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 Ilesi Village, Ilesi location, Muhonje sub-county, Kakamega East Division within Kakamega County. The spring serves 150 households, resulting in a huge population of 1024 people. (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 domestic purposes such as drinking, cooking, washing, watering animals and irrigating farms.
The community depends on creating pottery for a living, which even provides for their children's higher education. They have different markets that they sell their work in, even outside of Kakamega County. A lot of people from outside of Ilesi Village also travel into town to buy these pots and utensils.
This spring has been improved by the locals at the drawing point, but the catchment area is still left open to contamination. Many people waste time waiting in queues due to the large population accessing this spring, and many conflicts have resulted from the anxiety caused by the poor situation.
During the dry season, people are forced to fetch water at night to avoid the congestion during the day. This can be very dangerous for women who can be accosted when walking to and waiting at the spring.
It was also reported that that the community is battling waterborne diseases like cholera, typhoid and dysentery as a result of contaminated water.
The sanitation situation is also critical. Most people lack proper latrines, dish racks, clotheslines, and information about how to maintain good hygiene and health.
While walking around the village, WEWASAFO noticed that since many people do not have safe and clean latrines, they have resorted to using the bathroom outside. And as a result, flies have been drawn to Shamwama spring and its vicinity.
Because there are no dish racks or clotheslines, these things are often dried on the ground. Chickens are also free to roam around these areas, and often wander over and contaminate utensils and clothes.
Ilesi Village is in dire need of of support and is urging WEWASAFO to help them protect Shamwama spring.
Water Sanitation and Management Committee Training
This training was conducted from October 13th to 14th on Mr. Jacob Mate's property (the spring landowner). The training was attended by 13 people out of which three were male and 10 were female.
These community members were briefed on the materials necessary to complete this project, which include: hardcore, clean sand, ballast, and fencing poles. Participants agreed on the following roles for the committee:
- Build a fence around the spring
- Set rules for good behavior and practices
- Gather stone and sand before the construction date
- Take care of the construction workers by providing accommodations and food
- Repair the spring if damaged
- Keep records of activities around the spring
Participants also enjoyed a practical session at the spring site, where they learned they should:
- Plant grass and indigenous species instead of blue gum trees
- Keep animals away
- Prohibit farming in the vicinity
- Dig drainage
- Keep latrines a minimum of 50 meters away
- Keep children from playing and people from washing in the spring's water
Participants learned they can further take steps towards preventing disease by treating and boiling water, covering cooked food, and washing hands.
The committee came up with a schedule to implement some of the decisions found above. Cecilia, the committee chairperson, thanked the organization and facilitators for the good things they taught. She admitted that most community members had been ignorant of good health practices before the sessions. She also requested that the organization return and protect even more springs in the area.
Community Health Workers Training
The community health worker (CHW) training was held from October 15-16. There was a total of 13 participants, of which seven were elected to take on the role of a CHW in their community. The training aimed to equip participants with the skills to promote good health and hygiene, ultimately decreasing the cases of waterborne disease.
Participants were taught about the chain of contamination and how to construct blocks between the links. Most of these preventative measures deal with the initial environment, where it is important to keep it clean and free of contaminates. Later on in the chain, it is possible to protect the host from any contaminates that were not blocked. For example: treating or boiling water and covering food.
The facilitator also taught sessions about handling water properly and washing hands. Participants were able to observe the facilitator and then practice these themselves.
The group also decided on the role of the seven CHWs, which includes making sure the spring is clean and that rules are followed. The CHWs will also visit homes to check for and educate on the following things:
- Dish racks and clotheslines
- Compost pits
- Clean latrines and bathing rooms
- No stagnant water
- Proper nutrition and diet
- Family planning
- Kitchen gardens
The facilitator also encouraged the group to participate in a transect walk, which is an educational exploration and assessment of the community's current sanitation and hygiene situation.
The CHW group also made a plan for action that will educate the rest of their community on proper hygiene and sanitation.
Protection of Shamwama Spring is complete and now in use by community members. Beneficiaries can now draw safe, clean drinking water from the spring because it is protected from surface runoff and other contaminates. They are happy to no longer be wasting time waiting for the water to clear as a result of constant activity. This saved time will now be used to maintain the community's livelihood, pottery-making. Cases of waterborne diseases are expected to decrease, and community members are no longer worried about wasting money to treat them. They will instead have the good health necessary to engage in other important economic activities.
Household Sanitation Platforms
Sanitation platforms have been installed and are now used by five different households. After training, these families realized the importance of using their new latrines which are both safer and cleaner. With these five families using latrines, open defecation and thus water contamination is expected to greatly decrease.
Thank You for unlocking Shamwama Community's potential!