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 Shiyenga Village, Shianda location, South Kabras Ward, Malava sub-county of Malava Constituency. The spring serves a large population of 784 from 98 different households. The community is made up of 300 men and 484 women. The spring also serves Lukume Market and the primary school, which has 754 pupils enrolled. (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.)
This spring is contaminated surface run-off and human activities, such as people stepping into the water as they fetch. The spring is also located on the lower end of a farm, so fertilizers and pesticides wash into the water during rainy weather. The community also lacks a trough for the farm animals, and thus the cows and goats drink directly from the spring.
"My children often have stomachaches," shares Mama Risper, "When I'm around I can boil their drinking water, but I can't when I'm out to work. They often have diarrhea because of that." There have been other health complications reported, such as flu, typhoid, dysentery, coughs, and malaria; all due to the community's dirty water, poor sanitation facilities, and unhygienic practices.
Not only are latrines in poor condition, but some households even lack them. The children say that they are afraid to use the old latrines for fear of falling through the slats, and prefer using the bushes. This waste is washed into the spring when raining. Beyond this, many households also lack dish racks, compost pits, and clotheslines.
The community has already formed a management committee in expectation of a spring and sanitation project. If they are considered, they are prepared to provide all of the local materials needed. The community members have already approached other organizations and some local politicians, asking them to help protect their spring, but have not yet succeeded.
When they learned of WEWASAFO, they approached the organization and requested to be considered for a future project.
Water Sanitation and Management Committee Training
Water Sanitation and Management Committee training was held from September 29th to 30th at the spring landowner's household. The sessions were attended by 18 people, out of which two were male and 16 were female. The training's purpose was to equip committee members with the skills to maintain and protect their spring in order to ensure continued access to clean water.
The landowner Mr. Wycliffe was very grateful for the training even before it began; the community had been rejected by other projects because of their long distance from the county headquarters. Mr. Wycliffe encouraged all participants to take the training seriously, ask any questions as needed, and pass on the information learned to those not present.
The facilitator walked participants through their role in the project as follows:
- To own and accept the project
- Contribute locally available construction materials
- Oversee spring construction process
- Fence in the spring site
- Maintain the spring
- Dig and maintain the cut-off drains and other drainage at the spring site
The committee also was briefed on and agreed to supply materials such as bricks, wheelbarrows full of sand, and latrine walls.
Committee members brainstormed a list of rules to help maintain the spring, and agree to enforce them in the greater community. This list included avoiding latrine construction and farming in the vicinity, no washing in the spring, and no playing at the spring.
The committee chairwoman expressed their gratefulness for all the information learned, and promised that they would manage Shiyenga spring effectively.
Protection of Shiyenga Spring is complete and now in use by the community.
This is the highest yield spring that WEWASAFO staff has ever witnessed. Two weeks after construction was complete, the spring setup broke down due to pressure on the wing walls. The organization had to gather extra money to buy repair materials. To prevent this problem in the future, the spring artisan diverted some water underground to ease pressure.
The spring is no longer open to contamination caused by surface runoff. Community members no draw water from the discharge pipes, so they no longer have to step into the spring water when fetching. People no longer have to wait for the water source to clear, which saves them a lot of economical time.
The Water and Sanitation Committee have set up rules to govern spring use. These rules will help maintain the community's new protected water source. There will be no bathing, washing clothes, cleaning utensils or watering animals at the spring. The community members accept and agree to these rules because they were sensitized to them during training. Since the community is taking these steps, cases of waterborne diseases are expected to drastically decrease.
Hygiene practices in the community have already improved. Many households now have sanitation facilities like bathrooms, compost pits, clotheslines, and dish racks. The community is very happy with the spring's safe and clean drinking water, knowing that they will no longer waste time and income gathering contaminated water and thereafter treating illness. The peoples' lives will never be the same.
Household Sanitation Platforms
Sanitation platforms (easy-to-clean concrete latrine floors) have been installed and are now in use by five separate households. The beneficiaries are happy to use the facilities, no longer fearing the safety of small children and the elderly. They admit these latrines are also structurally sound and easy to clean. More community members see these new facilities and wish to build them in their own compounds.
The Water Project and Shiyenga Community Thank You for unlocking potential!