This project is a part of our shared program with Africa Sand Dam Foundation. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).
Welcome to the Community
Mbindi Self-Help Group is a new group formed in the year 2015 by a total of 27 households. The group is concerned about how to improve social well-being of its members. Its main activities included merry-go-rounds (contribute funds set aside for the group's needs) and soil conservation at each member's farm. However, the community's efforts towards planting trees have not been fruitful --- severe water shortages in the area affect the establishment of nurseries.
The main water sources began to dry up and could not provide water for this community with a large population of 800. The riverbeds are bone dry and the protected springs located four kilometers away are no longer reliable.
(Editor's Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people. This community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)
"We used to sleep at the water point due to long lines and depleted recharging of wells," reported one group member during our baseline surveys. The community, with the help of their neighbors from Yavili Self-Help Group (click here to see a project by Yavili!), approached ASDF staff to seek assistance in alleviating their huge water shortage.
The water shortage issue will be tackled head-on by a five-year program to build sand dams, dig wells and educate the community.
This community is located in a fairly hilly terrain which is also densely populated. The main water sources are natural springs. Due to the growth in population, the vegetation surrounding the springs has been destroyed, hence affecting the recharge rate of the springs.
Thus, community members must form a line to wait for their water. Moreover, they are waiting for water from unprotected springs that are open to contamination. Most of this contamination comes from people around the spring themselves, but it also comes with the rain that washes waste into the water.
Women normally use 20-liter jerrycans to fetch water for their families. They will either carry this container on their backs, or will bring a donkey that can carry multiple jerrycans. Once home, a woman like Muli Mutisos will consolidate all of this water into a larger plastic barrel (see Muli and her homestead in the pictures below!).
Because of the hurdles when fetching water, people are willing to pay a price. Many young people have dropped out of school to fetch water to sell.
Alternatively, there are some private boreholes in the community that allow neighbors to pay 40 shillings per 20-liter jerrycan of water. This is unaffordable for many families.
Local farmer Boniface Waita says that "During the driest months of the year, fetching water becomes a very expensive activity. We miss cooking meals that require a lot of water, since water is expensive. It's a challenge especially to families who do not have steady incomes."
Many members of this community view clear water as safe water, and thus do not practice any form of water treatment.
100% of households have a pit latrine, though shallow. Many of these are in smelly and dirty condition. Nonetheless, open defication is not an issue.
All of the households have a dedicated room for bathing, and over 75% of them have helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines. There are no hand-washing stations, though.
Since locals rely on farming, they view composting as very important. Waste is disposed in a pit at the back of each compound.
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training
Self-help group members will be trained for two days on hygiene and sanitation. Based on our initial survey of the area, the facilitator has decided to focus on water treatment and personal hygiene.
Plans: Hand-Dug Well
This hand-dug well will be located adjacent to the sand dam that Mbindi Self-Help Group is building (click here to see the sand dam project). The sand dam will compliment the well by raising the water table and naturally filtering its water. As the dam matures, the water will become both more accessible and cleaner.
The construction process for this well will consist of digging, lining with concrete, developing, covering with a well pad, and then installing an AfriDev pump. Self-help group members will monitor the quantity of water in the well, and will regulate its use when necessary.
Thank You for your generosity that unlocks hope for Mbindi Self-Help Group and their families!