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
Most living in Shiamala Community rely on "hand to mouth," which means that they have to work extra hard just to put enough food on the table by the end of the day.
Many men work as "boda boda" drivers, taxiing people back and forth on their motorbikes. They sometimes sleep for only two hours a day in order to wait at the bus stops in front of night clubs to carry partiers back home. "Apart from working during the day, I also work at night because fares shoot up after 9PM and keep on increasing," said one. "I have paid school fees for my daughter because of working at night." It's a risky job though, because some drivers have been killed for their motorbikes.
Other community members engage in agriculture and small scale business selling vegetables and other goods. People here only rest when they sit down to eat or attend church.
Children go to school early in the morning, and return home late in the afternoon to help with chores and study.
David Ashiona Spring is as old as seventy years. It serves at least 30 households where children and women are for fetching water with jerrycans and other plastic containers. They use small containers such as jugs or tins to fill up the larger jerrycans.
The spring is open to contamination by animals and children who drop garbage and waste near or in the water. Susan Musotsi said they walk long distances looking for alternative drinking water, while John Okello - a Ugandan resident of Shiamala Village - said that his friends have complained of diarrhea after they drink the spring's water. Violet Atango also mentioned that the water problem worsens during the dry season.
Due to the messy conditions around the spring, people complain of malaria as a result of mosquito bites received when fetching water.
David Ashiona, the landowner, says "It is not only risky to send children to the spring in the evening, but it is also dangerous to allow them to fetch water alone, more so for the girls. The bushes around this spring can easily be used as a hideout for people who want to take advantage of girls and to harass them sexually."
Not to mention that though the spring's water is contaminated, lines are unbearably long as women fetch water to do household chores.
Many people in Shiamala Community do not have latrines of their own, comfortably practicing open defecation in the bushes around their homes. Others have simple pit latrines that they share with some of the neighbors. The available latrines are dirty and full of flies that are attracted by the smell. When Mr. Ernest was told about the sanitation platforms, he put his name forward promptly, saying that his next step of action is to start digging the pit and to gather the clean sand and bricks so that the chance does not bypass him.
Hand-washing doesn't even enter the mind here; there is nowhere to wash hands after using latrines or before cooking.
Violet Atsango said, "We dispose of rubbish everywhere, and more so in the kitchen gardens." Mr. David Ashiona said, "We still lag behind on matters of health because most of the residents of Shiamala Village believe in open defecation as a way of response to the call of nature. Apart from the water that we need, we also need knowledge and change of attitude among our people who seemingly are still living in the darkness of tradition and culture."
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.