As the sun rises, the people of Emwanya village are already up doing their daily chores. Many Emwanya residents do odd jobs to keep life moving on. Watchmen can be seen still in their uniforms heading to their homes, those who ride motorcycles are also up, some with children taking them to school while others carrying teachers to their schools. Some men can be seen with hoes headed to farms, some digging on their own farms but most of them hire themselves out to labor on other's farms.
Women remain home to do chores and work on their own kitchen garden full of vegetables. Some women are seen looking for firewood to start preparing breakfast, while others rush to collect water and come back balancing buckets of water on their heads. After morning chores, those who do small businesses in the village center are seen carrying heavy bags full of stock for their kiosks.
Hundred of people rely on Josam Kutsuru Spring for all of their water. It's brought back home for cooking, cleaning, drinking, and irrigating during the dry months. However, Josam Kutsuru Spring is an pool of water completely open to contamination. Its water is always murky, and the quality is especially poor when rainwater washes tons of dirt, waste, and chemicals into the water.
After drinking this water, it's normal to have an upset stomach accompanied with diarrhea.
Less than a quarter of nearby households have a pit latrine. The few latrines we were able to visit are in very poor condition - made of wooden floors that are near impossible to clean. The families who don't have a pit latrine are using the bushes instead. Even the village center doesn't have a latrine.
There's nowhere to wash your hands, nor are there many helpful sanitation tools like dish racks or clotheslines to dry things safely off the ground.
"If only we could get someone to teach us about the importance of good hygiene and sanitation, we wouldn't be going through the problems we are currently facing. Our people are just too ignorant, that's why we suffer so much, if only we could find someone to talk about hygiene then make people practice good health," Mrs. Jane Amimo 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.