Reliable Water for Mukononi Community
Our main entry point into Mukononi Community has been the Kyeni kya 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.
In this community, women are often tasked with the duty of fetching water, a chore that often starts very early in the morning. They walk to the river beds to dig scoopholes for fetching water. During the drier periods, the community must often use a single scoophole, which means a long line if they don't get there early.
"During the dry seasons, we have to go for very long distances to fetch water, which is very exhausting," said Peter Nyamai, a 67-year-old local pastor, and the Self-Help Group's chairman. "Our wives have to bear with the burdens of carrying jerrycans on their backs for very long distances.The water fetched is usually dirty and can barely suffice to fulfill all the household chores."
Once the women have water, they make breakfast for their families and help their children prepare for school. Men, on the other hand, have to wake up to go to the farm as well as take their cattle to the fields. At this juncture, women are left to deal with the household chores such as washing clothes and cleaning the house.
This calls for another trip to the water point to fetch enough water for accomplishing the chores, which might be strenuous again. By the time they return home, it is often evening.
"When all the nearby water sources run dry, we have to walk up to Athi River, which is 15 kilometers away," Paul continued. "It is usually such a nightmare, especially if one has no donkey."
"Missing school for young students becomes a norm," explained another community member, Erastus Nzomo. "One is very tired by the end of the day, to the extent that one wakes up late the following day and fails to attend school. For this reason, academic performance is usually highly affected."
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.