Emabungo Village is located in a heavily populated area near Maseno University. People here do anything they can to make ends meet. For example, many men have added on to their families' homes so that they can rent rooms to university students.
Thus, there are both local families and university students who rely on water from Bondeni Spring. The water here is visibly contaminated as it flows through areas of heavy traffic; so much so that we met 17-year-old Alfred Anuko who said he would never imagine drinking the water without filtering out the chunks of waste first! There's no question why families and students constantly suffer from waterborne diseases and stomachaches.
With your support, we can now begin providing the tools and skills this community needs. Most importantly, Bondeni Spring is being transformed into a protected source of clean drinking water.
Welcome to the Community
Emabungo Community is home to 350 people from about 30 different households. The majority of adult residents survive on small scale farming, small businesses, and casual labor. Supplementary income pours in from Maseno University's students who choose to rent rooms in local households. Emabungo Community is located on the Kisumu-Busia highway, making it a convenient place from which to commute.
Mr. Nanjero is one of the many who have added on to their homes to accommodate students. He said, "This is a thriving business. We thank God for Maseno University that has since increased student intake beyond her capacity to cater for their residential needs." Locals are extremely conscious of how they utilize their space here. They're close to the highway in a valley, and land is scarce. The valley is thus packed with clusters of households.
Valleys are also home to natural water springs. Bondeni Spring is nearby, but is unprotected and open to contamination. Local families use the water to drink, cook, clean, and bathe.
Over ten years ago, these community members tried protecting Bondeni Spring on their own, but they lacked the technical know-how. After constructing their own system, the spring's yield decreased significantly and thus became overcrowded as people waited to fetch its water. Because of overuse, the construction wore out rapidly and began leaking at different points. "In no time, the spring users could wade into a pool of water as they fetch that same water to meet their daily needs," said Mr. Nanjero.
The users have now improvised by adding half of a container to act as a spout supported by stones. This entire catchment area is affected by storm waters that bring waste to the open spring.
After drinking its water, people suffer from constant stomachaches that are often accompanied by diarrhea. Many people like Alfred filter out the flakes, but still suffer. The cost of fuel for boiling the water is out of reach for many, and families cannot afford to take this precaution. The majority here just has to drink raw, polluted water.
Most households have at least one helpful sanitation tool, like either a dish rack or clothesline. Many people are sharing latrines because they can't dig one on their own; it is either too expensive, or the soil is too loose and the water level too high. Around a quarter of families have a hand-washing station available.
Sanitation standards are relatively high in this area, since university students are choosy when it comes to accommodations. They want their residences to be tidy and comfortable.
Mr. Nanjero told us that "Bondeni is uniquely situated in a manner that health-wise, I can say we are not scaring badly. We have not had major ill-health issues like outbreak of communicable diseases, thanks to our proximate location to Maseno Hospital. With university students in our midst, the only challenge to the attainment of good health is the shortage of clean, reliable and safe 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.
Beyond these five, even more families will be motivated to build their own latrines to safeguard the water point from fecal contamination.
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.