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 Emachembe Village, Murumba Sub-Location, East Butsotso Location, Kakamega Central Ward of Kakamega County. Peter Spring serves over 25 households, which makes the population 175; 40 of which are male and 135 female. People use this spring water for drinking, cooking, and farming. The village's cash crop is sugarcane.
The community members entirely depend on this spring as their only source of water. Since it is unprotected, it is vulnerable to run-off contamination. It is also contaminated by people who step into the water to fetch, as well as animals that are free to roam.
As a result of sugarcane farming too close to the spring, rainfall washes chemical fertilizers and pesticides into the water. As a result of contamination, the community has suffered from diarrhea and dysentery. This especially affects women and young children.
The sanitation situation is critical. Few people have latrines, and the latrines that exist are in poor condition. Children avoid these latrines for fear of falling through the slats. WEWASAFO noticed that these poor conditions have caused an extensive open defecation problem. Besides latrines, many households also lack compost pits, clotheslines, and dish racks. Airing clothes and utensils on the ground is a popular practice.
The community of Peter Spring is in great need of help. They are requesting WEWASAFO consider them as a project and help improve living standards. They hope to no longer waste time and money treating water-related sicknesses.
Water and Sanitation Management Committee Training
This training was held from November 10-11. There were 16 participants of which six were male and 10 were female. The training aimed to equip the committee with skills needed to manage and maintain Peter Spring.
The committee agreed to mobilize the following local materials: ballast, hardcore, clean sand, bricks, and fencing poles. They would also be responsible for finding two volunteers to help with labor, as well as others willing to host and feed the construction team during the process.
The committee was also tasked with choosing five homesteads that would most benefit from new sanitation platforms (easy-to-clean concrete latrine floors). Once they chose the five locations, those families were informed that they would need to dig their latrine pit in preparation. They would also have to provide clean sand, bricks, and wall materials.
The committee agreed to undertake the following activities to ensure management and maintenance of the spring:
- Plant grass at the catchment area to prevent erosion
- Build a fence around the spring
- Make a small pathway to the spring
- Plant indigenous trees
- Make and enforce rules for proper behavior
- Ensure waste is always picked up
- Dig trenches to properly drain excess water
There are other steps the committee and their community can take beyond protecting the spring from contamination, which are:
- Boiling and treating drinking water
- Install a hand-washing station near the latrine
- Clear bushes around compounds
- Drain stagnant water
- Use sanitation facilities like clotheslines
- Wash and thoroughly cook food and cover cooked food
- Store water in a clean container
Community Health Worker Training
The community health worker (CHW) training was held from November 12-13. There was a total of 15 participants of which 12 were male and three were female. The purpose of training was to educate and equip CHWs on issues of health and hygiene in the community.
Participants were first taken through handling water. They highlighted ways water is contaminated and then how to prevent contamination at the spring, on the way home, and at home.
The facilitator taught about the disease transmission triad. The three points are host, environment, and the disease-causing agent. A lot of barriers can be set up that block the disease from traveling to the host. These are simple acts such as using a dish rack, clearing bushes around compounds, and always using latrines. Participants also agreed to set up hand-washing stations near their latrines as soon as possible.
The CHWs also had an opportunity to observe the facilitator demonstrate 10 important hand-washing steps. They then practiced these as a group. CHWs are expected to share this and other important practices with each household in the community.
Protection of Peter Spring is complete and is now in use by community members. Since water is no longer dirtied from runoff and human activity, people no longer have to spend time waiting for the water to refresh and clear.It is already apparent this project has made water more accessible, saving women valuable time that can now be used for more economic activities. They have started planting kitchen gardens to generate income, and plan to sell vegetables at Shikoti Market.
Household Sanitation Platforms
Sanitation platforms have been installed and are now in use by five families. They promise to always use these instead of practicing open defecation.
Thank You for making clean water and good health a reality for the community of Peter Spring.