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).
This unprotected spring is located in Ematere Village, Shieywe location, Sichirai sub-location, Lurambi sub-County within Kakamega County. The spring serves over 25 households with a total approximate population of 175 people. The water is used for domestic purposes like drinking, cooking, washing, and irrigation.
The community members affirm that they have suffered from waterborne illnesses for a long time; problems such as typhoid, stomachache, and dysentery. They have noticed that these are results from drinking the water from Barnes spring, which is contaminated by surface run-off and human and animal activity. The spring users do not know how to purify this water, which leads to even more cases of water-related health issues.
Sanitation is also poor, since many people do not have latrines. These people have no other choice but seek the privacy behind buildings and bushes. During rainy weather, this waste is washed into the spring, leading to even greater contamination.
The latrines that the community already has are in poor condition. Thus, they are not easy to clean, and the muddy floors exacerbate health problems.
WEWASAFO also observed that there are no hand-washing facilities around the latrines. Few people had clotheslines or dish racks, and many people were found to be airing their utensils out on the ground. A lot of money has been wasted on treating waterborne diseases instead of undertaking other economical activities.
The people of Ematere Village are appealing to the donor through WEWASAFO to consider protecting Barnes spring and building new sanitation platforms. They believe this will go a long way in reducing incidences of sickness amongst children and adults. And with better health, the community will be able to save money that can be used for more promising economical opportunities.
Water Sanitation and Management Committee Training
The Water Sanitation and Management Committee training was held from September 29-30 at Friends Church. Total attendance was 11, of which four of them were male and seven female. There are normally more women in attendance because of their association with fetching water and other domestic chores. This training was aimed at equipping Community Health Workers (CHW) with the relevant skills to promote good health and hygiene.
The participants agreed on their role in the community. They should:
- Maintain the spring to ensure its purity
- Take initiative to repair the spring as needed
- Keep a register of those who use the spring
- Write and enforce rules around the spring
- Educate community members on the importance of good hygiene
The facilitator also briefed the participants on materials they would need to complete this project, such as: clean sand, bricks, stones, ballast, fencing poles, and plants.
The facilitator then moved on to more practical sessions, including a session at the spring. When around the spring, participants learned that they should clear bushes, plant new grass, dig drainage, and enforce a no farming and no waste disposal rule for the vicinity. All of these steps will prevent contamination and the spread of waterborne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, and malaria.
The committee was also taught about methods to further protect their water such as treatment, proper handling and proper storage.
The participants appreciated the training, which they all felt was very relevant to their daily lives. The chairman Stanley Ingosi commented that "the knowledge and skill we have acquired will greatly help us in managing our spring." Chairman Ingosi wants to thank both the organization and the donor for making this project possible. It could not have been done without you!
Community Health Workers Training
Community Health Workers (CHW) training was held from October 1st to 2nd in Ematere Village. There was a total of 11 participants of which five were men, four were women, and two were WEWASAFO staff. The aim of training was to equip CHWs with the skills to promote good hygiene and ultimately reduce the cases of waterborne diseases.
The facilitators and participants brainstormed the waterborne diseases that are commonly seen in their community, and then learned about how these diseases are transmitted. There is a chain of contamination that involves the environment, agent, vector, and host. It often begins with a dirty environment wherefrom germs emerge, which are then transmitted by flies or other creatures to humans.
Participants agreed on these common causes:
- Open defecation
- Allowing domestic animals in the spring area
- People swimming and bathing
- Washing clothes
- Stagnant water (breeding grounds for mosquitoes)
- And then drinking the contaminated water!
But how about prevention methods? The facilitator elicited the following measures:
- Always use latrines
- Treat water before consumption
- Keep households clean
- Ensure the spring is maintained and governed well
- Handle water properly
CHWs also participated in a practical session on hand-washing. The facilitator started by asking if a participant could demonstrate how to wash hands, and was ultimately astounded that the participant left out many critical steps. There are a total of ten steps to washing hands correctly, and the facilitator made sure to demonstrate them and ensure participants could do them properly.
The group also listed and then discussed the importance of sanitation facilities including latrines, hand-washing stations, compost pits, dish racks, and clotheslines.
The group selected six members to represent them in sharing this information with the community. They also agreed on the following responsibilities:
- Keep clean latrines
- Build bathrooms
- Drain stagnant water
- Raise HIV/AIDS awareness
- Clean compounds
- Observe proper diets
- Have other sanitation facilities such as dish racks, clotheslines, compost pits
- Clean the spring regularly
Protection of Barnes Spring is complete and now in use by community members. The protection project attracted five more households to the area, making the total number of households 30.
Water from the source is no longer open to runoff contamination. Community members trust the water is safe and now use it for drinking, cooking, and domestic chores. Cases of waterborne diseases have already decreased. Community members are happy they no longer have to waste time and money treating sickness. They look forward to saving more money to go towards their children's education.
Household Sanitation Platforms
Sanitation platforms have been installed for five homesteads and are now in use by those families. These new facilities are much safer, stronger, and cleaner than what was there before. Neither the children nor the elderly fear using them, which reduces the level of open defecation that was previously an issue.
Thank You for unlocking potential for the people around Barnes Spring.