Elwasambi village features flat terrain and semi-permanent houses. Farming is the most common livelihood of people who live here. 280 people who live in this area depend on unprotected Kadi Spring as their year-round water source.
Because the spring is unprotected, the water is open to all sources of contamination and is not safe for drinking. Despite this, community members have no other water source as reliable as Kadi Spring to turn to.
At one point the community tried improving the spring by adding some masonry and a plastic tarp in an effort to protect the spring. Without all of the proper materials or technical expertise needed for full spring protection, however, the community was unable to secure their water source. Today, community members access the water using two long banana stalks leading the water from the ground into their containers.
"The run-off contaminates the water making it unsafe for drinking. A child can urinate in the water," said Hilda Anyanga, citing a common concern among adults who depend on this water source.
Runoff particularly dirties the spring water, adding dirt and farm chemicals into the water. Drinking contained water leads to waterborne diseases, particularly typhoid, community members report. Typhoid is expensive to treat, draining families of their financial resources as they pay for medication. When sick, children have to stay home from school, and adults miss out on key productive time at work, at home, and on the farm.
"I feel tired cleaning the container - always with some dirt, always contaminating the water," said young Medina.
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. Therefore, protecting the spring and offering training and support will 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 training 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 which 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 to alter their practices at the personal, household, and community levels to affect change. This training will help ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance to make the most of their water points as soon as the 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 handling, storing, and treating water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it is consumed. The community and we 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 training 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 spring's operations and maintenance. 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.