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 typical day in the village of Mudete begins around 6am with the children heading off to school and the adults heading out to work. Most community members work at growing tea leaves which they sell to the Mudete Tea Factory.
We were directed to Mudete Community while doing a project at Evojo Secondary School. They told us many of their students live in Mudete, where they don’t have access to clean water. Clean water at school doesn’t mean much if these students have to drink dirty water at home.
1,500 community members rely on Wadimbu Spring to meet all of their water needs. (Editor's Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people. This community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)
Wadimbu Spring is a permanent source of water that is high-yielding and serves a large number of people. We met Mrs. Sarah Dimbu who told us, "Wandibu Spring has been here since I was born, and I was born 68 years ago! The spring was existing and has helped us… as this is the only water source available here."
The children of Evojo Primary School School also fetch the water for each school day from this spring. However, the water contains bacteria, bugs, leaves, chemicals and other contaminants washed into the water during rains. And there are so many people who need to fill their jerrycans by dunking them into the water that a lot of time is wasted waiting in line … for dirty water to drink, wash with and cook with.
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 often made of old bedsheets or old iron sheeting. They are often rickety structures that offer little privacy and can become unsafe after years of use. The wood floors cannot easily be cleaned and can decay to the point of collapsing, oftentimes while in use. The fear of falling through a latrine causes many potential users to seek privacy amongst bushes or behind buildings.
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 in their kitchen gardens. None of the households have hand-washing stations. This is about to change!
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training
Community members will participate in a hygiene and sanitation training with the aim of learning all the health hazards and economic burdens caused by open defecation and other dangerous habits.
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 objectives will entail aspects of primary health care such as water pollution and hygiene, environmental hygiene, family planning and personal hygiene; spring leadership and management of water points; social enterprise and record keeping among others issues that will crop up during the training session. The people here are eager to learn!
Plans: Sanitation Platforms
On the final day of training, the Mudete's community members will select five of their families to benefit from new latrines. The five families must prepare by sinking a 2’ x 3’ pit over which the sanitation platforms will be placed. When that is in place, they will build a superstructure over it according to their means. Selecting five of the neediest families will help decrease open defecation, protecting the entire community from this dangerous contamination.
Plans: Spring Protection
The community stands prepared to provide the locally available materials such as crushed rocks and gravel, clean sand, poles for fencing, unskilled labour and accommodation and food for the work team.
Protecting the spring will ensure that the water is safe, adequate and secure and allow the community to invest more of their time and energies in economically productive activities as well as family relationships. These families are eager to step into healthier and happier lives!