July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Kathuli 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 Kathuli, 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.
December, 2019: Kathuli Community Sand Dam Complete!
Kathuli, 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.
We worked with the Kamumbuni 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 raw construction materials takes longer than the actual construction. For a large sand dam, materials collection could take up to 4 months.
The community members faced the challenge of getting enough water needed for construction. Water was being drawn from more than 3 miles away. This greatly slowed down the pace of construction due to water delays. This challenge illustrated the effort that people here must undertake to get water and why this project will have an immediate impact on their lives.
"We are very happy to have been blessed by God through this water project support. Water problems in our community are prevalent and it is the hope of everyone that this project will help solve the current water challenges we are going through," said Marth Kimanzi.
"Adequate access to water will make our locality brimming with life and economically vibrant."
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 then dismantled and the dam is left to cure.
This dam measures 32.3 meters long and 5.15 meters high. It took 520 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 hygiene and sanitation training with members of the self-help group and community was organized by the field officer in charge of the Mbondoni area, Daniel Kituku. He communicated the day of the training at the site of sand dam construction as the members were working on the completion of the dam. The area village administrator was also informed on the planned training and invited community members to participate.
Attendance was good and as expected. All community members turned up for the training as informed by the regional field officer. Other community members who are not part of the self-help group felt the need to be part of the training too and attended to gain the knowledge being shared. The area assistant chief and village administrator also came.
The venue of the training was scheduled to be in the homestead of Ruth Kilyungi, agreed upon by all members because it was easy to access. The weather on days 1 and 2 was cold and windy, but on day 3 it was sunny. The level of participation was very good. The group was always in a good mood, engaging each other in brainstorming and asking the trainer numerous questions.
The trainer conferred with the field staff about their previous visits to households and interviews with community members to determine which topics the community still could improve upon.
They decided to train on topics including 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; handwashing; and soapmaking.
“This training will help us improve on our behavior and especially to reduce open defecation. We want to make our area an open defecation-free zone. It is a very important training that will trigger improvement on personal hygiene and good practices at home that will help us prevent the spread of diseases," said Martha Kimanzi.
One of the activities that stood out here was soapmaking. The attendees said that it was a special lesson to them because they learned new ideas that they had never before learned from anyone. They also appreciated the idea by saying that it was the best and the easiest way of generating income and improving hygiene.
This group of people seemed to immediately adopt the new behaviors taught, said our field staff afterward. We already witnessed discussions they were heard having after training about improving the hygiene of their area through stopping open defecation. With the assistance of the village administrator and the area assistant chief, we are hopeful that open defecation will stop and the protection of water at home will be done. If the action plan prepared by the entire group is followed, then the impact will be great.
"Once these changes are made, the issues of the common diseases in our area that have been a problem for years will reduce, thus reducing expenses incurred when seeking treatment," Mrs. Kimanzi said.
Thank you for making all of this possible!