This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).
Welcome to the Community
Mwinaya Community is located in East Butsotso, Indangalasia, Lurambi of Kakamega County, Kenya.
The major economic activities here are agriculture and brick baking. Sugarcane makes up the majority of crops, since it sells for the highest price.
Community members wake up and start their days with milking the cows. Women and children collect water from the local source and bring it back home to prepare breakfast. Most of the day is then spent on the farm planting, weeding, or harvesting. Those who don't have a farm most likely bake bricks for sale.
Community members were amazed when they witnessed the great work done at Omulakha Spring in a neighboring community, which motivated them to write a letter asking for help protecting Severe Spring. After they sent this letter, they wouldn't stop calling our office to hear whether or not their request had been accepted!
There are 329 people living in Mwinaya Village, all who depend on dirty water for cooking, washing, and drinking. While Severe Spring has never stopped flowing, its waters are constantly contaminated by surface runoff mixed with farming fertilizers and feces, human and animal activity, and erosion.
Community members have suffered from waterborne diseases for decades, including cholera and typhoid. Isabella Khasandi is a 38-year-old wife and mother who has no other choice but fetch water from Severe Spring. "As a community, we have battled for so long with issues of health and sanitation, which is majorly caused by the use of contaminated water. Personally, I have used massive resources to treat diseases that are brought about by the same condition," she shared. The most common illnesses are cholera and typhoid.
No more than half of families have their own pit latrine. All of the latrines observed were dirty, dilapidated, and dangerous to the users. Because of these poor conditions, open defecation is an issue. With nowhere else to go, community members seek the privacy of bushes to relieve themselves.
The same low number of families have dedicated bathing rooms to wash in private and practice personal hygiene. There were only a few hand-washing stations, and many more households need to build helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines. Most waste is disposed on the edge of a family's property.
Children here are dirty and dressed in tatters. They visit the filthy latrines barefooted, and do not wash their hands after using them. They drink water from the unprotected spring without treating or boiling it, and thus there is a dire need here of both training and clean water.
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training
Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least three days. This training will ensure participants are no longer ignorant 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.
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.
Plans: Sanitation Platforms
On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrines.
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 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.
Plans: Spring Protection
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.
In addition, 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.