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).
Welcome to the Community
Kisengo Spring is located in Ilala Village, Shitoto sub-location, Khayega, Isukha South Ward in Kakamega County of Shinyalu Constituency. It is predominantly inhabited by the Isukha sub-tribe of Luhyia Community. However, other tribes also draw from the same spring since they purchased land nearby. All of these people practice agriculture, primarily planting food crops such as maize.
The mothers here begin with domestic chores, such as sweeping or fetching water from the unprotected spring. All this is done extremely early in the morning! After they are done with their usual chores at home, some join their husbands on the farm and others go to the market to buy and sell goods for income.
The maize, beans, other vegetables and even bananas they grow pay for their children's school fees. Families also practice dairy farming and fish farming to earn a living.
Mr. Felix Kisengo, whose land the spring runs through, sent in an application for a project. He realized that all of his neighbors who rely on his spring were constantly suffering from waterborne diseases. In fact, Mr. Kisengo was so passionate about this cause that he hand-delivered his application to our office in Kakamega. On receipt of the document, we paid a visit to Mr. Kisengo's community.
Felix Kisengo Spring is an unprotected water source on which locals rely. The water lies stagnant and is open to contamination from many different sources. When it rains, fertilizers run into the water from proximate farms. When an animal or human relieves themselves nearby, this also washes into the spring. It may be nearby, but it is not safe for drinking. Community members report cases of dysentery, typhoid, and malaria because of the mosquito breeding ground the stagnant water creates.
Women and children, those who are most seen at the spring, use 20-liter jerrycans to fetch water. These are routinely cleaned with water and leaves. Once the water is returned home, it is separated by use. Drinking water is poured into large clay pots that keep the water cool, and water for cleaning purposes is kept in larger plastic containers.
Under half of households in this area have their own pit latrine. These are made with mud walls, grass, and rusty iron sheets. The floors are packed down with cow dung. The biggest challenge is floor upkeep; they get filthy but are near impossible to clean. During our visit, it was obvious that open defecation is an issue because of the lack of latrines.
There were no hand-washing stations around Felix Kisengo Spring either, but locals seem ready to learn about hygiene and sanitation during training. We met Edith Langat, who goes to the market on a daily basis to sell her husband's crops. She said, "This project will be an answered prayer to the community and especially to me, because I have been using a lot of money to treat typhoid."
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training
Community members will be trained for three days on a variety of health, hygiene and sanitation topics. This training will result in community members donning the roles of health workers and water user committee members. The training facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Training), CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), and ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) methods to teach community members, especially the women and children who feel the burden of household responsibility. Training will equip each person with the knowledge needed to practice viable and effective health solutions in their homes and at the spring.
During training, we will take this community on a transect walk to sensitize them to some of the more serious health threats. 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.
Plans: Sanitation Platforms
The five families chosen by the community will receive a sanitation platform, which is a concrete floor that makes a great foundation for a safe and clean latrine. These families will prepare by sinking a pit that the concrete slab can be placed over. These five new latrines will go a long way in reducing the level of open defecation in this community!
Plans: Spring Protection
Locals are eagerly preparing for this spring protection project. They have agreed to gather the local materials needed for construction to begin, which include sand, ballast, hardcore, bricks, fencing poles, and even some helpful hands!
Once Felix Kisengo Spring is protected, locals will have clean water for drinking, domestic chores, and farm irrigation.
Thank You for joining with Felix Kisengo to meet his community's great need!