Reliable Water for Mukuku
Our main entry point into Mukuku Community has been the Kyeni kya Mukuku Self-Help Group, which is comprised of 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 have to wake up very early in the morning to fetch water for use by digging scoopholes along the river. A lot of time is wasted in digging scoopholes on a daily basis, and the water drawn from the scoopholes is not fresh for drinking. There are several health consequences as a result of drinking water from these, like typhoid, amoeba, and dysentery, among others.
"I am most affected during the dry season," said Kennedy Muima Mbwika, a local farmer. "The water table is usually very low, and we have to dig very deep scoopholes in order to fetch water for use. In addition, the distance covered is usually very far. A lot of time is wasted in search of a water source."
The most common livelihood in this community is farming of drought-resistant crops such as beans, pigeon peas, maize, cowpeas, and green grams. The rainfall patterns are unreliable due to climate change.
"Getting water is difficult because of the terrain and distance covered to the water source," explained Carol Muli, a local mother and Self-Helf Group member. "Having to dig scoopholes is time-consuming, considering I have to get back home and cater to my family's needs. In addition, the water I get from the water source is not clean for drinking. My child has complained of stomach aches on several occasions."
This particular hand-dug well will be built adjacent to a sand dam project, 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 bring clean water closer to families.
These community members currently do their best to practice good hygiene and sanitation, but their severe lack of water has been a big hindrance to reaching their fullest potential.
We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with the Self-Help Group and other community members to teach about important hygiene practices and daily habits to establish at the personal, household, and community level. This training will help to ensure that participants have the knowledge they need to make the most out of their new water point as soon as water is flowing.
One of the most important topics we plan to cover is the handling, storage, and treatment of water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it is consumed. We will also emphasize the importance of handwashing.
We and the community strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve living standards here, which will help to unlock the potential for these community members to live better, healthier lives.
We typically work with self-help groups for 3 to 5 years on multiple water projects. We will conduct follow-up visits and refresher trainings during this period and remain in contact with the group after all of the projects are completed to support their efforts to improve sanitation and hygiene.