June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Kangalu Community
Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.
We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to rural communities like Kangalu, Kenya.
We trained community members on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19.
Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.
We covered essential hygiene lessons:
- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station
- Proper handwashing technique
- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing
- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.
We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:
- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19
- What social distancing is and how to practice it
- How to cough into an elbow
- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.
- How to make and properly wear a facemask.
During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point,
Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.
Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.
March, 2020: Kangalu Community sand dam complete!
Kangalu, Kenya now has access to a new source of water thanks to your donation. A new sand dam was constructed on a sandy riverbed, which will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water.
"This is a very important project to all of us in Kangalu village," said Linah Vundi, a farmer who helped with the construction of the project.
"We have been walking for more than 5 kilometers in search of water for drinking. Thanks to this new water project, the future looks bright with access to clean drinking water."
We worked with the Kangalu Chanuka Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor to complete the project. In addition, they were trained on various skills such as bookkeeping, financial management, project management, group dynamics, and governance. We also conducted a hygiene and sanitation training to teach skills like soapmaking and to help improve behaviors such as handwashing.
When an issue arises concerning the water project, the group members are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure it works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our team of field officers to assist them.
The community members collected all of the local materials like rocks and sand that were required for the successful completion of the dam. They also provided labor to support our artisans. The collection of the raw construction materials takes longer than the actual construction. For a large sand dam, materials collection could take up to 4 months.
Siting and technical designs were drawn and presented to the Water Resources Management Authority and a survey sent to the National Environment Management Authority for approval before construction started. Once approved, we established firm bedrock at the base of the sand dam wall. In the absence of good bedrock, excavation is done up to a depth at which the technical team is satisfied that the ground is firm enough to stop seepage.
Then mortar (a mixture of sand, cement, and water) is mixed and heaped into the foundation. Rocks are heaped into the mortar once there is enough to hold. Barbed wire and rebar are used to reinforce the mixture.
Once the foundation is complete, a skeleton of timber is built to hold up the sludge and rocks above ground level. The process is then repeated until a sufficient height, width and length are built up. The vertical timber beams are dismantled and the dam is left to cure.
The dam measures 29.9 meters long and 4.65 meters high and took 308 bags of cement to build.
Sand dam construction was simultaneous to the construction of a hand-dug well, which gives locals a safer method of drawing water. As the sand dam matures and stores more water, more of it will be accessible as drinking water from the well. To see that hand-dug well, click here.
As soon as it rains, the dam will begin to build up sand and store water. With this water, the surrounding landscape will become lush and fertile. However, it could take up to 3 years of rain for this sand dam to reach maximum capacity.
The field officer in charge of the region, Daniel Kituku, was contacted to organize the training. He informed the community while they worked at the site of their completed sand dam. He also informed the village administrator for neighboring Kavuvwani village to join the training too.
The attendance was as expected with a majority of the group members turning up for the training for all 3 days. Members agreed that the training was to be held in a nearby church compound. The weather was conducive but the better part of the 3 days it was cold. There was enough shade throughout the training.
The village administrator for Kavuvwani Village, Simon Kaviu Mwinzi, was present and he was impressed with the methodology that was used in this group. He assured the members that he will be part of the sanitation committee that was selected to monitor the hygiene of the locality.
Trainer Victoria Matolo conferred with the field staff about their visits to households and interviews with community members to determine which topics still had room for improvement in the community. They decided to train on:
- Health problems in the community
- Good and bad hygiene behaviors
- How diseases spread and their prevention
- Choosing sanitation improvements
- Choosing improved hygiene behaviors
- Planning for behavioral change
The attendees remained actively involved throughout the training and asked numerous questions on concepts they sought further understanding. For one of the activities, we walked around Kangalu and Mumbuni villages to inspect the sanitation and hygiene of the 2 villages as far as the use of latrines was concerned. As we walked around, we identified the spots where open defecation was done and we identified 10 points with 4 homesteads that did not have latrines, plus 6 more homes that were identified by the village administrator.
People said the walk was a special activity because they knew of people who didn’t have latrines, but they did not know that open defecation was to such an extent that people were doing it in the rivers near where scoop holes for collecting water are normally dug. Together with the entire group, we identified routes of disease transmission from human feces to their bodies.
"Through this training, we have learned that we can prevent fecal-oral disease transmission and this will only be achieved through stopping open defecation," said Felisters Mumbe.
"We also gained a new skill [in] soapmaking, something that is very vital as far as hygiene is concerned. This will help us improve on hygiene as well as make it an income-generating activity for us all as a group and at [a] personal level."
Thank you for making all of this possible!