Western Kenya WaSH Program
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).
“The routine schedule of most of Givunji Village is doing household chores, fetching water, attending to farms and looking for any other means of getting income. Most of the people here are unemployed, so one has to work extra hard to get a living,” said local woman Faith Imali.
Community member Mr. Thomas Iraya was the one who heard about the opportunity to get his spring protected. His two friends, Mr. Mwachi and Mr. Moses benefited from Mido Spring and Hedwe Spring respectively. These men invited Mr. Iraya to see the work that was done in their communities, and he was very impressed. He immediately approached our staff and asked that we visit his spring too.
Givunji Village is home to 822 people from 100 different households. (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 community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)
Givunji Spring is Givunji Village’s only source of water, besides the rainwater collected in containers kept outside each home. Givunji Spring is on Mr. Thomas Iraya’s land. “We lack clean and safe sources of water. This spring is a blessing to many, but its unprotected state is also our cause of worry,” he shared.
Givunji Spring is also shared with the neighboring villages of Vukuvera and Minyika. Mr. Iraya said that “the area is highly populated, and thus the spring is serving the needs of at least 100 households with approximately 822 people.” Not only is the spring’s water contaminated, but the area is always busy. The more activity at Givunji Spring, the muddier the water gets.
We know that Givunji Spring is contaminated because of the numerous reports of waterborne disease. Our visit to the spring confirmed this fact; the water is out in the open with no barriers to protect it from erosion, surface runoff, and human and animal activities.
Each person brings a small cup that they dip in the spring to bail water and fill their water container. These containers are as big as a woman or child can bear to carry! The water is then brought home and used for drinking, cooking, bathing, and watering animals.
When home, water is separated into different containers by use. Drinking water is kept in covered pots either in the kitchen or living room. The rest of the water is dumped in larger plastic barrels and saved for cleaning and watering animals.
Mrs. Imali added, “We drink dirty water! That has predisposed many of us to a lot of ill health conditions. There has been a lot of stomach distress cases, more so among children who sometimes drink raw water at the spring point.”
Under half of the homes in Givunji Village have their own pit latrine. The few latrines we saw are unsafe for children to use; the floors are unstable, doors are missing, and there are holes in the walls. The people who do not have their own latrine either share with their neighbors or seek the privacy of bushes.
There are no hand-washing stations and very few sanitation tools like dish racks and clotheslines. Garbage from the kitchen is given to poultry, and animal waste is used on the farms.
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.
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.
Mrs. Imali has already approached us asking to benefit from one of the sanitation platforms. She is one of many. “Please consider my request for a latrine slab. When I saw the slab that your artisans casted at my friend’s home, I went ahead to dig my pit by faith. Now I thank God you have come to our village,” she exclaimed.
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. Mrs. Faith Imali is ready to do whatever it takes to see her spring protected so that her children can drink water from a safe source.
Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO) works together with less privileged and marginalized members of communities in Western Kenya to reduce poverty through harnessing and utilization of local resources for sustainable development.