This project is a part of our shared program with Safe Water and Sustainable Hygiene Initiative (SAWASHI). Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).
The Mukangu community is inhabited by people from the same sub-tribe of Kabras. Being a community, the people have a set of rules and culture in which they believe in and follow. One of the community's cultural traditions dictates that women are in charge of all the household chores. For example, only the women are responsible for fetching and storing water. They are also the only ones responsible for maintaining hygiene and sanitation in their households. The Mukangu children go to a public neighboring school and are available to help very early in the morning and later in the day. On the other hand, men have responsibilities outside of their homes, such as providing food for the family.
The community members practice small-scale farming. Each household has a small farm used for growing crops like maize, beans, and sugarcane.
Through the help of local government leadership, a list of failed projects implemented by the Kenya Finland Company (KEFINCO) was provided to SAWASHI. This project was one among the long list that needs our attention. Keeping in mind all the requirements for a well to be rehabilitated, this project ended up being viable for rehabilitation. Some of the requirements include, 1) The well must have enough water in it. 2) The community must be willing to participate in the implementation of the project. 3) The community should have a strong water user committee that shall oversee the sustainability of the project.
The community is ready to provide a 20% contribution towards the implementation of the project. Their contribution includes materials like sand and bricks. The community is also expected to provide security for the organization's equipment until the project is completed, and will provide food for the SAWASHI construction team.
By rehabilitating the well, only 65% of this community will be able to access safe water. Due to the span of this community, there is a need to drill a new borehole which can serve the remaining percentage who still have to walk a long way to access this project. Mukangu Village is a great candidate for continued work.
The Current Source
In 1987, a hand-dug well was dug for the community by the Kenya Finland Company with the goal of reducing the long distances walked by women and children in search of clean water.
The community enjoyed its services until it developed mechanical problems requiring special attention from a pump specialist. On several attempts, the community tried to engage with people believed to have knowledge about pump repair. Unfortunately, this could not provide a long-lasting solution since the community could not raise the required amount of money for well repair. The situation became even harder when the spare parts for the pump could not be found in the local Kenyan market unless imported from the outside market, for instance, from Finland. Basing on the cost of repair and the failure of having a strong water user committee in place, the community had no other option than to dismantle the pump from the well pad.
Community members decided to break through the well pad and use a bucket tied on a long rope to fetch water from inside. Noticing that the water inside the hole is now contaminated, the community has asked for help installing another pump. A new pump and well pad will again seal off the water underneath, protecting it from waste and runoff. Locals are positive that drinking this bad water has resulted in a majority of the illnesses with which they have been struggling.
The only water source for this area of Mukangu is the same old, broken well. There is another hand-dug well in a different area of the village, but that well is also in need of rehabilitation, so SAWASHI will repair both (to view the other well project, click here). The bucket lowered into the well is rarely clean, and introduces more contaminates to the water. It was noticed that a dirty green residue is present in both the well bucket and the containers with which women fetch water. When a SAWASHI worker looked into the well, it was obvious that the water was contaminated by large waste particles. A survey shows that locals have been responding by boiling the dirty water, but this method has done little to reduce typhoid and diarrhea.
Families need money for food and school fees, but instead must spend what little they have on treating these disease outbreaks.
75% of households in Mukangu Village have dug pit latrines. These latrines often have three walls for privacy, but no door to cover the entrance. Nor is the pit itself covered, making it very easy for flies to enter and leave carrying dangerous waste. The flies attracted to the latrines are the same flies attracted to the kitchen.
It was observed that no households have hand-washing facilities, and no more than 50% have helpful tools like dish racks or clotheslines. Most households have no designated place to dump their family's waste, so choose to dispose of it in the surrounding banana plantations.
Our partner believes the community is aware of their need to live healthier, and will greatly benefit from hygiene and sanitation training.
Community members of Mukangu Village will be recruited to attend training for three days. On the first two days, the facilitator will focus on hygiene and sanitation practices. On the third day, the community and partner will work together to form and educate a water user committee. This committee will manage and maintain their community well. The facilitator plans to use the PHAST (participatory hygiene and sanitation training) method and group discussions to teach health topics. By the end of training, community members will realize the importance of good hygiene and sanitation and will be able to apply new practices throughout their daily routines.
Unlike other projects, the Mukangu project has inspired the participation of local government leadership. The assistant chief of this community played a big role in helping us mobilize community members. Being a community that has many local farmers, and now that it is planting season, it will be a big challenge to bring all the community members together for the purpose of hygiene and sanitation trainings.
Beyond this, unforeseen events are really affecting the implementation of the project. For instance, it is taboo in this community for one to work if there is a funeral in the neighborhood. This therefore calls for our patience as we wait until the funeral is over. The roads leading to this community are also a challenge, especially during these rainy seasons. Though the roads are tough, we anticipate to complete the project on time.
The community members converged at the assistant chief's office for training. They all agreed to meet there because it is a common, well-known location. The assistant chief was also crucial for the mobilization of training participants; he made sure that at least 15 representatives of every community in the area were present. Thus, attendance was very good, and participation was also a success. Men and women openly discussed problems and questions in regard to the hygiene and sanitation situations in their communities.
The following topics were covered during the three days:
- Proper hand-washing
- Food preparation and storage
- Water treatment and storage
- Prevention of diarrheal diseases
- General household hygiene
The facilitator encouraged group discussions through the display of pictures and posters. These illustrated both good and bad hygiene practices, and training participants were tasked with determining these. The group also had a chance to watch the facilitator demonstrate how to properly wash hands, as well as practice in front of each other.
The facilitator believes these trainings were effective, because the representative from each community complimented each other. Each person's situation was different, and they were able to share their observations and experiences of both the good and the bad. Because of these different perspectives, the facilitator believes each participant was able to learn much more than if all had been from the same community. Mr. Akhasatsiri is a farmer who attended the two days of training. He says, "This training has opened our eyes. We have lived in ignorance and overlooked the importance of good hygiene and sanitation. This has seen us become the victims of diarrhea and typhoid."
The results of this training will be assessed when WEWASAFO returns to the community for monitoring and evaluation.
Well rehabilitation work on this hand-dug well began on February 8th. The construction team took an entire day to remove the old well pad. If you like demolition work, this is exactly what they were doing! The cement was old and cracked, and thus had to be fully removed before the pad could be built again. The following two days, the team reconstructed the well pad with new materials: a composite of concrete, sand, and cement. The well pad was left to cure for three days before the pump was reinstalled.
The community kept involved in this process, making sure the work team always had food! The roads to this community are rocky and difficult to navigate. So between the difficult trip and the hard work at this well, the work teams sure did appreciate the good care this community provided.
The water user committee together with the local leadership have promised to take on full management of the rehabilitated well so that it can serve more generations to come.
As per the requests of community members, there is still a need to plan for one more water source in this area so as to reduce the distance walked by more distant community members.