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).
Andrea Mutende Spring is located in Ejija Village, Shiyunzu sub-location, South Butsotso location, Shirere ward, Lurambi division in Kakamega County. The spring is currently serving 21 households, totaling a population of 147 people. The spring has been named after the owner of the land where the spring is located. Andrea Mutende is married to a wife who has blessed him with eight children; five boys and three girls.
A normal day in Ejija Village starts off with people preparing to go to the farm. Women go to fetch water for household use. Children are also preparing to go to school at this time. The men prepare farm tools as they wait for girls and their mothers to prepare breakfast for the family. Once breakfast is ready, they all partake together and then children go to school while the parents go to the farm to cultivate sugarcane. The community is special in the sense that it lies within the sugar belt zone that cultivates sugarcane and supplies Mumias Sugar Company located 26 kilometers away. This is a cash crop that greatly boosts the community's economy.
The Current Source
Ejija Village is allowed to use Andrea Mutende Spring, but its water is unprotected. The water point is contaminated. It was gathered from the initial survey that community members have been complaining of rampant waterborne disease within the community. Water quality tests were done that prove contamination of the water point. Some sources of contamination are: surface runoff, human and animal activity, proximate farming, bacteria, and soil erosion. Community members use 20-liter containers to carry water from the spring to their homes. Most of them do not have covers, and are occasionally wiped clean with leaves. Water is then stored in larger containers at home. Locals know to treat the dirty water first by boiling, but this unfortunately does not make it safe enough for drinking.
No more than 50% of households have latrines. Most of these are in bad condition, with the floors made of wood that rots over time. Walls are made with either mud or banana leaves. Open defecation is often the more convenient option for community members, who choose to use the privacy of sugarcane fields. Unfortunately, this waste often mixes together with surface runoff that ends in the spring water. No more than 25% of households have hand-washing stations, and less than a quarter have dish racks or clotheslines. Hygiene and sanitation attitudes are poor in this community due to a general ignorance of good personal and environmental upkeep.
Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least four days. This training will ensure participants are no longer ignorant about healthy practices and their importance. The facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation), CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development), group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring. On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrines.
Training will also inform the community and selected families on what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, such as bricks, clean sand, hardcore, and ballast. The five families must prepare by sinking a pit for the sanitation platforms to be placed over. All community members must work together to make sure that accommodations and food are always provided for the work teams.
WEWASAFO staff discussed the possibility of protecting the water point through collaborative efforts with the community, and the community accepted this proposal wholeheartedly. Construction work therefore began by the end of January 2016. We strongly believe that once Andrea Mutende Spring is protected, many challenges described above will be done away with.
The training was conducted at the home of Andrea Mutende, the owner of the land where the spring is located. The community was mobilized for the training by the local administration (Village Elder) who through Mr. Andrea Mutende invited beneficiaries of the spring for the Water and Sanitation Management Committee (WSMC) Training and Community Health Workers (CHW) Training. The attendance was good considering the fact that 12 of the 14 members invited to the training were present. The 2 members who were absent sent in apologies.
The training covered a verity of topics that were relevant to the community. These are:
- Leadership and governance
- Group Dynamics
- Roles and responsibilities of Water and Sanitation Management Committee Leaders
- Calculating daily water consumption
- Site management
- Water pollution
- Prevention of water related diseases
- Primary Health Care
- Disease transmission routes
- Environmental Health
- Control measures of common local disease
- Understanding disease transmission barriers
- Water handling and hygiene
- Role of Hygiene promoters
- Calculation of treatment costs verses Pit latrine use
The facilitators use a number of methods to teach the above topics. These included presentations, focused group discussions, demonstrations, and the use of hand outs.
The training was a great success because participants were able to appreciate the fact that they didn't know that they spend quite lot of resources treating water related diseases. The also were shocked to realize that some of the local diseases can be prevented through proper hygiene at the house hold level. We ended up forming a water and sanitation management committee and identified community hygiene promoters who will work as community health workers.
Mr. Mutende said about the training, "I am very happy to note that since I was born I have been drinking water from this spring for all that long without protection. We have been experiencing cases of water related diseases without knowing that we could have that prevented by protecting the spring. Now that it is protected, I am going to ensure that the community will take good care of it and sustain it so that we can use it for more than 30 years."
Constructing a spring protection system involves building a concrete structure around the opening of a spring to shield the water from contamination from various sources. The following is the process that is undertaken when protecting a spring:
- Clearing of the site
- Setting and casting of the foundation base/slab to specified standards
- Constriction of wing‑walls
- Construction of head wall connected with discharge pipes depending on the flow of water
- Construction of rub walling (Stone pitching)
- Construction of stair cases for accessing the spring
- Filling the reserve/source (Basin) with hardcore and covering the whole basin with polythene paper, then back filling with soil
- Clear the main drainage to ease flow of water from the spring
- Work on the cut off drainage to avoid run off water from depositing silt and contamination of the protected area.
- Fence the protected area
- Plant grass around the protected area
The community contributes to the project by providing laborers to help with the work, and also supplying locally available materials such as sand, bricks, hardcore, and poles for building the fence. The community also provides accommodations for the artisans working on the project
Seeing the change the spring protection system brings, Mr. Mutende said, "This facility is a great blessing to this community. We are going to secure, maintain and sustain it for our future use. We are very great full for this great support form The Water Project."
Sanitation platforms are concrete slabs used as stable floors for pit latrines. Five sanplats were provided for households in this community, and the residents where trained how to construct more in the future. Making pit latrines safe and comfortable to use is an important step in encouraging a community to stop practicing open defecation, which is a significant cause of water contamination and other health problems.
Thank you to all who made this project possible. Thank you for unlocking potential!