This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water And Sanitation Forum. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).
The Laurence Induli unprotected spring is located in Shiseso Village, Iguhu Location, Lirembe Sub-Location, Idaho Sub-County of Kakamega County. The spring serves a massive population of 700 people from 100 different households. 402 of these people are female and 298 are male. The spring's water is used for drinking, cooking, washing, watering animals, and irrigating farms.
(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 spring is of great importance to this large community. Though it has many users throughout the year, it never runs dry. Though because the water is contaminated, community members have battled waterborne illnesses such as cholera and typhoid. Counterintuitively, the spring is at its dirtiest during the rainy seasons. Snails infest the water during these times and make the water unbearable to drink. As a result, households must resort to alternative sources a long distance from Shiseso Village. This wastes a lot of time that could be used for more economic activities.
Sanitation conditions are also very poor. Some households do not have latrines. Many households that do have latrines avoid using them for fear of falling through old slats. The alternative is open defecation, which further contaminates the community. We will work with the community to select five households for sanitation platform (an easy-to-clean concrete latrine floor) construction. Some households lack dish racks and just dry their utensils on the ground, oblivious to the possibility of contamination. All households will greatly benefit from sanitation and hygiene trainings where they will learn about the importance of these facilities, disease prevention, and good health practices.
After WEWASAFO's survey, it is obvious that the community of Laurence Induli Spring is in dire need of support. They are urging WEWASAFO to protect their spring and counteract the critical health situation at hand.
Water and Sanitation Management Committee Training
This training was held from November 10-11, and drew 12 participants out of which eight were female and four were male. Also in attendance was a sub-chief that represented the government and two WEWASAFO staff. The training was aimed to equip the committee with the skills needed to manage and maintain Laurence Induli Spring.
The participants were informed that in order to ensure the project goes smoothly, they will need to make a contribution of local materials. This complements the donor's contribution and gives the community a sense of ownership. They agreed to find the following materials: clean sand, ballast, hardcore, bricks, and fencing poles.
The committee also elected five households that will benefit from new sanitation platforms (easy-to-clean concrete latrine floors). These families will be responsible to sink their own pit, provide clean sand, bricks, and wall structure.
The facilitator took the committee to the spring for a practical session. They agreed to do the following in order to sustain the protection project:
- Plant indigenous trees to conserve the source
- Plant grass around the catchment area
- Punish open defecation
- Build a fence around the spring
- Construct gabions to prevent soil erosion
- Limit farming activities in the area
- Prevent children from misbehaving
- Regularly clean up waste
- Prohibit bathing and washing in the water source
These will prevent the most common sources of contamination and ultimately eliminate waterborne diseases such as malaria, cholera, typhoid, bilharzias and dysentery.
The group also brainstormed sources of disease that come from sources beyond dirty water:
- Not washing hands at important times
- Open defecation
- Not treating or boiling water
- Not washing food
Knowing the negative effects of the above behaviors encouraged group members to avoid them in the future.
Community Health Worker Training
The community health worker (CHW) training was held from November 12-13. There was a total of 12 participants of which eight were female and four were male.
The group listed some of the diseases that have been common in the community, such as typhoid, malaria, and dysentery. The facilitator taught about how germs are transmitted from a source to a host, which then built a foundation for talking about transmission prevention. People can form barriers by practicing good hygiene and sanitation, such as: hand-washing and overall physical hygiene, proper handling of food and water, and environmental upkeep.
The facilitator also led a workshop on handling food and water the proper way. There was also a session on hand-washing, which requires 10 steps to do properly! This was demonstrated and participants were given the opportunity to practice together.
The facilitator also helped participants learn about and appreciate their role as CHWs. They will educate the community on hygiene practices like:
- Building latrines and bathing rooms
- Having clotheslines and dish racks
- Digging compost pits
- Draining stagnant water
- HIV/AIDS awareness
- Cleaning compounds regularly
- Good nutrition and diet
- Family planning
Six participants were elected to take on the outlined CHW role. These CHWs now know that adhering to what they have learned will save them much more time and money in the future; they will no longer be subject to diseases that result from ignorance.
The protection of Laurence Induli Spring is complete and now in use by community members. They were so excited when they learned of the news that they have clean water access.
Contamination from surface runoff and human activity has been eliminated. The waterborne diseases recorded in the initial report are expected to disappear from the community. A lot of money that was previously used to treat medical complications can now be saved for education and other economical activities. Women and children also save time now that they have access to their local spring.
The Water and Sanitation Management Committee has set up strict rules to manage behavior around the water point. Nobody can be caught openly defecating, bathing, washing clothes, or allowing animals to drink from the spring. The community has a positive attitude about these rules now that they know the importance of maintaining their protected spring.
CHWs met their responsibilities after training, informing the greater community of good hygiene and sanitation practices. Many households have already embraced the concepts and installed new sanitation facilities such as latrines, clotheslines, and dish racks.
Household Sanitation Platforms
Sanitation platforms have been installed and are now in use by beneficiaries. More vulnerable people, such as the children and elderly, no longer fear using latrines because the concrete floors are both safer and stronger than others. The beneficiaries also confirm that keeping these floors clean is much easier.
Thank You for unlocking potential in the Laurence Induli Community!