Apr 27, 2021

Project Report

Accessing water is difficult for a vast majority
Accessing water is difficult for a vast majority

Dear Donors,

This is an evidenced-based impact update on the Fathers and Kids Camping Project that supports clean water and sanitation to three schools in Ulutya, Kavwea and Mutwamaki communities in Machakos County, Kenya. We are excited to share that we have completed the first cycle of pre-and-post impact surveys and in this report, we will share real insights in the social benefits of providing safe water, quantifying how it has transformed lives.

Baseline Survey Results

In June 2020, we completed the baseline survey in Ulutya, Kavwea and Mutwamaki communities and found that water collection time rounds up to 57 minutes per day per collection, and it has to be repeated at least twice a day to fulfil each households water needs. More importantly, 76% of community women reported feeling unsafe fetching water and 67% found the available water sources very difficult to access compared to only 42% of men. Notably, the three communities also reported a high rate of water-borne illnesses. On average community members visit the local clinic 3.25 times per year to treat water related illnesses, paying 1,323 Ksh per visit ($12.44). (A 20L jerry can is sold for 2.5 Ksh, so each avoided visit is the equivalent of 529 jerry cans). With regard to water quality, the three communities reported high dissatisfaction levels (47.6%) and described the available water as murky (16.7%) and very murky (44.4%).

Post-Impact Survey Results:

After officially handing over the solar-powered water kiosks to each of the communities in September 2020, we followed up with post-intervention/post-impact surveys to understand and quantify the social impact of clean water flowing through our kiosks. We are excited to share that the community women’s water walks have been reduced by 65% (from 57 minutes to 20 minutes per collection). With each of these kiosks installed on school premises, in the heart of each community, 92% women report feeling safer accessing water from the Maji kiosk and 84% believe it is easier to access water through the Maji kiosk. In addition, 93% of the respondents feel their health has improved because of clean water and health clinic visits have declined. Three nurses from community clinics were also interviewed, and all three claim they: “Have seen great improvement/ Some improvement / I have seen an improvement” in overall health and a drop in water-borne related cases, even though they found it hard to quantify this number. In addition, Teachers from the three primary schools indicate that the health of their pupils has significantly improved (75%) with 25% stating minor health improvements.

Finally, a large majority (76%) believe that the price being charged for water is ‘fair’ and Project Maji is deemed highly trustworthy (Strongly trustworthy – 52.6% & Trustworthy – 47.4%) to handle the water revenue professionally for future repairs and maintenance of the kiosk. These indicators can safely be interpreted to reflect a general willingness to pay for water, and hence, the long-run self-sustainability and longevity of each of these kiosks.

Thank you for transforming lives with clean water

Thank you for your continued support in making safe water a reality at Ulutya, Kavwea and Mutwamaki communities. Having learnt about the tangible impact you have helped us create, we are hoping you will continue to support our work in these and other Maji communities. 

High dissatisfaction with the quality of water
High dissatisfaction with the quality of water
Available water described as 'Murky' & 'Very Murky
Available water described as 'Murky' & 'Very Murky
Trust on Project Maji
Trust on Project Maji
Health Improvement
Health Improvement
Safety
Safety
Easy access to water
Easy access to water
Water price is considered 'fair'
Water price is considered 'fair'
Mar 16, 2021

As promised, Maji Buckets are reaching those in need

Community elder engaging with WASH poster
Community elder engaging with WASH poster

Dear Friends,

Thank you for supporting Project Maji’s COVID-19 Handwashing with Soap Trainings Project. We are excited to share that our uniquely designed zero-touch handwashing stations - the Maji Buckets – have now reached the end-users.

Maji Buckets reaching those in need

The buckets have now reached those in need as we will soon be concluding the distribution of Maji Buckets across rural Ghana reaching a total of 90 communities and 75,000 people. To reach this level of impact, we partnered for executing with the Volta River Authority (60 communities) and implemented in 20 Project Maji communities as well. African Water Corridor accepted another 50 handwashing stations, reaching 10 communities in the northern part of Ghana.

The beneficiary communities we have reached, have applauded the introduction of the Maji bucket as a simple yet effective tool for protection against the virus. This is what a community elder from Konaboe Community shared with us:

"The Maji Bucket is definitely better because you don’t have to touch the tap to use it. It’s good because otherwise, someone else will come and touch the same tap after washing their hands. We were also told that majority of the virus is transferred through our hands. So how would you see what you are picking up. Using the foot operated bucket is better. This one will protect us better from the virus." -  62 year old - community elder

The communities’ trust in Maji Bucket as an effective virus prevention tool is an important seal of approval on our COVID-19 response. One that reflects that we have succeeded in altering hygiene habits effectively shielding rural communities from the virus.

