In the center of Nsambya village sits the Nsamya Nusaff II well. It is the only water source for the 480 people who live here representing more than 80 households. Surrounding the well are a church and primary school. The well, however, is currently serving none of them because it is not functional.
There are three other hand-dug wells at the extreme ends of the village, but every one dried up, leaving the community no choice but to abandon them. The only other options for water in the area are an overcrowded protected spring in bad shape, or a highly contaminated and seasonal open water source.
Fred is a young boy living in the community. We asked him how the current water situation affects him personally.
"Before this borehole broke down, my sisters used to help me collect water, but now I have been assigned to collect water for home use because my parents feel sending girls to the spring is very risky, especially during evening hours," he said.
The lack of accessible clean water is negatively impacting the community, said the local council chair of Nsambya village. The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating this issue.
"There is still a very big gap in terms of good hygiene and sanitation practices in this area. We have been having a very big challenge, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak, which claimed many lives," he said.
"People in my village are not even able to wash their hands since getting water is a major challenge. The only borehole located within the center of the village is down, which has reduced good hygiene and sanitation practices."
Here’s what we’re going to do about it:
We are going to restore water to the broken-down borehole. Since this water point is located at the center of the village and easily accessible by the majority of people, unlike the spring and open source which are located at the far ends of the village, when this borehole is restored to its original status it will provide the community with easy access to clean and safe water. We will remove the old pump, clear out the well, reinstall a new stainless steel pump, and build a new well pad to protect the water.
This community is still lagging behind in terms of hygiene and sanitation, report our teams. Only 20% of households have latrines. It would be appropriate to promote and sensitize this community on good sanitation and hygiene practices to ensure the health of the community.
Training’s main objectives are the use of latrines and observing proper hygiene practices since these goals are inherently connected to the provision of clean water. Open defecation, water storage in unclean containers, and the absence of handwashing are all possible contaminants of a household water supply. Each participating village must achieve Open Defecation Free status (defined by 1 latrine per household) before the pump installation for a shallow hand-dug well.
This social program includes the assignment of 1 Community Development Officer (CDO) to each village. The CDO encourages each household to build an ideal homestead that includes a latrine, handwashing facility, a separate structure for animals, rubbish pit, and drying rack for dishes.
We also implement the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach with each of our village partners. This aims to improve the sanitation and hygiene practices and behaviors of a village. During these sessions, village leaders naturally emerge and push the community to realize that the current practices of individual households – particularly the practice of open defecation – are not only unhealthy but affect the entire village. CLTS facilitates a process in which community members realize the negative consequences of their current water, sanitation, and hygiene behaviors and are inspired to take action. Group interactions are frequent motivators for individual households to build latrines, use the latrines, and demand that other households do the same.
The aim is that all households own an improved latrine. Many households do not use a latrine but use the bush. Due to open defecation, feces are spread all over the village. This leads to waterborne diseases and contamination of groundwater and surface water. Our aim is that the community is able to live a healthy life free of preventable diseases. We endeavor that at the end of our presence in the community, people will have both access to sustainable, clean water and access to sanitation. We have now organized families to form digging groups for latrine construction, and empowered them with tools they will need.