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).
Simon Otundo Spring is located in Emumbia Village, Ebutanyi Sub-Location, Emasaba Location, Mwibona Ward, Luanda Sub-County of Vihiga County. The spring serves 560 people from 80 different households. 200 of these are male and 360 are female. The spring's water is used for drinking, cooking, watering animals and irrigating crops.
(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 spring is constantly contaminated by runoff, farming around and bathing in the spring, and people stepping into the spring as they fetch water. Since there is such a high population using the spring, the water is constantly stirred up and muddied. This is the only preferred source in the area, since it is the only source considered as running and not stagnant. However, it is very unsafe since the water used for drinking is the same used for washing clothes and watering animals. Community members report they have suffered from many cases of waterborne diseases such as flu, typhoid, malaria, and cholera.
The community's sanitation situation is also critical. Many households have latrines that are in poor condition. Because of this, children and the elderly avoid using the latrines for fear of falling through the slats. They must result to open defecation which then furthers the spread of disease. This waste is also washed into the spring during rainy weather, or carried around by unpenned animals. Some of these households will greatly benefit from new latrines with sanitation platforms. This will provide people of all ages with the safety and cleanliness they deserve.
The community members are applying for help with protecting their spring. The community is prepared to provide the local materials needed to complete this project. They look forward to safe water, new facilities, and the opportunity to learn about hygiene, sanitation, disease prevention, and overall health during training provided by WEWASAFO.
Water and Sanitation Management Committee Training
Training aimed to equip the Water and Sanitation Management Committee with the relevant information they need to ensure proper management and maintenance of Simon Otundo Spring. The training was held between the 10th and 11th of November with a total attendance of 14 people out of which eight were female and six were male.
The committee was encouraged to fence in the spring, ensure no animals are kept near, no clothes-washing in the spring, and to educate the other community members about ways to protect their water resources.
The training facilitator also informed the committee of the materials necessary to complete their spring protection project, which include: clean sand, ballast, fencing poles, bricks, and hardcore. The committee was also in charge of choosing five households in their community that would most benefit from new sanitation platforms (easy-to-clean concrete latrine floors). The beneficiaries of these platforms are responsible for gathering their own clean sand and wall materials, and digging a 2 x 3 pit.
The facilitator encouraged group discussion throughout the training, which gave the participants an ownership of what was learned. Participants agreed on the following responsibilities for their new committee:
- Ensure the spring is always well-protected
- Make laws to govern the spring
- Monitor and evaluate the spring
- Provide labor for the protection project
- Make sure all available local materials are on site
The facilitator elaborated on the steps that make the above responsibilities more tangible:
- Plant indigenous plants around the spring
- Forbid both plant and animal farming in the vicinity
- Avoid washing and bathing in the water
The group had the opportunity to learn about these things on site, as well as how the spring's water is often contaminated. Often there is poor drainage of stagnant water or improper waste disposal around the spring. The committee agreed to take the proper steps to prevent these bad behaviors.
The facilitator also held a session about waterborne disease. Some of these diseases are malaria, typhoid, bilharzias, and dysentery. The group listed ways community members can treat their water, such as using a life straw, boiling, filtering, or solar purification.
The committee should both personally practice and encourage the following good practices in their community:
- Always use latrines
- Cook food properly
- Cover food and drinking water
- Wash hands with soap and water
- Practice water treatment
The spokesperson thanked the entire training team and asked them to thank you, the donor, for implementing this project in Emmumbia Village. The participants were very happy and added that they have gained so much necessary experience from attending training. They also requested that our partner return to the village to continue developing sanitation and hygiene projects. The workshop was closed with a word of prayer by one of the participants.
Community Health Workers Training
The Community Health Workers training for Simon Otundo Spring was held between November 12 and 13 in Emmumbia Village. The training's purpose was to sensitize community members to the importance of good health and hygiene. The training was attended by 13 people out of which seven were female and six were male.
This training also included the same information about disease transmission and prevention methods. Participants agreed that it is important to construct more latrines and build hand-washing stations, and most important always using them at the appropriate times.
A new session taught participants about how to properly handle water. There are three times water can be contaminated: at the spring, on the way home, and at home. For example, chemicals used near the spring could contaminate the water, but also carrying an uncovered, dirty container could also do so.
The group also had a chance to observe and then personally practice how to properly wash hands. But physically being clean doesn't last long if one lives in a dirty environment, so the group also brainstormed and then agreed to keep their households clean as well:
- Remove cobwebs
- Clear bushes and collect litter
- Always dispose of waste in a compost pit
- Sweet house floors on a daily basis
- Drain stagnant water
- Wash bedding
The group also looked forward to visiting other households in the community to encourage them to practice the above.
To further encourage participants, the training facilitator elaborated on a chart that proved investing in good health is cheaper than contending with the negative results of bad hygiene.
The chairperson promised to collaborate with the Water and Sanitation Management Committee to make sure the entire community makes an effort to improve sanitation and hygiene. He also shared that everybody appreciated the partner and their donors for help with protecting Simon Otundo Spring. He shared that these improvements would most certainly save the community both time and money.
Protection of Simon Otundo Spring is complete and is now in use by community members. The village has already grown by six households, making the total hit 86 households. These people were drawn to the village with the news of clean water, and the community expects to witness an even greater population increase.
The spring is now immune to surface runoff, and human activity no longer taints the water. There is a catchment area with a discharge spout, making water much more accessible for small children who no longer have to step into the water that they plan to drink. Installing this spout has also steadied the flow of water and kept things much more organized at the water point. No more long lines or waiting for the water to clear. Moreover, there is now a water committee that manages and maintains Simon Otundo Spring. The committee has already come up with a list of rules and regulations for water use and behavior around the spring.
Cases of waterborne diseases are expected to greatly decrease, because most or all of the contamination routes have been blocked. Before safe and clean water was accessible, families had to invest much time and money into managing the negative effects of impure water. They look forward to saving money and seeing an overall improvement in their standard of living.
An improvement in sanitation and hygiene practices has already been witnessed. Households now see the importance of always using sanitation facilities such as clotheslines, dish racks, and latrines. This is thanks to the community health workers who have already taken responsibility for educating families!
Household Sanitation Platforms
All five sanitation platforms have been installed and are now in use by families. These households admit they no longer fear using their latrine, knowing they cannot fall through the concrete. These slabs are also much easier to clean.
Thank You for working with WEWASAFO and the Simon Otundo Community to make clean water a reality.