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 Shibuli Village, Shibuli Location, Shibuli Sub-Location, Lurambi Ward, Butsotso Central Division of Kakamega County. It serves over 18 households with an approximate population of 259. 160 of these are female and 99 are male. The spring's water is used for drinking, cooking, washing, and farming.
Community members have noticed that the spring is greatly contaminated by surface run-off. People that wash in the spring and animals that drink from it stir up the muck. People have suffered from complications like typhoid, stomachache, and dysentery after drinking the spring's water. They are ignorant of purification methods involving chlorine and boiling.
The sanitation situation is also critical. Many people do not have working, safe latrines. These people resort to using the bushes or privacy behind buildings. During rainy weather this waste is washed into the spring.
Some households have bush latrines. These have muddy floors that are difficult to clean and harbor a lot of mosquitoes. Bathers notice many new mosquito bites; bites that greatly increase the chance of malaria.
Few people set up hand-washing facilities near their latrine. Those that had them neglected to equip the station with water and soap. Few households have clotheslines or dish racks, and opt to air out their clothes and utensils on the ground.
The people are asking WEWASAFO to listen to their plea and protect their water source. The community around Eshitirira Spring hope to have a healthy community in the future.
Water and Sanitation Management Committee Training
The Water and Sanitation Management Committee training was held from November 10-11 at Eshitirira Spring. A total of 23 community members were in attendance of which 10 were female and 13 were male. The training aimed to equip the committee with the necessary skills to properly manage and maintain Eshitirira Spring.
The facilitator led a culturally-sensitive role play that introduced participants to their own important role in this project: They will need to make a contribution of time, effort, and locally available materials in order to protect the spring. Contributions will always be required if they wish to develop their community and take ownership of this development. The facilitator then listed some of the materials the committee will need to find before construction; materials such as: hardcore, clean sand, ballast, bricks, and fencing poles.
After discussing what was needed for the spring protection project, the committee moved on to the sanitation platform project. Funding allows for the construction of five separate sanitation platforms (easy-to-clean concrete latrine floors), and the committee is responsible for choosing which five households will benefit. The committee voted on the five households who are then responsible for collecting their own clean sand, wall materials, and for digging their own 2x3, 25-foot deep pit.
Participants were taken through ways they can accomplish their goals of management and maintenance:
- Dig drainage around the spring
- Prevent soil erosion by farming properly
- Plant grass around the water catchment area
- Put up a fence around the spring
- Draft and then enforce rules for proper behavior around the spring (ie no children playing)
- Regular cleaning around the spring (pick up litter)
While contaminated water is a big reason the community has suffered from water-related illnesses, there are also some other factors of which they take into account:
- Not covering food
- Not washing hands at critical times
- Stagnant water
- Poor handling of water on the way home and within the home
- Not washing food before cooking and eating
- Open defecation
- Latrines too near the water source (within 50 meters)
Now that participants know the ill effects of the above behaviors, they can practice the opposite to improve the health of both individuals and their overall community.
Community Health Workers Training
Training for community health workers (CHW) took place from November 12-13 at a community member's compound. A total of 22 people attended of which 10 were women and 12 were men. Training aimed to equip participants with the tools needed to practice and promote good health and hygiene practices in their community.
After training, each CHW is expected to reach out to 10 different households to share what they learned. They are also expected to educate groups at community events and Eshitirira Spring.
Some of the training methods WEWASAFO uses are Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), role plays, transect walks, and group discussions.
The group learned about the four aspects of hygiene: personal, food, water, and environmental hygiene. The group listed and discussed good behaviors to maintain each of the four aspects. For example, personal hygiene includes washing hands regularly, while food hygiene includes storing food properly. Water hygiene includes the practice of treating or boiling, and environmental hygiene includes domestic tasks such as sweeping compounds on a daily basis. Participants had an opportunity to observe WEWASAFO staff complete the 10 steps for thorough hand-washing, and then practiced doing so themselves.
The group elected three members to take on the role of CHW. These three CHWs agreed to visit 10 homes to spread the news about healthy behaviors.
Construction work at Eshitirira Spring is complete and is now in use by the community. The spring initially served 18 households, but has drawn more users since the project was completed. New of clean water has attracted two additional households.
After training, community members took what they learned about water, sanitation, and hygiene very seriously. Most of the community now boils their water before drinking, cleans their homesteads, hangs clothes on lines, uses dish racks, latrines, and hand-washing stations. "Since I was trained by WEWASAFO staff on water handling, I now keep my water safe at home. I cover the water storage container with a lid, use a clean scooping cup to draw water and I now treat drinking water by boiling. All of which I was not doing before," stated Ann, one of the spring beneficiaries.
Additionally, there has been a great decrease in cases of open defecation, which explains the tremendous decrease in the number of people suffering from typhoid and cholera.
Household Sanitation Platforms
Construction of latrines for five different households is complete and now in use by these families. These five new facilities serve a total of 47 community members!
Thank You for unlocking potential for the Eshitirira Community.