Most people are farmers in this part of Musango, specializing in maize and groundnuts. Some plant sugarcane, since that is easily sold to local sugar factories. Many of these same farmers also raise dairy cows. All daylight is spent on the farm, while the evening hours are for selling produce and milk at the trading center.
Some children go to school, while others stay at home and play with friends while their parents are on the farm.
Community members tell us that Dawi Spring provides water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. The water is clearly contaminated, with algae growing on the surface. Community members dunk jerrycans under the surface and bring home water to store in large 100-liter barrels.
Children suffer the most after drinking contaminated water, contracting sicknesses like typhoid and cholera.
"We have used dirty water for a very long time, and this has caused lots of diseases for this community. People eat well, but water is still a big problem," Mr. Mapesa Daraja said.
Someone has to walk extremely far, more than two kilometers, to a neighboring community's protected spring, when a family is in dire need of safe drinking water.
More than half of the households in this area use pit latrines made of soil and mud. Even fewer own other sanitation tools like dish racks and clotheslines and none have hand-washing stations.
Here's what we're going to do about it:
Hygiene and Sanitation Training
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.