Spring Protection Keeps the Waters Flowing In Mundulu Village
Violet Mukhavali, 43 years, a mother of five children living in Mundulu village, is a beneficiary of the Witunya spring which was protected in 2012 by SIMAVI through CABDA in Kakamega East WASH project.‘Getting clean water was unheard of in our community. I had to wake up very early in the morning in search of water and this made me worried and scared,’ she explained. Violet and the rest of her community members had a difficult time when it came to fetching water. They used cups and bowls in fetching water from a flowing river. The river was used by both animals and humans. Early risers were privileged to get ‘clean ‘water but those who came later after the animals had been taken to the river to drink water they found it muddy. Diarrheal diseases were inevitable, and many members of her community had been treated for the same diseases for a number of times but the diseases kept on reoccurring.
During the drought season, they walked long distances since their river was seasonal. Getting a stream with clean water then, was hard and if you found one, there was a long queue and you could wait for more than two hours for you to get water. People from another community in search of water in a nearby community could wait for the members of that community to fetch water first before they could be given a chance to fetch.
Violet could wake up so early in search of water this affected her domestic activities. She had to ensure the children reached school early, but this was not possible because she wasted time in the long queue at the stream. Sometimes when the water was muddy, she had to wait for it to settle before fetching it. Today she is happy with her schedule; which entails her taking her children to school in time, completing her household chores and later in the day she goes for water at the spring. Violet is excited to point out that the spring has helped the whole community even during the dry season it does not dry up.
‘’Am not just happy, but am satisfied with the project and its outcome. Whoever came up with this idea and all those who were involved in making our dream come true, may the good Lord bless them,’’ she remarks.
Since the introduction of the WASH project in Kakamega East, tremendous changes have occurred to the people of Mundulu village. The protection of Witunya spring has made it easy for them to access clean water. The community no longer wastes time queuing up for water but use it to do more profitable duties in their homes. Diarrheal disease and absenteeism in schools have reduced and the community now enjoys the health benefits of clean water. Hygiene has tremendously improved and all are striving to maintain it.
Mukhonje Primary School Saved from the Public Health Blacklist
When CABDA conducted their baseline survey in 2015 at Ileho Mukhonje Primary School located in Kakamega East. The school was needed a facelift in water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. The school had challenges. They had four latrines that were used for a population of 444 pupils, with a stance rate of 111 pupils per stance. Diarrheal and absenteeism were common in the school.
Pupils were absent for over two weeks and this led to poor performance. Eventually it also led to pupils dropping out of school. Due to these challenges the school did not experience any new enrollment for both teachers and pupils. Most of the teacher available where paid by the parent and those posted to the school by government seldom reported.
Children fetched water from a river 500meters away and this often affected time management at the school. This water was also of poor quality (muddy) due to the cattle activity at the river. Ileho Mukhonje Primary School was dirty and hygiene was not observed. Soon the Ministry of Public Health threatened to close down the school, if hygiene and sanitation was not improved.
After the construction of the shallow well, immense changes occurred at the school. Ileho Mukhonje Primary School gained access to clean water. Time management improved and diarrheal diseases reduced, with cases dropping down from 10 to 2 pupils affected per term. Additionally two blocks of gender sensitive pit latrines (8 stances) were constructed reducing the pupil stance ratio. This resulted in improved pupil’s school attendance. Besides this, the facilities attracted more pupils and the enrollment has grown from 444 to 537. The pupil’s performance also improved from a mean score of 273 to 278.
Household Connection Solves Water Problem for Elderly Cornelius
At Seventy Three (73) Cornelius Odera, a widower living in Okuleu village, Teso North had to bear the burden of fetching water. Most of his children were independently living far from home and Cornelius needed water to use for his domestic needs, with no one to assist him.
When his wife was still alive, she woke up early in search of water or bought from water vendors, who often took advantage of the water scarcity in the area and charged highly. The little water available shared among family members and livestock. The situation was even worst when drought hit. The few rivers in the area dried up forcing them to walk for miles in search of water. Scarcity of water more often led to diarrheal diseases. This was because they never cared about the hygiene of the little water they got and in desperation consumed it.
The introduction of the Teso North Project by SIMAVI in partnership with CABDA, brought light to Cornelius’ home at a time he had no one to support him, since his wife was long gone and children were no longer at home. The project entailed drilling at Agong’et Primary School where a borehole was sank. From this borehole 53 household connections and 4 water kiosks in the community were attained. Cornelius was not left behind in this venture, he got a household connection. The presence of tapped water in his home brought relief not only to him but also to the villagers around him.
The establishment of the project reduced the diarrheal diseases in the village and helped save the community member’s time as well as money. Today Cornelius has time to engage in agriculture and manage his household better, rather than spend a lot of time searching for water. In this project the community was provided with loans that have boosted their incomes, enabling them to pay for the water services. “ I have received two loans so far that have helped me to run my cereal business. From the profit I repay the loan and pay for the water. I also use some of the money to meet my household needs,” Cornelius explains. He also notes that his neighbors are also able to fetch water at his place for free.