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
For Mkunzulu Community, a normal day starts by getting up early at 6am to work on the farm. Many people in this community engage in small scale dairy farming, poultry keeping, cash crop farming such as tea, sugarcane, and bananas, and subsistence farming with vegetables and cereals of all kinds. Most crops are stored for a family's own use, while any leftovers can be sold in the local market. Though the income from these crops sales is low, the community members adjust their budgets so as to meet their familys' daily needs.
Village Elder Shadrack Muuchi reached out to us when he heard that we're an organization helping communities protecting springs. He traveled to Shoso Mwoga Spring and asked them for our contact information. From there, he filled out an application and invited us to his own village. With that visit, we were able to confirm their need for water and better hygiene and sanitation.
This location borders two local Luhiya sub-tribes: the Maragoli and Tiriki, both who have lived in a peaceful coexistence, using water from this unprotected spring for a long period of time.
This spring is called Museywa (named after the landowners who live nearby), and serves 156 people from 18 different households. This spring is open to many different sources of contamination, particularly during the rainy season when rainwater introduces extra dirt, farming chemicals, and feces into the water.
People use this dirty water for all of their needs, including drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Containers are dunked directly under the water until full. After drinking water from Museywa, community members suffer from waterborne diseases.
If a household can afford it, they supplement this dirty spring water with rainwater collected in plastic barrels placed outside. This collection of rainwater can help cut down on the trips made to Museywa Spring.
Sine many of the locals are low earners, efforts made to protect this spring on their own did not bear any fruit; they were only able to collect stones, bricks and ballast from households, but they couldn't afford to get cement or hire an artisan.
Over 75% of households in Mkunzulu Community have pit latrines. Those who haven't been able to build their own share with their neighbors. The latrines we visited are mostly made of mud walls and log floors. A rag or iron sheet is normally hung in the doorway for privacy. The log floors are the biggest issue here, since they are very difficult to clean. And the wetter they get, the faster they rot. It is not unheard of for a latrine user to fall through the floor to injury or even death.
The majority of homes also have helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines to dry their belongings safely off the ground. However, as seen in some of the pictures, many utensils and clothes are still being left on the ground. And unfortunately, none of these families have a dedicated place to wash their hands.
Shadrack Muuchi is the leader of Mkunzulu and is well aware of their biggest challenges. "Cases of diseases such as malaria, coughs and stomachaches are very rampant. Though people have mosquito nets, we still suffer from these diseases." He and his neighbors welcome the idea of an enlightening training that will each them how to avoid these problems.
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 latrine floors.
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.