It's 6am in the morning in Luvambo and women are seen carrying a number of water containers. The most common containers are water jerrycans since the women believe that they won't spill as much water.
As they reach Tindi Water Spring, they meet a line of the early risers who beat them there. On average, it takes a person 20 minutes waiting in line. This goes on until noon when the line subsides.
The women then retreat to their farms, while others do domestic chores such as washing, cleaning, and preparing meals for their families. The majority of people own sugarcane plantations.
Tindi Spring is an open, unprotected water source that's contaminated by different things like dirt, fertilizers, and animals.
Though it's water is dirty, there aren't many alternatives to meet the drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs of these families. Community members dunk their containers under the surface until full. Since the outside of these are never cleaned, this activity also contributes to the water's low quality.
Drinking this water often results in waterborne illnesses. Some mothers make the long walk to Timbito Spring, which has been protected and yields clean water. However, it's two kilometers each way.
Less than half of the households around Tindi Spring have a pit latrine. Those that exist are made of mud walls and iron sheets. Because of this low coverage and the poor standards of existing latrines, waste disposal is a big issue here. People don't have a dedicated place to relieve themselves and instead search for a private place among the bushes.
There are a handful of households have set up water containers to be used just for handwashing, but they don't have any soap. There are a few other useful tools we observed, such as dish racks and clotheslines. It's important that all households adopt these tools to ensure they live in a clean, safe environment.
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.