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
Hanington Mulanda Spring is located in Garagoli-Galilaya Community of Vihiga County, Kenya. It serves over 250 people from 20 different households, and that number is expected to grow when the spring is protected.
A normal day here starts with people getting up early in the morning to start work on their farms. The farmers grow what will earn them the most money, including sugarcane and bananas. They also grow many types of vegetables and cereals to eat in their own homes, selling the leftovers in the local market.
This community is entirely Christian, and thus named their village "Galilaya" which is inspired by Galilee, a biblical town.
Hanington Mulanda Spring is the closest water source to the village. Local women and children fetch water using plastic containers, as big as they can carry. Each person brings a smaller cup that they can dip in the spring to bail water and fill their container. The water is brought home and used for drinking, cooking, bathing, and watering animals.
Depending on the intended use, water is separated into different containers around the home. Covered clay pots are normally kept in the kitchen for cooking and drinking, a pail is filled next to the bathroom, and a container is left in the living room for drinking.
We know that Hanington Mulanda Spring is contaminated because of the numerous reports of waterborne disease. Our visit to the spring confirmed this fact; there were rotting tree fruits, leaves and garbage floating in the water. There was also a visible mold floating on the surface.
A little over half of households have their own pit latrine. Most of these are made of wood floors, mud walls, and iron sheets for doors. The same number of homes have useful tools like dish racks and clotheslines for safely drying their belongings. However, this means that there is still at least a quarter of families who do not have latrines or other sanitation facilities.
People normally select a spot in the back of their compound to throw garbage. This is separated into piles to burn and to compost. The compost will be used on the farm as a fertilizer.
During our visit to the community, we met with so many people who were excited about training. They want to learn and are eager to adopt new practices to improve their health. When some people heard about the sanitation platforms we plan to build for latrines, they immediately returned home and started digging a pit.
Mr. Mulanda has been directly affected by the shortage of latrines in his village. He said, "Our people have been suffering a lot for lack of knowledge on health and hygiene. People share latrines like mine; I share with my neighbor which makes it fill up quickly. Please come and help us come out of this situation!"
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training
Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least three 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.
Training will also result in the formation of a committee that will oversee operations and maintenance at the spring. They will enforce proper behavior around the spring and delegate tasks that will help preserve the site, such as building a fence and digging proper drainage.
Plans: Sanitation Platforms
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.
Plans: Spring Protection
Fetching water is predominantly a female role, done by both women and young girls. Protecting the spring and offering training and support will therefore help empower the female members of the community by giving them more time and efforts to engage and invest in income-generating activities.
In addition, protecting the spring will ensure that the water is safe, adequate and secure. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water.
We had the privilege of meeting with Mr. Mulanda, the landowner whom the spring is named after. "We as a community feel like we have been forgotten by our leaders because at times, we only hear of projects done in other parts of our land. This project is a great blessing to us. Our spring has always been there, but no one has ever thought of coming to our rescue by protecting the spring. It this water source is protected, it will help reduce cases of waterborne diseases."
"Who knew that our spring will be protected at this generation," he added, looking to his wife. Mrs. Mulanda has lived with her husband by the spring as long as she can remember. She told us, "My daughter and I have always been suffering from the use of this unprotected source of water. Medical records in our nearby health center show that we are in frequent attendance. This is because a month does not pass without one of us being admitted for using unsafe water. I know that soon, we are going to be healthy and no more going to the hospital. I feel a little bit healed now by the hopes that our spring is going to be protected."