This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water And Sanitation Forum. Our team is pleased to directly share the report below (edited for clarity, as needed).
This unprotected spring is located in Emukhalari Village, Indangalasia Sub-Location, East Butsotso Location, Lurambi Division, Kakamega Central of Kakamega County. The spring serves a total population of 140 people from 20 different households. 98 community members are female and 42 are male. The water is used for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and watering animals.
Since Asatsa Spring is unprotected and also located at the bottom of a hill, it is prone to receive contamination from surface runoff. The water is especially dirty during the heavy rain season of Western Kenya. Because of this dirt and mud, women often have to wait a long time for water to refresh and dirt to settle before they fetch. Others resort to the nearest alternative 800 meters away. Much time is wasted in search of water.
During the survey, it was noted that sanitation is a big problem for this community. Many households have latrines, but the majority of them are in very poor condition. The community will benefit from training about the importance of having and using sanitation facilities like latrines, hand-washing stations, clotheslines, dish racks, and compost pits. Many poor practices, such as drying clothes on the ground, lead to skin infections and other complications.
Mr. Jacob Asatsa, the landowner, said the community applied for help many times in the past but all of their efforts were in vain. When he learned of WEWASAFO during construction at Petro Maloba Spring, he sent in his application immediately. This community looks forward to a lasting partnership!
Water and Sanitation Management Committee Training
This training was held from November 17-18 and attended by 16 community members of which 10 were female and six were male. The purpose was to equip the committee with the skills needed to manage and maintain Asatsa Spring. The also received training on leadership, governance, and record-keeping.
The facilitator informed the committee of the importance of taking ownership of this project. They discussed and then agreed to a contribution of local materials, such as: bricks, ballast, hardcore, clean sand, and fencing poles. The community should also be willing to host any construction workers that need accommodation or food during the course of the project.
The committee then chose five households that they thought were most in need of new sanitation platforms (easy-to-clean concrete latrine floors). These families will be responsible for digging a latrine pit and providing extra clean sand, bricks, and wall materials.
After mobilizing materials, the committee will draft an action plan with steps to supplement the spring protection construction. They agreed to do the following to improve conditions around their water source:
- Plant indigenous trees to replace blue gum trees
- Build a fence to keep out animals
- Prohibit farming in the area to prevent chemical runoff
- Plant grass around the catchment area to decrease water evaporation
- Dig drainage
- Regularly pick up trash
- Monitor children playing and people washing in the spring
- Keep latrines at least 50 meters away from the water
Beyond protecting the spring's water, participants agreed with the facilitator that practicing the following control measures will greatly decrease disease in the village:
- Treat or boil water before drinking
- Pay attention to physical hygiene
- Thoroughly cover and cook food, wash food before eating
- Wash hands at important times
- Keep the environment clean and organized
The committee promised to unite with WEWASAFO to monitor and evaluate the success of their spring protection.
Community Health Worker Training
The community health worker (CHW) training was held from November 19-20. There was a total of 16 participants out of which 10 were female and six were male. The purpose was to sensitize the group on how to both practice and promote good hygiene habits in the community.
The participants were asked to list the most prevalent diseases in their community. These include malaria, diarrhea, cough, and stomachache-related diseases. The facilitator then outlined the relationship between disease, environment, and host. The host can almost always control their environment to build a barrier between them and the disease. This transitioned to an entire session on disease transmission.
There are three main barriers that the community can construct to decrease disease:
1. Construct latrines that reduce human interaction with waste
2. Install hand-washing stations and use them at important times
3. Practice good food and water hygiene (always cook food thoroughly, store water in a clean place for a maximum of three days, etc.)
The group elected four members to spearhead the community education/health promotion project. Everyone agreed that these four CHWs must take on the following responsibilities:
- Make sure every household has sanitation facilities: dish rack, clotheslines, compost pit, bathing room, latrine, hand-washing station
- Monitor for open defecation
- Identify and report cases of disease
- Help the committee monitor the spring
- Educate families on HIV/AIDS, family planning, and immunizations
- Visit health centers and register as members
The group also attended session on personal hygiene, environmental hygiene, and proper hand-washing. The facilitator demonstrated hand-washing, and then each individual had a chance to practice in front of the group. There are a total of 10 steps required for thorough hand-washing!
Protection of Asatsa Spring is complete and is now in use by community members. After protection, three more households joined the community in order to access clean water. Thus, Asatsa Spring now serves a total of 23 households. The construction efforts now protect the spring's water from contamination caused by both surface runoff and human activities.
Community members rejoice that they no longer have to walk long distances in search of water. They now use their saved time for more productive activities such as farming and other income-generating activities.
Household Sanitation Platforms
Sanitation platforms have been installed and are being used by five households. These families expressed their joy once they realized how much easier these facilities are to clean and use.
The community really appreciates all of these improvements and has asked the partner to continue doing good work lifting spirits and changing lives.
Thank You for making this project possible!
The Water Project and people of Petro Maloba Spring Thank You for giving them the hope of clean water and good health.