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 for the 210 residents of this community begins with heading out to their farms early at 6am. Many people in this community engage in small-scale dairy farming, raising poultry, and growing bananas. Much fruit of their labor goes to the market for sale. The earnings from the sale of these crops is not much. Yet, because this location is in a remote area, people pay a lower cost compared to those in urban areas. Their subsistence farming consists of vegetables, maize, beans and ground nuts.
Lihala Sifoto Spring located in Elukhobe/Simuli Village. It is really a pool of water at the bottom of a slope. Because of this, the spring is contaminated by surface runoff, improper waste disposal, bacteria and soil erosion. Animals are free to come and go as they please, further contaminating the water. This is their main source of water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. During the dry months, it's also used to water their crops.
The villagers dunk jugs and pans into the stagnant, muddy water and carry it to their homes where they store it in earthen pots and plastic containers of 50 to 100 liters, some with covers, some without. Sometimes water, sand and leaves are pushed into the openings of the containers and swished around to clean the inside.
Most here have suffered from waterborne diseases such as typhoid and amoebiasis - as well as malaria from the mosquito-breeding that takes place around the stagnant water hole. Very young children and the elderly are the most susceptible.
"We are blessed to have variety of food that helps us not to be victims of malnutrition," reported Beatrice Donald, a 57-year-old farmer. "Though we have (a) nearby dispensary, many people still prefer herbal medicine as many fear the injection - except when the situation is more serious - which has put many lives at high risk of dying from manageable diseases."
50 - 75% of the households here have pit latrines which are semi-permanent, made of wood floors, walls of mud, old iron sheet roofs and doors of old rags or iron sheets. They are often rickety structures that offer little privacy, and become unsafe after years of use. The wood floors cannot be easily cleaned and decay to the point of collapsing, oftentimes while in use.
Many households have dish racks and clotheslines, although most are of a rudimentary nature. Many people heap up their solid garbage and allow it to decompose and later dig up to be used as organic farm manure. None have hand-washing stations.
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. The training objectives will be to sensitize the community members to the need to maintain high standards of hygiene, to make good use of available health facilities, to have safe and sound sanitation and proper management and maintenance of the spring.
Plans: Sanitation Platforms
On the final day of training, the Elukhobe/Simuli Community will select five of its families to benefit from new latrines. The five families must prepare by sinking a pit over which the sanitation platforms will be placed.
Plans: Spring Protection
Lihila Sifoto Spring came to the attention of WEWASAFO who spoke with one of the teachers while visiting a water project at Ematsuli Primary School. We traveled to the spring, taking note of the fact that it is a permanent source of water during all seasons, even during extreme drought. He heard the commitment of the community members and decided that protecting the spring was a great investment for them.
The community will provide the local materials such as crushed rocks and gravel, clean sand, poles for fencing, unskilled labor and accommodation and food for the work team. Protecting the spring will ensure that the water is safe, adequate and secure and thus will allow the community to invest more of their time and energies in economically productive activities.
"Our spring helps us a lot, especially during dry season when everywhere people are crying for water. We are prayerful that you will bring healing to many souls that have for a very long time suffered by using contaminated water. We as a community are really happy to be part of this exercise and are looking forward to seeing this project transform the lives of the young, youth and the aged," said Beatrice Donald. "We will ensure that every member of this community is involved in every step towards achieving our goal which is having our spring protected!"