This project is a part of our shared program with Bridge Water Project. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).
Emutsiliba is a community that has mixed levels of people economically with different levels of education. Community members came together and sought help from a well wisher who sponsored and drilled a well in the center of the community in the year 2010 with the aim of providing access to clean and sufficient water.
As is often present where there is a shortage of clean water, outbreaks of water borne diseases like typhoid and diarrhea are also a major problem that needs to be eradicated.
The presence of the water system in the community brought advancements in terms of good hygiene and sanitation, and also farming. However, the well began having mechanical issues, requiring special attention from a technician who could resolve the problems. Instead the community members engaged untrained local people to repair the water system. The local people who were hired were not able to repair the well and a technician was never called. With the well in disrepair, the community, not knowing what else to do or who to call, left the well broken. Eventually it was vandalized and stolen.
Lack of proper management for the water system is another reason why the well was not sustained. Without the well, community members, especially women, are forced to walk a long distance (3km) to fetch water from a stream in a neighboring community.
CURRENT WATER SOURCE
The community depends on a stream, which is situated 3km away in a neighboring community. The stream is seasonal and is easily contaminated by the waste materials, which are carried by rain water since the stream is situated on the lower side of a hill.
The stream does not provide adequate water for the population and therefore there has been a wave of conflicts between the communities regarding who should have access to the water first.
During rainy seasons, the color of water is turbid due to impurities. According to our baseline interviews, the water collected from this stream is not being treated at the household level.
There are approximately 30 households in the village, each containing 5 to 7 family members. There is also a Full Gospel church, which holds a maximum number of 65 Christian believers.
HYGIENE & SANITATION
A large percentage of people in this community are diagnosed with typhoid and diarrheal diseases. This is the result of drinking untreated water and eating dirty food. Women in this community do not have knowledge on proper food preparation and handling, and water storage.
Men, on the other hand, have no knowledge on how to keep good sanitation standards in their homes. For example, not many are aware of the need to clear bushes, dig dumping sites, construct dish racks, and collect litter in their home compounds.
Most community members seem to be ignorant about the aspects of good hygiene and sanitation. Therefore there is a need for sanitation trainings, leading to behavioral changes. This will include proper practices for food preparation and handling, water storage, prevention of diarrheal diseases, and good personal hygiene.
ASSESSING THE NEED
To overcome the problem of outbreaks of water borne diseases and to reduce the distance traveled in search of clean and adequate water, the community needs this project in order to have safe water for drinking, washing, farming and other related purposes.
The community members will be the immediate beneficiaries of this project as well as the Full Gospel Church, which holds conferences at least every month
Women will have relief from walking long distances now that water will be available right in the community.
The community members have agreed to come together and choose among themselves people who will form a strong water committee that shall be in charge of the operation and maintenance of the water system once it is rehabilitated. BWP will help facilitate this before the implementation of the project.
SANITATION AND HYGIENE TRAINING
People from this community are often diagnosed with typhoid and diarrheal diseases. This is a result of drinking untreated water and eating dirty food.
To help the community practice good hygiene and sanitation, a thorough training was conducted for men and women. A baseline survey that was carried out earlier revealed that most community members were unconcerned about practicing better of hygiene and sanitation.
Various topics were dealt with so as to address the problems of waterborne diseases like typhoid and diarrhea. The topics included:
Use and maintenance of all the latrines in the community
The community was encouraged to clean the latrines regularly to avoid flies and a bad odor, and to maintain a clear path to the latrine.
The community members were encouraged to use local materials like ash to clear the smell.
Proper hand washing
Hands should be washed after visiting latrines and before and after eating. In order to facilitate this, the community must ensure the availability of hand washing facilities, soap, and water close to the latrines.
Good personal hygiene
The community members were encouraged to clean their clothes and bedding regularly and bathe every day.
Maintaining cleanness of the compound and the houses
During the training, men agreed to take on the task of keeping their compounds clean by clearing all the bushes around the home. Women took the responsibility of keeping their houses clean. Both were encouraged to take responsibility for the health and hygiene of their children.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE WELL PAD
After the hygiene and sanitation team facilitated the training, the Bridge Water Project service team traveled to the community for the construction of the well pad.
The women and men of this community were excited to see their well rehabilitated. Women helped the workmen in fetching water which was used for construction and prepared meals for them. The men helped in transporting local materials like stones and sand to the site.
The men begun the work by hacking the old parches of the concrete slab. This took approximately two hours. Fresh concrete was applied and thorough cement work done. The well pad was then left to cure.
The well pad is expected to cure after three to four days.
PUMP INSTALLATION AND HANDING OVER
After the well pad had cured, the service teams mobilized to the site for pump installation and handing over. As we have seen in this community, men and women were present at the site ready to see how their long awaited dream of having an access to clean water would come true. Women were busy in the kitchen preparing meals which were contributed by every house hold in the community as men helped the service team with the installation of the pump.
Immediately after the pump installation was complete, the community members did not hesitate to ask us to hand over the rehab well to them. Women sang songs of joy as a sign of happiness. In their songs, which were sung in the Luhya language, they declared that never again would they look back. That means never going back to the old sources which caused the outbreaks of water borne diseases as well as wasting time.
The community, through their water committee, promised to keep vigil on the water source to ensure that all is done for proper maintenance and operation.
The rehabilitated well is anticipated to play a big role in addressing the problems of the outbreak of the waterborne diseases like typhoid and cholera.
THANKS TO THE WATER PROJECT!!