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).
Welcome to the Community
Timbito is home to a middle class community that practices small-scale farming. Looking around, you can notice that the community is surrounded by sugarcane plantations, since sugarcane sells very well to local factories. You'll also notice that most of the homes here are made of thatched grass. The local farmers also grow beans, maize, sorghum, and other kinds of vegetables in their own gardens. Besides tending to their crops, farmers tend to and raise livestock. Timbito Community has an approximate population of 400 people from 40 different households.
Most of the young people in this community are jobless, which greatly stymies economic growth for Timbito. Many families are religious and attend different denominations such as Catholic, Pentecostal Assemblies of God, Seventh Day Adventist, Salvation Army and Friends Church Quakers. The Timbito people strongly believe in the importance of their traditions and culture, which they use as a tool to guide them live in harmony and peace. The women in this community have a strong role in groups like One Acre Fund, which gives loans to farmers who return the loan with a small interest.
On receipt of Timbito Community's application sent by the area's assistant chief, we scheduled an initial visit to assess their specific needs.
There is a hand-dug well in Timbito Community, but it is currently unprotected. The well was installed by Kenya Finland Company in 1978, but the pump has since been removed. The pump was vandalized soon after its installation. The simplest "solution" was to remove the well's cover to access the water inside! The well has culvert lining on its walls, but we could not discern the actual depth because of heavy silt and litter at the bottom. The well pad is also very worn out around the edges. In fact, the well was out of use and covered with a concrete slab at the time of our visit.
There is another hand-dug well created by locals who bring their 20-liter jerrycans to fetch water. The top of the well is only fortified by sticks and branches! This is practically a simple hole in the ground. Since there's no pump, a bucket must be lowered down into the water by a rope. When the bucket isn't in use, it sits on the ground besides the well. Lowering this dirty bucket further contaminates the well's water. This open hole allows surface runoff and litter to wash inside. Families are not aware of water treatment methods, and thus drink this water the way it is. After drinking, community members complain of typhoid and diarrhea running rampant through their homes. At the time of our visit, many community members were being treated for typhoid.
Women or children are often forced to search for unprotected springs which are open to even more contamination than this hand-dug well. These springs are also quite a journey; women report that the closest spring is three kilometers away. Local teacher and mother Mary Benjamin, pictured under the "See Photos & Video" tab shared, "I have been suffering from typhoid diseases for several years. This is because of taking the contaminated water from unprotected well."
Over 50% of households have a pit latrine made of grass and mud. It is also common to attach a sheet of metal or piece of cloth to function as a door. Even less homes have a dedicated room for personal hygiene; for activities such as bathing and brushing teeth. No hand-washing stations were observed in any location.
The farmers and their families pile up garbage and compost waste alongside their plantations. There is a little knowledge of good hygiene and sanitation, manifest in the fact that about half of families use helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines.
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training
Community members will be trained for two days on applicable hygiene and sanitation practices. The facilitator will use the PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Training) method to teach about topics like:
- Proper water storage and treatment
- Proper food preparation and storage
- Waste disposal
- How disease is spread and how to block its transmission
Training will result in the formation of a water user committee which will oversee, manage, and maintain the rehabilitated well.
Plans: Hand-Washing Stations
Two hand-washing stations are scheduled for delivery by the time well rehabilitation is complete. Training participants will be taught the steps to effective hand-washing, and of the importance of using a cleaning agent such as soap or ash. Water user committee members will also check that there is water inside the containers on a daily basis.
Plans: Well Rehabilitation
Before rehabilitation construction can even begin, there's a lot of cleaning to be done! The inside of the well is so full of garbage that someone will have to be lowered to clear it out. Once we clean the inside of the well, we will be able to discern the water's depth, though the community is sure that the well provides adequate water throughout all seasons. It's our job to make sure it becomes safe and clean water! The rehabilitation process will include material collection, pad reconstruction, flushing, test pumping, water quality testing, water treatment, and then pump installation.
Thank You for noticing Timbito Community's need for a water, sanitation and hygiene project that will unlock great potential!