Ulagai Village is full of hardworking individuals who wake up as early as 6am to start their daily chores. The children get ready for school as women work to make breakfast. The men head out to their farms as soon as possible to beat the rising sun. The women finish up household chores before either joining their husbands on the farm or taking the produce they've harvested to sell at the local market.
The entire village of about 238 people rely on Aduda Spring for all of their water. They dunk their containers under the surface to get water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and irrigating their crops during the dry months.
Aduda Spring is entirely open to contamination, especially with people dunking their hands and containers directly into the water. When it's particularly busy, some people even resort to getting their water as it drains away. We fear that contaminants like farm fertilizer, motorbike oil from the nearby repair shop, and animal feces are in this water.
The consequences are obvious, with people constantly suffering from waterborne diseases like typhoid and cholera.
Less than a quarter of households have a pit latrine. There's no doubt people are just going outside in the bushes, due to this low coverage. This waste isn't properly disposed of and endangers the community in numerous different ways. Many of the latrines we observed pose a danger for their users, with wooden floors that rot away.
There are no hand-washing stations nor are there helpful tools like dish racks or clotheslines. Garbage is piled up and attracts animals that spread it around the community.
"We suffer as a community because of ignorance. If we could find proper training on water, sanitation and hygiene we would be better placed. I urge you to please come and do this training to help my people," Mrs. Millicent Onyiengo said.
Here's what we're going to do about it:
Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least two days. This training will ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance. The facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation), CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development), group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring. One of the most important topics we plan to cover is the handling, storage, and treatment of water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it’s consumed. Hand-washing will also be a big topic.
Training will also result in the formation of a committee that will oversee operations and maintenance at the spring. They will enforce proper behavior around the spring and delegate tasks that will help preserve the site, such as building a fence and digging proper drainage. The fence will keep out destructive animals, and the drainage will keep the area’s mosquito population at a minimum.
On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrine floors.
Training will also inform the community and selected families on what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, such as bricks, clean sand, hardcore, and ballast. The five families chosen for sanitation platforms must prepare by sinking a pit for the sanitation platforms to be placed over. All community members must work together to make sure that accommodations and food are always provided for the work teams.
Protecting the spring will ensure that the water is safe, adequate and secure. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water. With the community’s high involvement in the process, there should be a good sense of responsibility and ownership for the new clean water source.
Fetching water is predominantly a female role, done by both women and young girls. Protecting the spring and offering training and support will therefore help empower the female members of the community by giving them more time and efforts to engage and invest in income-generating activities.
This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water And Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (formatted and edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.