This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water And Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).
This unprotected spring is located in Munyanya Village, Sheywe location, Lurambi sub-county, Kakamega Central of Kakamega County. The spring serves 845 people from over 100 households. The spring further serves three hostels that each host approximately 15 to 20 students, totaling 45. (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 site would make a great location for a second project. To learn more, click here.) The spring's water is used for domestic purposes such as drinking, cooking, washing, and watering animals. During the dry seasons, this water is also stretched to irrigate farms.
A normal day for a person in this community begins with women waking up early to fetch water from the spring and to prepare children for school. Women later do their domestic chores, after which they proceed with doing farm activities or get involved in buying and selling of products at the market; their two major sources of income. The ability to get involved in different types of businesses makes this location especially flexible and equipped to meet its basic needs.
The Current Source
The respondents brought to our attention that Munyanya Village is a highly populated area, evidenced by the fact that over 100 households rely on the same unprotected spring for their water supply. During the dry season, villagers must also share Munyanya Spring with students from Masinde University and Muliro University. Women are often forced to fetch water at night so as to avoid congestion at the spring. As of now, those fetching must step into the water to scoop and pour with a small plastic container. Once their larger container is full, they carry it back home to pour into a mud pot or plastic bucket. Locals clean this containers with a traditional method of using maize cobs, sand, and water.
It is also reported that the community battles with waterborne diseases like cholera and typhoid as a result of drinking contaminated water from this unprotected spring. Sources of contamination have proven to be surface runoff, human and animal activities, nearby farms and latrines, and soil erosion. Since the water is obviously not clean, some community members choose to boil water before drinking. Either way, local teacher Mr. Amugune has noticed that "the health status in the community is wanting as many community members are suffering from taking water from the unprotected spring hence resulting to spread of waterborne diseases such as typhoid and cholera. This has cause several premature deaths."
Sanitation facilities are also wanting, as most people in the area lack proper latrines, dish racks, and clotheslines. Less than 50% of households have their own latrine. These latrines have floors made of wood that rots quickly, and walls made of empty sacks or mud. It was noticed that because of the poor state of latrines, many people opt to deficate outside. The people here lack adequate information on proper hygiene and sanitation practices, so are in great need of the training sessions that will be offered.
The community is ready to contribute the local materials needed to complete construction, and are willing to attend hygiene and sanitation training. Local materials include clean sand, bricks, ballast, hardcore, and fencing poles. They will also provide supplementary labor, accommodations, and food for the work teams during the span of this project.
Hygiene and sanitation training will be held over the course of four days: the first three days are for learning new healthy practices, and the final day is meant for the education and formation of a Community Health Worker Group. The training facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Health and Sanitation Training), CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development), group discussions, demonstrations, handouts, and a transect walk to teach hygiene and sanitation. The transect walk will teach locals to watch for practices that go on and facilities that are present related to good health and hygiene. Sometimes, a participant feels shame when the group arrives at their household and points out things that are unhealthy or unhygienic; but in Kenya, this affects people to make a positive change. Training participants will also vote on and decide the families that should benefit from the five new sanitation platforms.
The community members are in dire need of support and are urging WEWASAFO and The Water Project, and you to assist them in protecting Munyanya Spring to alleviate the dire situation at hand.
The training sessions were held at the home of Mr. Alphonse Amugune. Mr. Amugune, who is in charge of the spring, mobilized the participants in terms of males, females and youths. Organization involved arranging for the venue and confirming a training date that the beneficiaries were comfortable with. Participants were all water point beneficiaries.
Training happened in two parts. First, the Water, Sanitation and Management Committee (WSMC) training took place. Ten community members took part (5 male and 5 female). This training included:
- Community contribution and role in the project
- Leadership and Governance
- Roles and responsibilities of the WSMC
- Calculating Daily Water Consumption
- Site management and maintenance
- Water pollution and Water Related diseases
- Funds collection and management
- Record keeping
Next the Community Health Worker (CHW)training was conducted. Again, 10 community members participated (5 male and 5 female). This was a good turn out as they can easily reach out to the rest of the beneficiaries as a team. Topics covered in the CHW training included:
- Primary health care
- Common local diseases and their prevention
- Understanding disease transmission barrier
- Sanitation facilities for hygiene promotion
- Safe water handling and food hygiene
- Environmental health
- Roles of hygiene promoters
- Calculation of treatment cost verses pit latrines cost
Activities for both trainings included discussions, a transect walk to investigate open defecation, demonstrations such as hand washing, presentations, and brainstorming exercises. There was active participation among the participants and it was noted how inquisitive they were on matters of health, sanitation, and hygiene standards.
Following the training, there were many positive comments on the training as well as commitment to institutionalize the practices of proper sanitation and hygiene in the community by sharing this new knowledge with others.
Mr. Amugune was very pleased with the training and said, "I sincerely appreciate these trainings as they have equipped us with adequate information on thus helping us to implement proper health, hygiene and sanitation standards. It is easier now to tell our people to put up latrines since they understand the repercussions of having open defecation."
Protecting the spring involves building a concrete structure around the water point to shield it from various sources of contamination. The process incudes:
- Excavating the site to allow for construction
- Building a foundation, head wall and wing walls as well as steps for access to the spring
- Construction of a spring box behind the headwall where water is filtered through sand and gravel
- Installing pipes to allow beneficiaries to easily fill containers
- Fencing the catchment area to protect the spring from contamination by animals
The community participated in the project by contributing bricks, sand, hardcore and poles for fencing. They also directly participated by providing unskilled labor and accommodations for the artisans. In this community, finding the needed materials proved to be a challenge which delayed the process, but in the end everything was completed successfully.
Since the spring serves a great number of people, the water used to get dirty easily due to constant drawing of water. Many had to come to the spring during the night so as to avoid the long queues during the day. The community members around this spring are now very happy since they know for sure that they can go to the spring at any time and get clean safe drinking water. A lot of time which was wasted in the past can now be used for productive farming and economic activities. Therefore the sanitation and hygiene standards have tremendously improved in a positive way thus leading to better living standards in this community.
Cases of water borne diseases reported initially are expected to reduce completely since the community members are now accessing to clean and safe drinking water. In addition, hygiene and sanitation has been made a priority in this community. The community reported that they no longer waste a lot of resources on medication and also pre-mature deaths have been minimized especially among the children.
Sanplats are concrete slabs used as stable floors for pit latrines. Five sanplats were constructed and given to families in the community. The sanitation platforms have been successfully installed and now in use. Beneficiaries are so excited to use the facilities since it’s easy to clean and comfortable to use. Most of beneficiaries of the spring are happy since the issue of open defecation has been curbed and those who use to involve in the act have toilets and they make good use of the facility.
These community members are very satisfied and happy with the project and say thanks to TWP and their donors.