147 in Kalenda A Community depend on Sanya Spring as their closest and only year-round water source. In Kalenda A, most people work as maize farmers and a few are small business owners that run salons and barbershops. Most of the community's maize is sold to the nearby St. Marygoret Kalenda Girls' Secondary School for their daily meal program. The roads leading in and out of the village are muddy and almost impassable during this rainy season.
Unprotected Sanya Spring is riddled with problems. The spring is open to contamination from several sources. As an open pool of water, runoff from the rains carry farm chemicals, residues from animal waste, and soil directly into the water. Inside the spring, the water is full of frogs, algae, insects, and rotting leaves at the bottom.
The water has a milky color to it, which gets worse after it rains. Because people must submerge their containers into the pool to fetch water, they are also adding any dirt and bacteria from their jerrycans and hands into the water.
"I have to sieve the water so as to get rid of the algae and frogs, then spend money to buy water treatment," said 32-year-old Peris Sanya, who runs a hair salon out of her home.
But water treatment has costs most families cannot afford. Boiling all water before use requires women and girls to spend a lot of extra time collecting and using firewood and watching the water in the kitchen. Market-purchased treatments are often out of reach financially for families. As a result, most people still drink the spring water untreated.
Community members here reported frequent cases of diarrhea and stomachaches after drinking the spring water. There is a high rate of typhoid across the village as well.
Community members have to fetch water either very early in the morning or late in the evening due to the constant congestion since it is not easy or quick to fetch water. Time lost at the spring affects their daily schedule as people lose time for their other activities and can fail to meet their daily targets at work or on the farm.
Accessibility is another major issue at the spring. The place is rocky and slick with mud. Community members placed some stones at the water's edge to balance on while fetching water, but these are slippery. Sometimes people's toes and shoes dip into the water by accident. Children are most at risk of falling into the open water source while trying to pull up their filled containers, though adults sometimes fall, too.
"When fetching water, we slide on the slippery rocks which have caused wounds on me," said Branclyine, a young primary school-aged girl.
What We Can Do:
Protecting the spring will help provide access to cleaner and safer water and reduce the time people have to spend to fetch it. 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 a task predominantly carried out by women and young girls. Protecting the spring and offering training and support will, therefore, help empower the female members of the community by freeing up more of their time and energy to engage and invest in income-generating activities and their education.
Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More
To hold trainings during the pandemic, we work closely with both community leaders and the local government to approve small groups to attend training. We ask community leaders to invite a select yet representative group of people to attend training who will then act as ambassadors to the rest of the community to share what they learn. We also communicate our expectations of physical distancing and wearing masks for all who choose to attend.
The training will focus on improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits in this community. We will also have a dedicated session on COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention best practices.
With the community’s input, we will identify key leverage points where they can alter their practices at the personal, household, and community levels to affect change. This training will help to ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance to make the most of their water point as soon as water is flowing.
Our team of facilitators will use a variety of methods to train community members. Some of these methods include participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation, asset-based community development, group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring.
One of the most important issues 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 is consumed. We and the community strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve living standards here, which will help to unlock the potential for these community members to live better, healthier lives.
We will then conduct a small series of follow-up trainings before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.
Training will result in the formation of a water user committee, elected by their peers, that will oversee the operations and maintenance of the spring. The committee 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 channels. The fence will keep out destructive animals and unwanted waste, and the drainage will keep the area’s mosquito population at a minimum.