Ndalusia Spring is located in Musango Village of Kakamega County.
With this being a rural community, its 120 people wake early in the morning with the aim of tackling farm work. The women prepare children for school and get breakfast ready for the family. During this time, the men milk the cows and prepare grass for them to feed.
The children then leave for school while the parents remain to finalize home chores before heading to the farm.
One of the chores that women do in the morning before going to the farm is fetching water. Young men and children also help the elderly fetch water.
Ndalusia Spring is found at the farm of Mama Eldah Chiteli, just a short distance from the town center. One can access Musango Village by both car and motorbike. The road Kakamega to Makunga is paved to Makunga shopping center. At this center, one takes to the murram road that leads to Musango Village. A small path leads downstream from Chiteli's compound to the spring.
The unprotected spring serves many people who walk a short time before getting to the unprotected spring. The paths that the people take to the spring are overgrown and have potholes, making the journey difficult for the elderly to fetch water.
One goes to the spring with either a jug, a bowl or any small container that he or she will use to scoop water from the springs water source that has been dug out. This is then poured into the jerrycan or bucket to be carried home. It is an open source, which leaves it prone to contamination and gets even worse during the rainy season as runoff from farms drains into the water.
The people of Musango, especially the women, have a hard time taking care of their children due to the fact that they often fall sick from drinking the water. They spend their hard earned money on medication to treat the waterborne illnesses. This robs them off their time that would have been used doing other productive activities.
"I can’t even mention all the problems we have had as a result of using this water. We have had diarrhea and typhoid," said Mrs. Eldah Chiteli.
Musango is highly vegetated with trees growing and the farms full of sugarcane that is grown for commercial purposes. The area is rural with a peaceful environment as you get deeper into the village. The houses are a mixture of permanent and temporary. Some are iron-roofed while others are thatched.
Few families meet over lunch. Many will have tea that was served for breakfast as lunch. On days set as market days, the women might leave the farms early so that they can visit the market and buy some house commodities. The men will go selling and buying cows on Saturdays. In the evening the children and women are at home doing house chores while the men can be found at the nearest shopping center catching up on different topics like politics, soccer and farming.
What we can do:
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. Handwashing 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.