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).
Lutinye Community consists of people from Kenyan society's middle class; most are peasant farmers who grow sugarcane as their main cash crop and seasonal crops such as maize, beans, and other vegetables. People of this community have a certain set of beliefs and traditions which are used as a compass to guide them through harmonious and peaceful days. For instance, some of the more interesting beliefs and traditions include:
1. A father-in-law and daughter-in-law are not allowed to greet each other directly by using their hands.
2. Latrines cannot be shared between in-laws.
3. Parents are not allowed to visit nor stay in the house of their daughter or son for more than three hours.
Every family in this community has a traditional structure of a husband, wife and children. The society has set the roles for each as the following: As a husband, one is expected to provide security for his family, provide shelter, and provide food and basic needs. As a wife, one is expected to carry out all household chores such as cooking, fetching water for the family's use, and maintaining good hygiene and sanitation standards for the family. A wife must also help her husband with manual jobs like farming. The children are expected to help their parents by also participating in manual jobs like looking after livestock, collecting firewood, and fetching water.
Most of the Lutinye people are Christians who go to different churches like the Friends Church, Seventh Day Adventist (S.D.A) Church, Catholic Church, Salvation Army Church and PEFA Church. Due to the level of poverty in this community, most children go to a public primary school called Shirongo Primary School or St. Martine Secondary School.
The need in Lutinye Community was introduced by the chief who sadly passed away last year before he could see this project implemented.
The Current Source
Locals get their water from the well that needs repair. It was dug in 1987 by the Kenya Finland Company. Unfortunately, the hand-pump installed on this well was stolen far before it could benefit the community. Ever since community members can remember, they have been accessing water directly from the hole that was dug. Without a well pad and working pump, the water inside is open to contamination; contamination such as surface runoff, animal activity, and the bucket tied to a rope that is used to draw.
The women or children will bring either clay pots or 20-liter jerrycans to carry the water they draw. These containers do not have covers, and are brought back home and kept in the kitchen until more water is needed. Even though it would seem obvious that water is unfit for drinking, surveys revealed that community members do not know to treat water by boiling or chlorinating. Because of this, outbreaks of waterborne disease like typhoid and diarrhea have been reported.
Over 75% of households report to have pit latrines, but most of these lack privacy without doors. There is also a noticeable odor because the holes need to be covered. However, open defecation was not observed to be an issue in this area.
No hand-washing stations were seen, but many households have constructed dish racks and clotheslines to safely dry their belongings. Garbage is generally disposed of in surrounding banana plantations.
According to Farmer Shikuku Mwalakha, "The hygiene condition is not good in this area because most homes need more trainings on proper hygiene and sanitation." The community is ready and willing to participate in upcoming hygiene and sanitation training from which they should greatly benefit.
Two hand-washing stations will also 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 will be trained for three days using the PHAST (Participatory Health and Sanitation Training) method. Training topics include:
- Proper water handling and storage
- Latrine use and the risks of open defecation
- The steps of hand-washing
- Proper food handling, preparation, and storage
People are very excited for this project, and have promised that they will do everything in their power to maintain a renewed water source. They are forming and preparing a water user committee that will oversee well management and maintenance. There is great hope that a rehabilitated well will restore both health and time to Lutinye's people!
The training was held in the home of one of the community members neighboring the water point. The training was planned based on the specific training needs identified during the baseline study in the community. The participants were selected from each beneficiary household where at least one member from each household was to attend.
The meeting was attended by both men and women from the community. The attendance was average with most households is set to benefit being represented. There were more women than men in the training sessions. The community members actively participated in the training exercise by asking and answering questions. There was delay in arrival but the attendance improved steadily with time.
Topics covered during the training included:
- Role of the community and the development organization
- Common diseases in the community
- Causes and treatment of diarrhea
- Problem analysis
- Good and bad hygiene habit
- Disease transmission route
- Hand washing
The training sessions included role playing, group discussions, demonstrations, and opportunities to ask and answer questions. Emphasis was placed on the difference between good and bad hygiene practices, and disease transmission routes.
At the conclusion of the training, the community members set targets that they will be working to achieve. These include ensuring that all members have sanitation facilities and are fully utilized and will ensure the water point is secure and clean. The training was a success since the community members present all agreed to behavior change and set several targets for themselves.
Defina Peter, a local farming woman who attended the training, commented, "Most of us ignore good hygiene and sanitation practice. I personally used to take the hand washing process before feeding my children as a waste of time as it delayed me feeding them when hungry. I have learned today to be patience with washing hand to avoid diarrhea diseases."
The existing well had a worn out well pad. The construction process began by scrabbling of the old surface of the existing well pad leaving exposed bricks that were used previously. The cover of the shallow well was removed giving room for leveling of the broken top edges of the culvert lining. This was followed by plastering of the pad by applying a mixture of cement and sand. The finishing of the well pad was done by lining the plastered well pad with a coat cement mixed with waterproof cement. This was then left to dry for several days. The well development (flushing) was done using a compressor on site to clean the well. Test pumping of this well was conducted using a submersible pump. A constant rate test was used where pumping was done at a constant discharge over a period of time. Pump installation was done by fitting an Afridev pump base. This was followed by installing the riser main PVC pipes fitted with a cylinder at the bottom end. These were then fitted with anchor ropes and lowered into the well to the desired depth and later tied onto the steel plate on the pump head. Rods were fitted with a plunger at the bottom end and lowered, handle placed and cover fitted onto the pump head.
The community contributed sand used during the pad construction and tools used in the process. The community members prepared meals for the implementation team during the construction process. Storage space for materials, tools and equipment was provided by a community member for easy accessibility during the implementation process.
A few challenges were faced during the implementation of this project. There were delays caused by the delivery of incomplete pump parts thus forcing the work to be delayed. The weather conditions were a major challenge to the implementation team as heavy rainfall interrupted work. But with perseverance, the project is a success.
The community formed a Water User Committee that is responsible for the operations and maintenance of the project. The community will contribute a fee that is aimed at sustaining the project. Our partner will provide constant and regular monitoring to ensure the project is functional at all times and will provide technical assistance through their Operations and Maintenance team in case of breakdowns.
The community came together on the day the well was handed over. SAWASHI joined as an organization and officially commissioned the project and handed it over to the management committee to oversee its operation and maintenance. Leaders from SAWASHI gave a brief talk to the members gathered around. Representatives from the community gave a vote of thanks and expressed the community members joy.
Lutinye community has a reason to smile again after a very long time searching for safe and quality water. The community appreciates the assistance accorded to them by rehabilitating their well. They promised to commit their efforts together to ensure their water point is safe and well maintained. They are happy to have lessons of hygiene and sanitation practices that are going to improve their hygiene status. They resolved to maintain proper hygiene and sanitation to minimize the outbreak of diseases.
Thank you to all who made this project possible. Thank you for unlocking potential!