"The pursuit for water is a very energy-draining duty in this area," said Mary Nguno.
The more than 2,000 people in Katovya Community must travel more than two kilometers to collect water from Masaki River or from a neighboring community's water kiosk. Both sources provide water that is unsafe for drinking because it comes from sources open to contamination.
Masaki River is seasonal and the area is prone to prolonged dry seasons. There were small wall gabions which were constructed by the county government along this river in a bid to curb water run-off during the rains, but the wall is not functional as it is very porous and causing lots of water loss.
People dig into the sand of the riverbed to get water. These scoop holes provide water but run dry very fast because they are often overcrowded and the water table is usually very low. In addition, these sources are always open and so are also used by animals. There's a water kiosk, but it is very far and the water is usually very costly to purchase.
"Attaining clean water is very hard. At times we forego such luxuries because we have other duties to perform," Mrs. Nguno explained.
"During the drought periods, there are usually a lot of feuds at the water sources, long queues, theft of donkeys and jerrycans, animal attacks from the donkeys and snakes. The water source may be overcrowded so one has to wait for more than four hours waiting for their turn to fetch the water."
The water kiosk is a popular alternative during the dry season, but it too is a long distance away from the community and people have to pay to fill up water at the source. That is a burden on many of the households that already struggle to get by.
Our main entry point into Katovya Community is the Nzighi Masaki Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 271 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.
Community members of Kalovya Village depend on farming as their primary source of income, although it is not reliable because they only farm during the rainy seasons. The region is prone to perennial water problems and inconsistent rainy patterns rendering only the financially capable homes to depend on farming, as it often becomes an expensive activity during the dry seasons. This is as a result of the water challenges experienced in the area.
In this community, the building structures are a mixture of both bricks and mud. The area is scarcely populated as the homesteads are roughly one or two kilometers apart. It is a fairly vegetative area; the most popular planted crops are sorghum, millet, maize, and beans.
What we can do:
Our main entry point into Katovya Community is the Nzighi Masaki self-help group, which is comprised of 271 farming households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. These members will be our hands in feet and both constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone.
Hygiene and Sanitation
The community members of Katovya Village attempt to maintain good hygiene and sanitation lifestyles when the water is available as they have clothes lines, some homesteads have latrines, a bathing shelter and a kitchen. However, their biggest area of improvement is on latrine hygiene, compound hygiene, handwashing habits, water treatment and enlightenment on disease transmission.
"We can go for days without bathing because water is so scarce; we are struggling to survive," said Bernard Mwangangi. "Cleanliness is honestly not well maintained. The latrines are rarely washed at times we used to apply ash to dispense the odor."
We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with Nzighi Masaki Self-Help Group, which are also open to non-members. These will teach about important hygiene practices and daily habits to establish in the community at the personal and household levels. Taking good care of self and environment will make for a healthy community.
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 Katovya Village, and will bring clean water closer to families having to walk long distances for their water.