July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Mwituwa Community, Shikunyi Spring
Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.
Reviewing the prevention reminders chart at training
We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to rural communities like Mwituwa, Kenya.
We trained more than 13 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.
Highlighting the importance of soap in handwashing
We covered essential hygiene lessons:
- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station
- Proper handwashing technique
- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing
- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.
Building a tippy tap handwashing station
We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:
- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19
- What social distancing is and how to practice it
- How to cough into an elbow
- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.
- How to make and properly wear a facemask.
During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point, along with a sign with reminders of what we covered.
Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.
Homemade mask tutorial
Participants were particularly surprised to learn that the fine people are being charged for not wearing face masks is Kshs. 20,000 as they said no one in that training could afford such a huge amount. If anyone in their midst was caught without wearing a face mask in a public place, the only option was for them to be imprisoned for a period of 6 months which happens to anyone found without a face mask who cannot afford to pay the money.
Demonstration on how to properly put on and wear a face mask
Therefore, the community members said that they would try their best to ensure that they make and wear face masks to avoid being arrested and also to avoid contracting the coronavirus.
We continue to stay in touch with this community as the pandemic progresses. We want to ensure their water point remains functional and their community stays informed about the virus.
Social distancing check
Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.
August, 2018: Mwituwa Community Project Complete
Mwituwa Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Shikunyi Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of water thanks to your donation. The spring is protected from contamination, five sanitation platforms have been provided for the community, and training has been done on sanitation and hygiene.
We worked closely with our contact person Mr. Peter Odinga to plan a hygiene and sanitation training in Mwituwa Community. It was a chilly, cloudy morning on our way to teach but by the time we got there, the sun had come out. There were 15 community members there, only one of which was a man. We anticipated many more people, but there was an unexpected funeral that morning. We are accustomed to there not being many men since they traditionally view women as most responsible for getting water and hygiene-related chores done.
Wait for me, I'm just a little late!
We covered several topics including leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; the spread of disease and prevention. We also covered water treatment methods, personal care like handwashing, environmental hygiene, hygiene promotion, and many other things.
We talked a lot about water pollution. Community members were educated on what water pollution means, the elements that make water unsafe for human consumption, and the effects of consuming water that is polluted. They were able to learn ways to stop water pollution, like constructing latrines away from water sources, carrying water in covered containers, and not sitting on water containers while waiting their turn!
Women were so invested in this topic, wanting to learn why, despite their hardest efforts, children were falling sick.
People have already started building their own versions of the leaky tins we introduced, which are used to wash hands with a conservative amount of water.
Mrs. Selfah Onyango standing by the leaky tin she put up outside her latrine.
"With the training we received, we will be able to take care of our spring because now we have learned about things that make our spring get dirty or even run dry," said Mrs. Selfah Onyango.
"This information will see this spring serve several generations to come."
All five sanitation platforms have been installed and make wonderful, easy to clean latrine floors. These five families are happy about this milestone of having a private latrine of their own and are optimistic that people will no longer leave waste outdoors. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.
Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, fencing poles and gravel. Accommodations and meals were provided for the artisan, too.
The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of polyethylene, wire mesh and concrete. After the base had been set, both wing walls and the headwall were set in place using brickwork. The discharge pipe was fixed low in place through the headwall to direct the water from the reservoir to the drawing area.
As the wing walls and headwall cured, the stairs were set and ceramic tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. This protects the concrete from the erosive force of the falling water and beautifies the spring. The process of plastering the headwall and wing walls on both sides reinforces the brickwork and prevents water from the reservoir from seeping through the walls and allows pressure to build in the collection box to push water up through the discharge pipe.
The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination. The concrete dried over the course of two weeks.
Shikunyi Spring was a total success despite the challenges that came with heavy rains. The artisans were rained on but they endured. The community members were very supportive and provided any help we asked for.
The young children could not hide their excitement and would just sit around watching our artisan work.
We were left in laughter when two girls ran home to bring jerrycans to get water simply because they had seen some flowing from the discharge pipe. The water was muddied since construction was underway, so one of the local community members named Martin asked them to stop and wait a little longer. Indeed, the project is a dream come true for this community.
"We and our children are safe now because we used to share this water even with the animals! We would get different diseases," said Jane Osundwa.
"So far it's still like a dream. I never imagined that there could come a day when we could have this kind of clean water to use in our homes."