This project is part of Bridge Water Project's program in Western Kenya. What follows is direct from them:
Bulanda community is situated in a rural setting of western Kenya whose main economic activity is subsistence agriculture. The only cash crop is sugarcane but due to the high incidence of poverty in the community, farming practices are poor which results in low returns. All community members belong to the Luhya tribe hence very cohesive. Majority of the community members are youth and children. Most households own semi-permanent houses with earthen floors. The community is underserved with essential services, particularly access to quality water supply and sanitation facilities. The community benefited from a hand dug borehole from Kenya Finland Company in the year 1982. The borehole was installed with a NIRA pump. The borehole is perennial hence reliable across all the seasons and it ceased functioning in 2014 due to a breakdown of the pump. The community management committee in charge of the borehole attempted to revive it unsuccessfully. It is against this backdrop that the management committee appealed to Bridge Water Project to intervene by rehabilitating the borehole.
CURRENT WATER SOURCE
The community currently accesses water from a protected spring. The spring is located at least 3km away from the proposed borehole site which was centrally located to serve the community equitably. During the rainy season, the spring gets contaminated due to storm water. No treatment is applied to the water at the spring. Due to the poor protection of the current water source some individuals water their livestock at the spring, contaminating it even further. A few homesteads practice rainwater harvesting but their storage reservoirs are of no adequate capacity. Rain water can only be harvested during the wet season. The high demand of water in the community often results in congestion and time delays at the current water source.
HYGIENE AND SANITATION
The community is underserved in matters of hygiene and sanitation. Due to the high incidence of poverty in the community, most latrines and bath shelters are makeshifts. Most households have no access to improved pit latrines though the usage is above 90%. In some instances, several households share a single pit latrine. At the time of assessment, no single household had a hand washing station within 10m from a latrine. Hand washing was mainly done before eating and not during other critical moments like after visiting the latrine, before preparing meals and before feeding the children. Hand washing with soap or ash was rare. Most people urinated in the open. Most households collected water in containers ranging from 3-20 litres with narrow openings though without lids. The same containers for collecting water were utilized for storage. Few households applied point of use treatment technologies particularly chlorine in the form of water guard and filtration using life straw before using. Most households had dish racks in place but storage of the clean utensils was poor since they often got dusty. A majority of the households secure their solid wastes using pits, hence no integrated waste management plan. Most people walked on their bare feet hence vulnerable to poor hygiene and sanitation conditions.
ASSESSING THE NEED
The incidence of enteric diseases, particularly typhoid and diarrhea, are high in the community. Most households reported having cases (particularly children under five) of diarrhea in the last two weeks during assessment. Community members have never received training in hygiene and sanitation. The role of hand washing as a measure of improving health through hygiene is not clearly understood by the community members. A lot of time is wasted especially by the female children who fetch water for their households. Vulnerable people, particularly the aged, find it difficult accessing the water from the current water source. The poor hygiene and sanitation attitudes often result in the resulting makeshift nature of sanitation facilities in the community. The poorly protected current source adds onto the burden of diseases in the community. The proposed borehole rehab offers a viable alternative to the current source. Once rehabilitated, there will be equitable access to the clean, affordable and reliable water supply by all community members.
THE TARGET POPULATION
The proposed borehole used to serve approximately 30 households. A typical household size in Bulanda community is 6 people. The population growth rate in the community and the entire sub-county remains high above the national average. It is projected that the number of people accessing water at the borehole will increase once rehabilitated.
COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
The borehole had a management committee in place at the time of assessment. The management committee did not have a bank account. The committee had no crucial records of the borehole including minutes of meetings and incidents/maintenance reports. The committee was representative in terms of gender and distribution of the various users.
8TH - 10 April HYGIENE AND SANITATION TRAINING
Bulanda community is comprised of peasant farmers who practice small-scale farming. Most of the crops grown in the area include maize, beans, vegetables, and sugarcane. Women in this community play a major role in ensuring that the hygiene and sanitation condition of the family is good. On the other hand, men are concerned with provision of food for their families.
Basing on these facts, both women and men attended the hygiene and sanitation training, which took place right at the water point. During the training, important elements of hygiene and sanitation were dealt with in consideration with issues that paused challenges to the community.
During the training, the community members were trained on the following aspects;
- Always safely dispose feces and other wastes: to ensure this is done, the community members were trained to;
- Have young children always use a potty, washable diapers or disposable diapers.
- Always dispose of the feces in a sanitary latrine or toilet.
- Always wash the potty or washable diapers with soap and ensure that the wastewater from washing ends up in a sanitary facility.
- Consistently put disposable diapers in covered garbage containers that are part of a solid waste disposal system that keeps the diapers out of the household and community environment.
- Wash hands with soap or ash at critical times:
Washing hands is an important aspect of good hygiene and therefore the community members were trained to observe it through the following behaviors;
- Always use correct hand washing techniques. i.e. Rub at least three times, especially fingers; use a cleansing agent; use dripping or running water if possible; air dry.
- Always wash at critical moments, i.e. after going to the bathroom, contacting feces, and before eating, feeding, or cooking.
- Prepare and store food safely:
The community members were trained to;
- Always peel or wash fresh food before eating.
- Always heat or reheat cooked foods at a high temperature shortly before eating.
- Wash food preparation surface with soap and water.
- Never consume animal products that have been improperly prepared for consumption.
- Keep flies off food.
- Always consume safe water:
This practice required the community members to observe essential behaviors like;
- Treat all water used for drinking and cooking by chlorination, filtration or boiling to reduce pathogens.
- Always cover water-storage containers or use narrow neck containers.
- Extract water from a tap or with a clean utensil such as dipper.
- Place containers where young children cannot get into it.
- Always use different (clean) vessel to transfer water for drinking.
- Prevent anyone from putting his/her hands into the drinking water vessel, especially children.
13TH – 17TH April PAD CONSTRUCTION
The bridge water project construction team mobilized to the site as part of the community members were also helping BWP staff where necessary and in many capacities. Even though it was raining heavily, the workers had to ensure that the work was well done and completed. The community members stretched their helping hand where needed and provided food for the workers. The work was well done and the pad was left to cure for four days.
20TH – 24TH April PUMP INSTALLATION AND HANDING OVER
The service team mobilized to Bulanda community for pump installation. The community members had already mobilized to the site to see the project first hand and finally receive the well.
The pump installation process was done successfully without any challenges. Once the process was over, the well was handed over to the community members who were excited and happy. The rehabilitation of the well was a reason for their happiness since more problems that come as a result of drinking dirty water had come to an end. In addition, women of this community had been relieved from walking long distances searching for water. The existence of the rehabilitated well is anticipated to bring a positive impact on the hygiene and sanitation condition of this community and improve on health of the community members.