This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water And Sanitation Forum. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).
This unprotected spring is located in Emusala village, Indangalasia sub-location, Butsotso East location, Kakamega North District within Kakamega County. The spring serves over 50 households with a total population of 850 people out of which 449 are Men and 401 are women.
(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.)
The water is used for drinking, cooking, watering animals and irrigation on the farms during dry periods, which are normally witnessed in Kakamega during the months of December to February. The spring has a continuous supply of water even during dry seasons when other sources are completely dry. The community members and pupils of nearby schools congest at the spring. Pupils of Emusala primary school with a population of more than 700 draw water from the unprotected spring during the dry periods.
The community members reported that they have suffered from many cases of water borne diseases like typhoid, amoeba and dysentery as a result of drinking water from this unprotected water spring. Since the spring is unprotected, it is open to contamination by surface run off, people stepping into the water as they fetch, and animals that drinking from it.
A lot of time is wasted by the women who have to wait for the water to settle before fetching. In addition, as they wait to fetch water, they engage in gossip, resulting to conflicts among themselves.
With regard to water improvement, the community members stated that they have been drinking the water for years and very few boil or disinfect it.
Sanitation is also a big problem as many people have no good latrines and others even use the bushes. During the rainy seasons, the waste is washed into the spring leading to contamination of the water.
The community members are in dire need of support and are urging The Water Project and WEWASAFO to consider them and protect the spring so that they can reduce the cases of water borne diseases and also reduce time wasted in order to engage in other economic activities.
Water Sanitation Management Committee Training
The Water Sanitation Management Committee (WSMC) training for Otsimi spring was held from 14th to 15th July at Mr. Elphas Mukabana compound, the land owner.
A total of 20 people attended the training out of which 5 were males, 15 were females. The attendance included community members, the chief of the area, a village elder and 4 WEWASAFO WASH staff.
The training was aimed at equipping the committees with skills on issues of operation and maintenance so as to ensure future sustainability of the protected water source.
Day 1. 14th July 2015
The forum commenced with an opening prayer from Pastor Jacob Atsatsa and this was followed by an introduction of all members. The introduction format entailed stating their names, likes and dislikes.
The majority of the participants stated they like peace, development, helping one another, socializing, meeting new people, working together and welcoming visitors. While dislikes included being provoked, gossips, lies, tribalism and delving into other people’s private affairs.
The facilitator then took the participants through the details of Western Water and Sanitation Forum. She stated WEWASAFO is a non-governmental organization working in Western Kenya with focus on four main key result areas; Water hygiene and sanitation, Agriculture and Food security, Gender and governance, and Micro-finance.
The participants reacted that they knew about some of the projects that WEWASAFO is implementing. Many noted their recognition of the water tank and new pit latrines at Emusala primary school which had been constructed by WEWASAFO.
Others stated that they had benefitted from the local poultry project and that they had been linked to the market where they sold their poultry. It was evident that WEWASAFO projects were felt within this community.
Background of the WASH project
The participants were informed that this WASH project is funded by the The Water Project with an objective of improving health standards and reduce water related diseases by ensuring access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in specific intervention villages within Kakamega and Vihiga counties.
Objectives of the training
The participants were led through the workshop objectives as follows:
1. Equip community members with relevant skills and knowledge for operation and maintenance of water points
2. Facilitate acquisition and development of relevant management and leadership skills for communities to be self reliant.
3. To enhance community capacity to effectively monitor and supervise water catchment areas and health education activities in their villages.
4. To equip the community with skills to collect funds and keep proper records for operation and maintenance of water facilities.
The participants were reminded what they are expected to contribute towards the construction of a spring and the household slabs.
They were informed for the spring the community was expected to contribute the following:
- Clean Sand
- Fencing poles
- Unskilled labor
- Food and accommodation for artisans
Leadership and Governance
In order for the participants to appreciate leadership styles and characteristics of a good leader, they were assigned into two groups to discuss the following:
1. Who is leader?
2. Good and bad characteristics of leaders in relation in relation to characteristics of animals such as:
- Elephant: strong and assertive but can be destructive if not careful.
- Tortoise: friendly and approachable but can lack drive and initiative.
- Giraffe: able to see what is coming, to anticipate future issues, but can be disconnected from what is going on right now.
The group discussed different leadership styles like dictatorships and democracies. The facilitators worked to convey that leadership must be strong enough to influence the community in the right direction, but wise enough to empower the community to take ownership and responsibility for their needs.
