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).
Shianda K Community lies on a flat land that is covered with green vegetation. Most homesteads have tall green trees in the compound as well on their farms. The roads that lead to the community are poor, especially during rainy seasons. The community has its own culture and values that they believe. This culture is meant to act as a unifying factor between both the young and old, women and men. The community members are Christians.
Farming is the main source of income in this community. Most homes have maize and sugarcane plots. In addition, the community members raise indigenous farm animals like cattle, goats, and poultry.
Every gender in this community has a role to play. Men have the task of ensuring security for their families as well as providing for their basic needs. On the other hand, women have the responsibility of managing household activities such as cooking, fetching water, and cleaning. Children have the responsibility of looking after the cattle and helping their parents when needed.
The Current Source
This hand-dug well was started in 2007. There is no pump on this well, whether it was never installed or was stolen. To access the water below, locals had to break through the well pad and use a bucket lowered with a rope. Not only does the broken well pad let in dirty surface runoff, but the bucket itself is rarely cleaned and further contaminates the well. It is obvious this well is contaminated because large debris such as wood and leaves are visible inside. By installing a hand pump, community members will have access to clean and safe water.
Community members are also in need of training, for the containers they use to fetch and store water with are rarely cleaned, nor do all of them have covers. Furthermore, people are not aware that they should treat water before drinking. Drinking this contaminated water has resulted in complications such as diarrhea and typhoid.
Looking at the situation of this community and the persistent calls received from community members, this project was considered worthwhile. The community agrees to provide a 20% contribution towards the project. This includes food for the workmen and security for the organization's equipment.
Over 75% of households have and use pit latrines. Latrines are cleaned on daily basis, but the holes are not covered. Most of the community members do not have a superstructure built around their latrines. This makes it 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 75% 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 open fields.
Community members of Shianda K 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.
There is great hope for the success of this project since a lot of local government is involved. The assistant chief and the village elders from this area have promised to help mobilize community members, especially for hygiene and sanitation training. These leaders will also take part in the water user committee.
This project is located in a place where the roads are difficult to traverse, especially during rainy seasons. But with the zeal and commitment of our team united with the community members and their leaders, we hope to overcome all challenges and help the community access safe water.
The assistant chief helped a lot with this aspect of the project. He made sure that there was a representative of each area of the Shianda community, as well as volunteered his office space for classes. He especially made sure that each member of the existing water user committee was present. The assistant chief's office was a great place for training because it is well-known and convenient for all those who participated.
Not only was attendance exceptional, but the participation of both men and women was too. The men and women openly discussed their perspectives and experiences concerning hygiene and sanitation in their own homes; what works and what doesn't. Through these group discussions, participants were able to help each other grow as well as receive feedback from the training facilitator. The facilitator used these group discussions, pictures and posters, and demonstrations to teach the following topics:
- Water treatment and its storage
- Proper hand-washing
- Food preparation and its storage
- Prevention of diarrheal diseases
- General household hygiene
Demonstrations were useful particularly in the area of hand-washing; the group first observed the facilitator and then each individual had a chance to practice in front of the others.
After sharing this experience together, the community is unified and ready to defeat the challenges that they've experienced for years. Kwambiha farmer Dorice Ndakala said, "The training of proper hygiene and sanitation practices has really opened our eyes since we have been the victims of diarrhea and typhoid. With the safe and clean water system in place, we will overcome the diseases."
The rehabilitation of this Shianda K hand-dug well began on February 9th and presented no challenges to the work team. The team started by removing the old, cracked well pad that was allowing contamination. This was done with hammers, mallets, and chisels. Once this pad was demolished, the men could then mix sand and cement to plaster the new well pad. This process was meticulously done, layer by layer, to ensure that the new surface would be both smooth and strong. During these few days of work, locals provided food for the men.
The people of Shianda community are very happy and excited to have their water source rehabilitated. They have promised to own and maintain their well, unlike the first time when they referred to it as the Kenya Finland Company well. The water committee will be especially responsible for the care and maintenance of this rehabilitated well.
Now that this is finished, community members look forward to not only a healthier future, but a brighter one. "The use of bucket and a rope is no more. We hope to enjoy the pump services in whereby it will reduce our time for fetching water," says housewife Rose Andarua. The time she saves will be used for more economical activities. Does getting a glass of water ever keep you from your work? Of course your answer is no!
We thank you for empowering Rose by giving her back this human right.