Shaban Opuka Spring is a hub of activity in Eshikhugula. The 560 people living here have noticed people from other villages coming to Shaban Opuka Spring, too. That is because Shaban Opuka Spring has a ton of water that outlasts the dry months of the year.
"During the dry seasons, all other people come to draw water from the unprotected spring. This brings congestion at the spring. In addition, the containers that the people use to draw water from the unprotected spring contribute to contamination," said Mr. Musa Opuka, a village elder from the community.
The issue here is that the spring is entirely open to contamination. It gets particularly dirty after it rains. Animals are free to come and go when they're thirsty, too. Nonetheless, people fill their containers with this dirty water and use it for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and other domestic uses.
People get waterborne illnesses that force them to miss working on their farms and providing for their families. A lot of money is spent on typhoid treatment and visits to the clinic. Being ill or having an ill family member keeps people from making a steady income through farming and brick-making.
What we can do:
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.
"Indeed this is a God-given opportunity and the idea of protecting the spring will solve our water problems. Moreover, the sanitation facilities and health promotion campaign through trainings will enable, enlighten, and capacity-build the community to take matters related to community health as a priority," explained Mrs. Antilati Makwaku.
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.
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.
Quite a number of homes still do have pit latrines, so neighbors are forced to share.
On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should most 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.