People in Ulagai Village have already woken up and are getting ready for the days' hustle by 6:00 am. Children can be seen washing their faces and rinsing off their legs before they put on their uniforms as their mothers prepare breakfast. Men head off to their jobs right away; some help on construction sites while others work on other peoples' farms for a small wage. A lucky few are the owners of these farms, who specialize in growing maize, beans, millet, and cassava. Most women establish their own kitchen gardens to grow vegetables that help feed their families.
Children are dismissed from school for an hour at lunchtime, during which they rush to find enough firewood for their mothers to cook. Work continues through the afternoon, then there are more chores to close the day.
Rose Obare Spring is on the property of Mrs. Obare who allows the community to fetch water from it. It is entirely out in the open collecting all sorts of contaminants, especially when it rains.
The water is so murky that you can't even see the bottom. Nonetheless, people dip their containers to get water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and many other uses.
"We have suffered from diseases such as diarrhea that are caused by using this water as dirty as it is. By protecting it, the community will also be protected from such kinds of diseases in the future," said George Ngesa, who has used Rose Obare Spring for years.
There are a few households who have pit latrines that are in relatively good condition, but most are in terrible shape. They are constructed without doors and the floors are not cemented. Flies go in and out of the pit.
The area chief said that he's gone door to door to make sure everyone has a dish rack and clotheslines, but even so there are those who still haven't built anything.
"If only the community health workers would train the community a little more on water, sanitation and hygiene, most of these people would now already know what to do in order to stay healthy," Mrs. Obare 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 female community members by giving them more time and energy to engage 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 (edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.