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 people of Furave Community are peasant farmers who grow sugarcane as their main cash crop. They also garden and grow maize, beans, and other crops. Both men and women are considered breadwinners, even though the men are considered the family leaders.
Furave Community values agriculture as their main source of income. Most of the community members are Christian and attend Furave Friends Church. Most of the children access their education from the neighboring public schools and at Furave Academy of Furave Friends Church.
The Current Source
Furave Friends Church was started in 1970 with the aim of being a center for both education and spiritual nourishment activities. Through the efforts of this church, an early child education (E.C.D) program was started, and even more children from the community benefited from the program. In the years 1973 to 1984, the church started a horticultural activity in which crops like spinach, carrots and tomatoes were grown. This program was meant to train the community members on the importance of crop-growing in order to lead them out of poverty.
To boost this program, the church approached the Kenya Finland Company who came in and dug a well within church grounds in 1984. But:
"Much was not done by the company in terms of training the community and church on operations and maintenance of the water system. Conflicts came from all over; the community members were against the element of paying some fee for the service, claiming that water is a free gift. Due to the situation, the Nira pump was stolen," said local farmer Mr. Moses Salamba.
Since then, the church and community have been accessing water from the same well using a bucket tied to rope. Because of this, there has been recontamination of the well. Mr. Salamba expressed his fear about the continued outbreak of waterborne diseases which have resulted in many children and elderly dying in hospital beds.
"As a lesson learned from the past experience, our church and the community at large will come up with a strategy to provide security to the rehab project. We will do this so as to ensure that the project serve us and the generations to come. I pray that the donor organization comes in and saves our situation and that they won’t change their mind," Mr. Salamba promised.
Over 75% of households have pit latrines. Most of these latrines are semi-permanent structures with doors built from local materials like mud, banana leaves, wood, and grasses, but the pit holes are not covered. This allows bad odor and flies to leave the facility and contaminate the surrounding environment. No hand-washing stations or tippy taps were seen in the area. The majority of families dispose of their garbage in large, open spaces or compost pits behind their compounds.
After the initial visit, it was obvious that community members have positive attitudes about hygiene and sanitation. This is because the church has been educating the community of the importance of good hygiene and sanitation, which enables every person to be the best they can be.
Two more hand-washing stations will be installed in the form of “tippy taps.” Tippy taps are containers tied to ropes, which tip to pour water for hand-washing. Community members will learn how and when to use these stations during hygiene and sanitation training.
Community members, teachers, and students will be trained for three days on hygiene and sanitation topics. Some of these topics are:
– Proper water storage and effective treatment
– Food preparation, handling, and storage
– Forming an effective water user committee
The water user committee will fund repairs, maintain, and keep the well site secure.
The training facilitator plans to use the PHAST (Participatory Health and Sanitation Training) method to teach the above topics and more, and will return in July to hold a refresher training, check the new well, and assess if the community has made any progress.
Project Results: Training
Hygiene and sanitation training took place for three hours each day. Attendance included both men and women who actively participated in each session. The facilitator made sure to cover each of the planned topics, and gave time for questions at each stage. The community appreciated the lessons they learned and saw their importance, promising to change and put in place these new health practices (hand-washing, water treatment, etc.). The two hand-washing stations used during training were left for the community's own use.
By the end of training, the community had also formed a water user committee in charge of security, management, and maintenance of the rehabilitated well.
Repairs on the Furave Friends Church well began on April 19th. The team started by removing the old cracked well pad with chisels and mallets. When demolition was complete, they could mix concrete, sand, water, and cement to plaster a new well pad. This was then left to cure for three days before installing a new Afridev pump.
There were no challenges encountered during the rehabilitation process. All the while, the community provided meals for the construction team and made sure they had everything else they needed. Since the community was so involved every step of the way, they should feel a huge sense of responsibility for the great improvements in Furave Friends Community.
It was amazing to have the community members take on roles of leadership and ownership with the implementation team. The great turnout for hygiene and sanitation training was also a memorable part of this water project: It was very interactive with both men and women discussing issues of poor hygiene and sanitation affecting their community.
On concluding rehabilitation of the well, the community joyfully came together to accept the gift of safe, clean water.