This project is a part of our shared program with Bridge Water Project. Our team is pleased to directly share the report below (edited for clarity, as needed).
Mwembeni community well was drilled in 1982 with the help of the Kenya Finland company. The main aim of drilling the well in this community was to help the community members, especially women and children, have access to clean and safe water and also to improve their hygiene and sanitation conditions.
From the very start, the community members enjoyed the services of the well and were able to do other related projects like farming (planting of tomatoes and arrow root). With the project's income, the community members collected money which in turn was used to pay school fees for the orphans and disabled children.
As a result of an ineffective water committee, the functionality of the well eventually came to an end. The water committee in place did not properly manage the well in terms of money contributions and accounting, poor security, and continued conflicts among themselves.
Therefore, the well served the community until 1995 and thereafter was vandalized and its parts stolen by the unknown persons.
Since then, the community members have been forced to go back and get water from sources that are not reliable during dry seasons, some of which are contaminated. This has resulted in outbreaks of water borne diseases, especially typhoid in elderly persons and diarrhea in children age five to ten.
The farming projects are no longer viable for this community due to a lack of sustainable water, hence the poverty level in the community has increased.
CURRENT WATER SOURCE
The community has a few water sources that are not reliable since most of them are seasonal and contaminated by waste and human activities. Women and children are therefore forced to walk a distance of 5km to get quality water from a protected spring that belongs to another community.
The protected spring has become a source of conflict between these two communities especially during dry seasons where each one competes to fetch water for the family.
The community has a population of 50 households averaging 6 to 10 members per household. The total population of the community is approximately 500 people, with women exceeding men in number.
HYGIENE & SANITATION
Every home in this community has at least tried to observe the aspects of hygiene and sanitation. Every home has a latrine made of local materials like wood, mud and grass. To an extent, some families have used polythene paper materials as a wall. The latrine holes are not covered and also not cleaned daily.
There are no hand washing stations kept next to the latrines and they do not practice proper hand washing.
Some families have clotheslines while others do not. Clothes are seen dried on the ground during day time.
Even though the community members understand the importance of water treatment before use, none of them practice it.
The general sanitation of the homes in this community is not good since most homes do not have compost pits, dish racks, or bathrooms.
There is need to conduct a training on behavior change to this community so that more good hygiene and sanitation practices are put into action.
ASSESSING THE NEED
A safe and sustainable source of water is greatly needed in this community mainly for the purpose of improving hygiene, sanitation, and farming. With this in place, there will be fewer cases of waterborne diseases, a decrease in the poverty level, and minimal chances of conflict between the two communities.
The members of both communities (Mwembeni and the neighboring community with a protected spring) will be the beneficiaries of this project, especially the women and children who spend much of the day walking long distances in search of clean water.
Since the initial water committee was unable to successfully oversee the operation and maintenance of the failed project, the community members have the obligation, with the help of Bridge Water Project staff, to form a new water committee that will fully stand in to ensure the sustainability of the rehabilitated water system.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROJECT
HYGIENE & SANITATION TRAINING
As a result of the baseline survey carried out in this community, it was observed that not all the aspects of good hygiene and sanitation are practiced by most of individual members. Every home has a latrine made of local materials like wood, mud and grass. The latrine hole are not covered and also not cleaned on daily basis.
With the latrine structures in place, the community members were trained on how to clean the latrines and keep the hole covered.
To address the problem of hand washing, the community members were trained on the importance of washing hands and the critical moments for this task, like after using the latrine and before handling food. Through the water committee, the community must ensure the availability of hand washing facilities, soap, and water close to the latrines.
During the training, men agreed to take the task of keeping their compounds clean by clearing all the bushes around the home. The women took on the responsibility of keeping their houses clean. Both parents 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 mobilized to the community for the construction of the well pad.
Women helped the service men in fetching water, which was used for construction, and prepared meals for them. Men helped in transporting local materials like stones and sand to the site.
The service men hackled the old parches of the concrete slab. This took approximately 3 to 4 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 for three to four days.
PUMP INSTALLATION AND HANDING OVER
After the well pad had cured, the service teams mobilized to the site for flushing, pump installation, and handing over. Men and women from this community availed themselves to the site to witness and give any support needed by the service team.
The community members organized meals and served the service team. The pump installation process was well completed and thereafter the handing over was done.
All of the community members, especially women, were excited by the fact that clean and adequate water was available within their reach.
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!!