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
People in this Shikhambi/Angwete Community wake up by 6:30am when women go to fetch water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning while men go ahead of them to the farm. After women finish their domestic chores around the home, they join the men on their farms. This being the rainy season, people in Kenya are busy preparing land to plant crops for family consumption and sale. They plant maize, beans and other vegetables with the surplus being sold to help them support their families with paying school fess, food and clothing. In this community, some men own motorbikes which they use to run taxiing businesses.
The spring in this area is Daniel Inganga Spring, named after the landowner. Daniel is old now, and he says that he has been drinking water from this unprotected spring for over 60 years. He has been contracting waterborne diseases on and off for those 60 years. He also said that his neighbors suffer from amoeba and typhoid. There was absolutely no alternative but to drink this dirty water, until recently.
Isabella Spring was transformed by a project last year, giving hundreds a new source of clean water. The families living around Daniel Inganga Spring heard about this clean water source, and decided it would be better to make this long walk to the other side of their community than to continue suffering from waterborne diseases. This long walk is why women living in the Shikhambi/Angwete area have to wake up so early.
"I am now very happy because our spring will be protected soon and we shall be taking clean and safe water. We shall not be making long trips to Isabella Spring. My life will be better once the spring is protected," said Daniel.
We met Mr. Inganga and his neighbors when visiting Isabella Spring for monitoring and evaluation. We found them worn out from the long trip to Isabella Spring, but they shared it was worth it for clean water. They told us they have lots of water back home, but it was too dirty to drink. We paid them a visit and found them in dire need of a spring protection project.
Less than half of households have their own pit latrine. Those we observed are made of mud and iron sheets, but are full of waste and very dirty. Others have floors made of wooden logs suspended over the pit, posing danger to their users (especially the young and old who struggle to balance). These wooden floors also rot, and stories of victims who fall through the floor to injury or death are not uncommon.
A few homes have set up dish racks and clotheslines, but many still need to learn of their importance. There were few dedicated containers for hand-washing, proving that hand-washing is not yet an appreciated practice in this area of Shikhambi.
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training
Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least two 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
Protecting the spring will ensure that its 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.