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
A normal day in Bumavi begins early in the morning at six, with both men and women heading out to the farms to beat the afternoon heat. Most people here engage in farming sugarcane and raising dairy and poultry animals. Other common crops are bananas, vegetables, maize, and groundnuts. An adult always ensures that enough crop is harvested for their family first before surplus is sold in the local market, if there even is any. The income from these crop sales is low, but the community members squeeze their budgets to meet their daily needs.
Bumavi Village is home to 480 people from 80 different households and two different tribes.
The Maragoli and Tiriki tribes have shared Shoso Mwoga Spring since the early 1950s. Its water is used for cooking, drinking, bathing, irrigating crops and watering animals. The community members have fixed a plastic pipe at the point from which water flows so that they can more easily fill containers.
The water is visibly contaminated. Rotten leaves float around children as they walk into the water to fill their containers. The spring is also open to rainwater that washes garbage and fecal matter into the same flow that people drink from.
When delivered back home, water is separated between different barrels located in the kitchen, latrine, and sitting room. Community members complain from typhoid and constant stomachaches after drinking the water from Shoso Mwoga Spring.
Around a quarter of households still don't have their own pit latrine. Any observed were found to be constructed of wood, and cracked, muddy walls. Many of the wooden floors have rotted out and caved in, causing injuries to their users. The others who don't have their own latrine either share or use the privacy of bushes. This waste left out in the open puts the rest of the community at risk of disease.
A few hand-washing stations were observed, but none had any cleansing agents like soap or ash. However, many women had improvised dish racks and clotheslines to dry their families' belongings safely off the ground.
Since many of these people have animals to feed and crops to fertilize, any compostable garbage is used for that purpose. Other garbage is piled up for burning.
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. Bumavi community members hope to save time and resources previously wasted on medication, instead spending them on more important economic activities that can help lift their community out of poverty. We met Mr. Ambasi as he was fetching water at the spring. He told us that there have been "disease outbreaks, especially related to water. Malaria has always been a challenge, especially for women and children... We thank God that we have never lost any member of this village due to waterborne diseases; your intervention will greatly redeem us from our current status."