A normal day in Ejinja begins very early in the morning around 6am. Many of the men get straight to doing casual work like making bricks or motorbike taxiing. During the rainy season, they'll sometimes be delayed as they escort their children to school, for the way is dark and overgrown.
The women wake up to prepare their children for school, fetch water from the spring, and do general cleaning of the compound before gardening. Laziness isn't glimpsed in this community; everyone is busy doing something.
We started working with Ejinja Community through one of our school projects. We were talking with students about where they get their water when they're home, and one of them led us here.
Community members living in Ejinja rely on Anekha Spring to provide all of their water. The water bubbles to the surface, so they've placed a metal pipe there to make it easier to fill a container. Since the water behind the pipe isn't protected, it is polluted by the rain washing over contaminants like fertilizer, feces, and other types of waste.
"For a long time, we have had water problems. During the rainy season, we cannot get water, for it is usually too muddy and with a lot of sand which is not suitable for consumption," Mrs. Timinah Andega said.
"Due to this problem, most of our children have had problems with diarrhea, making it difficult for them to go to school. The elderly also cannot do development work like farming, for after getting the water without being treated many complain of stomachaches. Our health situation is very bad."
Waterborne diseases are all common here.
While the majority of households have pit latrines, there's still a handful who don't. Those without their own most often share one with their neighbor. Most of these are made of mud.
There are no handwashing stations, but a great number of families are using other tools like clotheslines and dish racks.
What we can do about it:
Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least two days. This training will ensure participants are no longer ignorant 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 open defecation and its dangers, as well as having and using a pit latrine.
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.
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 (edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.