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 Ebwiranyi Village, Mwitumbwi sub-location, Muhalakhala location, Mwibona Ward in Vihiga County. The spring serves two sub-locations, Ebusyubi and Mwitumbwi. More than 200 households use the spring, thus population totals 1,200, of which 500 are men and 700 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 irrigating farms.
There has been no attempt to protect this source; cattle and humans alike drink from the spring. Both must step into the water to fetch and drink, and thus the water is muddied and full of algae. Human activities like clothes-washing also increase contamination.
After surveying the area, WEWASAFO learned that nobody boils their water before drinking. Among the diseases resulting from contaminated water consumption are dysentery, cholera, typhus fever, and typhoid.
Furthermore, this spring is located in the fields where various fertilizers and pesticides are used. So even if the community boiled their water before drinking, they would probably still have to deal with chemical contamination. It was noted that a lot of money is wasted treating waterborne-related sickness.
The village has poor access to any sanitation facilities, resulting in improper waste disposal and the necessity of using the bathroom outdoors. During rainy weather, this waste is washed into the spring.
It was noticed there is also a lack of hand-washing facilities, dish racks, and clotheslines, and compost pits. This has increased the cases of dysentery, typhoid, typhus fever, schistosomiasis, and trachoma.
The community members are asking for WEWASAFO's help after they saw the improvements at Otwato spring. They said they are ready to contribute all of the local materials needed for this project.
Water Sanitation Management Committee Training
The Water and Sanitation Management Committee training was held on the spring landowner's property from October 13-14. A total number of 14 community members were in attendance. The training aimed to equip the committee members with the skills necessary to manage and maintain Kabole Spring.
The facilitator made sure to brief the community on their expected contribution. Those in the committee should direct the collection of clean sand, ballast, bricks, hardcore, and fencing poles. The community contribution will give them a feeling of ownership, which will encourage them to better manage and sustain the project.
The committee agreed on the following roles:
- Maintain and repair the spring when needed
- Keep records of spring users and activities in the vicinity
- Put up a fence around the spring
- Ensure the necessary materials are available
- Write and enforce rules for proper conduct
- Register the group and kick start income-generating activities
Specific to spring maintenance and management, the group agreed to the following for the site:
- Keep children from playing
- Monitor for open defecation
- Avoid washing and bathing
- No farming
- Plant grass and indigenous species around the catchment area
- Dig drainage to prevent mosquito breeding
- No latrines within 50 meters
The group was led on a transect walk, which allowed them to look for and evaluate sanitation facilities in their community. They watched for clotheslines, dish racks, compost pits, hand-washing stations, latrines, and bathing rooms.
Beyond having clean water, the group discussed other ways to prevent waterborne illnesses such as malaria and cholera. They should wash food before cooking, wash hands at critical times, cover cooked food, treat or boil water, and maintain physical cleanliness.
Community Health Workers Training
The Community Health Workers (CHW) training was held from October 15-16 at the spring landowner's home. A total number of 14 people attended of which eight were female and six were male.
The group brainstormed a list of these waterborne diseases, including malaria, cholera, and dysentery. The facilitator transitioned to explaining the chain of contamination; how these diseases are transmitted from a germ source to humans. Many of these links can be broken when good sanitation and hygiene is practiced.
The facilitator also led sessions on proper water and food handling. There are three stages that water can be contaminated during: spring, transport, and home. Those fetching water can ensure that they keep the spring water clean by using clean containers and covering them both on the road and in their homes.
This group also participated in a similar transect walk focused on the health status of their environment. Were bushes cleared? Were latrines being used? Were homesteads swept? Were hand-washing stations filled with water and supplied with soap? The facilitator also wanted to ensure participants were using these stations properly. Hand-washing was demonstrated to the group, and participants then had an opportunity to practice the ten steps.
Last but not least, the facilitator stressed the role that this group of CHWs has. They have the following responsibilities:
- Educate the community on the importance of sanitation facilities such as latrines and hand-washing stations
- Clean the spring area regularly
- Make home visits to educate families on what they learned
Results of the Project:
Protection of Kabole Spring is complete and now in use by the community members. Since the water source has been completely secured, it is no longer subject to surface runoff and contamination from human activity. Community members are now aware that using fertilizers and other chemicals near the spring contaminates the water, so they have vowed to stop all farming activities nearby and start caring for their health.
Since the spring serves a great number of people, the water used to get dirty easily due to constant drawing of water. Many had to go to the spring during the night so as to avoid the long queues during the day. The community members around this spring are now happy since they know for sure that they can go to the spring at any time and get clean safe drinking water. A lot of time which was wasted in the past has now been used for productive economic activities. Therefore the living standards in this community are expected to improve.
The cases of waterborne diseases reported in this community are expected to decrease since the people now have access to clean drinking water. Furthermore, hygiene and sanitation have been made a priority in this community.
Household Sanitation Platforms
The sanitation platforms for five households have been installed and are now in use. The families are happy to use these facilities since they are both easy to clean and comfortable to use. Susan, one of the beneficiaries, could not hide her joy as the new platform was installed. She was happy that her family members would no longer have to resort to using the bushes outside.
The community members are very happy and satisfied with this project.
Thank You! None of this would have been possible without you.