Report Update: Field Officer Jacklyne has been making constant visits to Handidi in preparation for training and spring protection. This last visit, she made a surprising discovery. The landowner of Mwangu Spring took a shortcut and attempted to build a spring protection system for himself. Jacklyne reports that the results of his efforts are not up to our standard, and so the people of Handidi have come forward with an alternative spring. Once the owner of Mwangu Spring is open to greater cooperation, we will consider rebuilding his spring protection.
A normal day in Handidi Village is quite similar to the neighboring communities that practice sugarcane farming. Men wake up early in the morning, milk the cows, and then go to the sugarcane farm.
Women are left with the responsibility of preparing the children to go to school and then embark to carry out house chores that begins with going to the spring to fetch water.
They travel a short distance to the unprotected Mwangu Spring. Community members have reported having contracted waterborne diseases from the water due to the fact that it is open to contamination.
"Community members in this village have suffered as a result of consuming dirty and unsafe water from this spring," Mr. Newton, a local farmer, said.
People scoop the water from the source to fill their plastic containers.
One of the women we found at the spring was Mrs. Sylvia Nakhumicha.
She married young and her husband died after 12 years of marriage. She acquired a new title "widow" and her 3 children were baptized as" fatherless."
The death of sole breadwinner for the family left her confused and disillusioned. Hunger does is unforgiving for a widow. A class two drop out, from a poor background with no resources, what options were at her disposal?
Mrs. Nakhumicha had to come up with a way to provide for her children.
She decided to fetch water for people, wash clothes for them, and perform any chore that could earn her a living. Her major source of income was fetching water from Mwangu spring for 10 KSH ($0.10) per jerrycan.
Whenever it rained her day was doomed. The rains make the path to the stream too muddy and the water too dirty to collect. So, when it rains there was no money for her. That meant no food for her children.
When she heard the plan to protect the spring, she went into prayers for the project to be implemented faster. She will be able to get clean water whether it rains or not and she will also be able to access the spring with ease.
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 (edited for clarity) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.