene and its treatment, and handwashing.
This particular hand-dug well is being built adjacent to this group’s ongoing 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 Ikuusya Village and will bring clean water closer to families having to walk long distances for their water.