Typhoid and cholera have had devastating effects on the 210 people in Ebuhayi Community. Community members told us that there is usually at least one person in every household infected with typhoid or cholera, which are both expensive to treat.
To combat this, villagers have tried to implement things they've heard will help, like handwashing stations and sturdy slab latrines. They also take great care when they fetch water to wait until the dirt and muck have settled to the bottom of the spring, leading to long lines and wait times for the people waiting for their turn to fetch water.
Florence W., a local student (pictured above at the spring), explained that fetching water after school takes her so long that she often doesn't have time to study. "Going to the spring to fetch water every day in the evening after school has been a challenge to me. [I] am forced not to study back at home, and [this] has greatly impacted negatively in my examinations."
But unfortunately, none of the measures Ebuhayo's people have taken will help while their water source is open and contaminated. On the surface of the water, green algae grows. People share the open source with wandering animals. And the fertilizer from the surrounding farmland seeps into the spring every time it rains.
It's no wonder people here try to be careful when fetching water.
"Collecting water from this spring is involving, hectic, and has led to time wastage, especially for the elderly persons like me," said Charles Makhokha (pictured above), who owns the land on which the spring flows.
A protected spring with a discharge pipe will not only solve the community members' problems with water-related illnesses, but it will save them the time of having to scoop the water so carefully. They will have more time and money to better their futures.
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.