ROLES AND FUNCTIONS OF THE WATER SANITATION MANAGEMENT COMMITTEES
Through brain storming the water user committees agreed on the following as their roles:
- Ensure that their community contribution is available in time for protection of the spring
- To ensure water consumers don’t contaminate/pollute the protected water source
- To make a constitution to govern the water spring
- To ensure grass planting, cut off drainage, fencing and tree planting is done
- To manage and maintain water source
Day 2: 15TH JULY 2015
In order for the participants to understand the ways that water spring is contaminated and how to protect the water catchment they were taken through the practical session at the spring to understand the water catchment area and the sources of contamination.
The facilitator took the participants through the water catchment area of the spring while pointing out to them the critical areas that require high level of maintenance in order to reduce water pollution, spring blockage, seepage or loss of water completely.
Good and bad health practices
By the use of PHAST tools, the participants brainstormed the good and bad health practices. Below are the practices that were drawn and explained from the charts:
Good health practices entailed:
- Covering stored food
- Covering water
- Digging of a compost pit
- Using clean utensils
- Veiling hair while cooking
- Washing hands before cooking
- Washing hands after visiting the toilet
Bad health practices entailed:
- Urinating in water
- Defecating in bushes
- Washing in the river
- Carrying uncovered water
- Using dirty latrine
- Cleaning the spring with soap
- Animals’ activities near water catchment area
- Bathing near the spring
Mrs. Beatrice Omutula, the vice chair of the water user committee thanked WEWASAFO for considering their area.
She stated that they had been neglected by many development partners, a bitter fact that had made Indangalasi sub location lag behind in development for decades.
In the same spirit she expressed her gratitude to all members for their valid presence and participation in the training. She called upon the committee officials and the entire community to embrace and support the project by working closely with the organization and putting into practice everything learnt in the workshop.
Community Health Workers Training
The Community Health WorkerS (CHW) training for Otsimi spring was held from 16th to 17th July at Mr. Elphas Mukabana compound.
A total number of 22 people attended the training out of which 6were males, 13 were females and 1 person with disability. The attendance included the chief of the area and one of his village elders and 4 WEWASAFO Wash staff.
The training was aimed at equipping the community health workers with skills on issues of water and hygiene promotion so as to reduce cases of water borne diseases.
Objectives of training
Members were led through the workshop objectives as follows:
1. To enable participants be resource persons in facilitation and dissemination of hygiene messages by use of participatory methods and approaches
2. Increase and equip participants with knowledge on hygiene promotion activities.
3. Elect Community Health workers who will undertake the hygiene promotion.
Role of hygiene promoters
The facilitator helped the participants to appreciate and understand their roles in hygiene promotion and they defined them as:
1. Making sure the spring is clean
2. Making sure there is no washing/ bathing at the source
3. Making sure nobody fights at the spring
During home visits community health workers were to educate the community on having:
- Dish racks
- Compost pits
- Cloth lines
- Clean latrines
- Drain stagnant waters
- Nutrition and diet
- Family planning /Immunization
- Kitchen gardens
- HIV/AIDS awareness
During spring visits they were to be aware and advise the community on the:
- Status of the spring
- Farming activities around the spring
- The rate of disease decrease
- Spring management, conservation and protection.
Results of the Project: Spring Protection
Protection of Otsimi spring is complete and now in use by the community members.
The community members are now very happy that their spring is no longer open to contamination by surface run off after protection. Again, they no longer have to step on water as they fetch water. Time is no longer wasted by the women who initially had to wait for the water to settle before fetching as a result of stepping in water. The spring has a good discharge and it takes only 15 seconds to fill 20 litre jerrican. Therefore women no longer have to queue for long as they wait to fetch water. This saves a lot of time. The time saved is now utilized for constructive economic activities. Cases of water borne diseases like typhoid, diarrheal and dysentery are expected to reduce since the community members are now drinking safe water from the spring.
Household sanitation platforms
Five sanitation platforms (cement slabs for latrine construction) for the beneficiaries around Otsimi spring have been cast and installed. The installed sanitation platforms are now in use serving a total number of 32 people of which 17 are male and 15 are female.
Juliet, one of the slab beneficiaries, really thanked The Water Project for casting a slab for her family. She admitted that they can now use the latrine as opposed to the previous situation where they were forced to use the bush due to lack of latrine. She also appreciated the trainings conducted at the spring. Hygiene and Sanitation has improved in her home.