The people of Elukuto Village wake up very early in the morning to prepare their children for school and then work on their farms. The community keeps dairy cattle, grows maize, sugarcane, groundnuts, cassava, yams, bananas and various vegetables. Sugarcane growing is predominant in this area because the crop is sold to local sugar factories.
The community is special because through farming and keeping cattle, they afford to educate their children. It is a hardworking community that not only works hard but works smart. Making bricks is another economic activity that is vibrant here, owing to an amazing amount of construction going on in the area.
Isa Spring is in Elukuto Village, serving at least 100 different households. Its water is used for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and irrigation during the driest months. Unfortunately, the spring's water is open to pollution. The water is prone to contamination after it rains, with the rainwater washing dirt, feces, fertilizers, and countless other things into the water.
Hundreds come with their 20-liter jerrycans, filling them up from the water flowing over an iron sheet. This allows them to fill their jerrycans without dunking them under the water.
Community members suffer from waterborne illnesses such as typhoid and amoeba due to drinking water from Isa Spring. Speaking with Mr. Isa Matala, we learned that his wife had typhoid just the week before.
Quite a large number of homes still need a pit latrine of their own. Most families share one pit latrine among themselves. These latrines are made from mud with wooden floors. Plastic bags, sacks or iron sheets are often hung in the doorway for privacy.
Hand-washing after using the latrine is not a habit here, either.
Mr. Isa Matala said, "The idea of protecting Isa Spring will solve our water problems. Moreover, the sanitation facilities and health promotion campaign through trainings will enlighten the community to take matters related to community health as a priority."
Here’s what we plan to do about it.
You can donate directly to this project to help us provide a reliable source of clean, safe water and equip families with important hygiene and sanitation information. We hope you’ll join us.
Hygiene and Sanitation Training
Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least three 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 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. Since open defecation was encountered here, this is at the top of our list of things to address. Waste always needs to be disposed of properly, or else it will be spread by flies or rainwater.
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.
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 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 female community members by giving them more time and efforts to engage and invest in income-generating activities.