This project was originally slated to be held in Munyanya Community to protect Alfonce Lukongo Spring. But after our engineers spent months dealing with drainage and crossflow issues from a nearby river, this spring was finally deemed impossible to protect. We moved our attention to a spring in the neighboring Irungu Community, so that clean water would still be within walking distance of Munyanya.
Welcome to the Community
The people living in Irungu Community wake up as early as 6am to prepare their children for school. After the children leave for school around 7am, women stay at home to finish household chores while men are involved in a variety of livelihoods like farming, hawking goods, and casual labor. Those who aren't able to earn enough through their harvest or wares must venture to the nearby town center to see if anyone could use help with construction or agricultural activities. When women are finished with fetching water and cleaning, they normally venture out to help their husbands on the farms or stay around the house tending to kitchen gardens.
This area is particularly unique for its huge rocks that mark the landscape.
At least one person from each family must travel to fetch water several times a day, because when a 20-liter jerrycan arrives home it is used up immediately. Irungu Spring is the main source of water here, but it is contaminated and endangers its users.
Water bubbles from the ground into a puddle located in an open area, land that belongs to Mr. Joshua Enima. He allows the rest of the community to draw water from Irungu Spring because there's never a lack of water, even during the dry season. But being in an open area, it is contaminated by erosion and rainwater that washes waste, feces and more dirt into the water.
Containers are dunked under the water until full, carried back home, and then used for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. After consuming this water, community members often suffer from typhoid.
Not everybody living in Irungu has a pit latrine. Those without latrines seek the privacy of bushes to relieve themselves; but even those with latrines often prefer to use the bushes. Most of the latrines here are missing doors and have rickety wooden floors!
Less than a quarter of households have helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines, and there were only a couple of hand-washing stations. Mrs. Edith Minayo told us, "We are so happy that you have come to assist us improve our sanitation facilities!"
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
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.
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. Mr. Joshua Enima calls this project "a new down," and we know he's right!