Project Maji handwashing trainings

Through it all we have remained focused on the heightened need for hand hygiene awareness in the communities we serve. In addition to Maji Bucket and soap distribution, we have delivered COVID-specific hygiene trainings aimed at altering hand hygiene practices. Developed with a participatory approach to encourage beneficiary engagement, we use colourful visual aids customized for varying age groups. Importantly, we have adopted a capacity building approach in light of the social distancing restrictions. Typically, each training cohort includes 10 household heads who are expected to pass on their learnings to their respective family members, empowering them to keep up hand hygiene and fight off life-threatening germs, including COVID-19 virus particles.

Recap March 2020 – March 2021

About a year ago when COVID-19 hit the African continent, Project Maji launched this project as part of the emergency response seeking funds to roll out handwashing trainings and hygiene essentials i.e., clean water and soap to shield vulnerable rural communities in Ghana. We knew we were successfully altering community hygiene practices when we received requests for communal handwashing stations to facilitate the practice at community level. But, having actioned this request we were confronted with the very real threat of the potentially infected taps becoming a source of contagion. Next, our engineers designed a simple foot-operated handwashing station called the Maji Bucket, eliminating the need for touch and effectively curbing the risk of contagion.

Fast forward to Global Handwashing Day in October 2020, we took this project to the next level by participating in the viral #Sweat4Soap campaign. We were floored by the traction gained by this campaign as runners around the globe helped us crush our targets. We had set out to fundraise for 150 buckets but ended up raising funds for a total of 450 Maji buckets to be produced and distributed among rural communities.

What’s Next?

There is no doubt that we have made extraordinary progress in delivering hand hygiene awareness and essentials for those in need. However, this is hardly the time to stop as a deadlier new wave of the Corona virus looms over the African continent. We need continued support from changemakers like you to prevent catastrophic loss of life given the poor health infrastructure in the region.

The entire Project Maji Team, and more importantly, the communities we serve are deeply grateful for your support!

Little girl washes her hands at a Maji Bucket
Little girl washes her hands at a Maji Bucket
Community chief demonstrates handwashing
Community chief demonstrates handwashing
Handwashing training in progress
Handwashing training in progress
Jan 19, 2021

Project Report

Maji Bucket in action
Maji Bucket in action

Dear Donors,

 

A happy new year from your friends at Project Maji!

 

We are writing to share the progress we have made in Ghana over the last quarter. Recognizing our responsibility as a safe water enterprise, we have pivoted our operations to shield vulnerable communities from COVID-19. This has culminated in a handwashing campaign that not only includes delivering hand hygiene trainings but also the distribution of soap and handwashing stations in vulnerable communities. In addition, the past quarter has seen us innovate and scale up for a much bigger impact. Under the patronage of IFRC and Ghana Red Cross, we have designed, developed and implemented a smart solar standpipe solution. The standpipes have been designed to enhance safe water access for communities where arduous water walks are a reality despite communal water sources. Below you find an overview of the impact you have helped us create in this unusual year.

 

Our COVID-19 Response

When the pandemic struck, our field activities came to a sudden halt. It was no longer possible or safe to scout for new communities, monitor ongoing installation work or conduct maintenance visits. Yet, we knew we could not stand still. We worked behind the scenes to design our COVID-19 response, developing COVID-specific handwashing trainings, fundraising and building partnerships for a greater reach. Till date, we have reached thousands of people with handwashing trainings and soap distribution drives. We have also developed the Maji Bucket - a foot-operated handwashing station, that eliminates the need for touch and curbs the spread of the virus. The distribution of Maji Buckets is in full swing and we anticipate reaching 75,000 Ghanaians with the safe handwashing stations, bars of soap and handwashing trainings. You can read more about our COVID-19 response on our website.

 

Smart Solar Standpipes

The latest feather on our cap is the uniquely designed smart solar standpipes. This solution has been developed to cut down water collection time for communities that face long water walks despite a communal water source. For the standpipes, water can be sourced from either a borewell or a river and pumped into an elevated tank after undergoing the necessary filtration. The safe water is fed to the standpipes by gravity, creating a rural water hub and spoke system. As a result, continuing to follow our core ethos, we can reach those families that are currently being forgotten, leaving no one behind.

Interestingly, the unique standpipe design supports fetching water from three independent taps, two at the average height that fills buckets/pans on the floor, and one at a height of 2.5 metres (approx.) to allow women to collect water directly into a head pan by standing under the spout. They no longer have to struggle to lift the heavy water pans from the floor to their heads, easing their water collection burden.

Our first three standpipes are installed in Ghana in partnership with Ghana Red Cross, who have applauded Project Maji’s efforts to provide affordable and sustainable solutions to scale up rural water access. With continued support from IFRC and Ghana Red Cross, we will install 30 more standpipes in the West African country in the coming six months in marginalised, water-poor villages, investing in their health and prosperity.

We, at Project Maji, are grateful for your unrelenting support in these uncertain times. Thank you for all you do!

Child washes her hand with the help of Maji Bucket
Child washes her hand with the help of Maji Bucket
Community children engage with handwashing poster
Community children engage with handwashing poster
Foot-operated Maji Bucket
Foot-operated Maji Bucket
Women conveniently draw water from standpipe
Women conveniently draw water from standpipe

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