Safe Water & AIDS Project (SWAP) uses an integrated entrepreneurial approach addressing a number of public health issues by working with already existing community structures. SWAP has been operating in Western Kenya since 2005 with public health programs and research contributing towards the achievement of sustainable development goals.
SWAP’s vision is to see a healthy and empowered community where everyone enjoys high quality of life.
SWAP’s mission is to provide innovative solutions for improved health and economic status of our communities
Sondu Water Enterprise is located at Sondu in Kisumu County, bordering Kericho, Nyamira and Homabay Counties in Western Kenya. The population residing in Sondu largely depend on the river source water for domestic use, which is highly turbid and contaminated. The river traverses three counties thus increasing contamination along its channel before emptying into Lake Victoria. Laboratory tests on microbiological quality have revealed that the source has high coliform count and fecal contamination.
Sondu Water Enterprise
The Safe Water Enterprise was launched in July 2016. This was a collaborative initiative between Skyjuice Foundation (Australia) and Siemens Stiftung (Germany) in partnership with SWAP. Through this intervention the surrounding community members now have access to safe water, which has significantly reduced waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid and amoeba and as such reduced morbidity and mortality especially in children under five. Besides the access to safe water, the community members are also offered health education on hygiene and safe water systems and services of a public toilet with a hand washing station which has been established for public use at the site.
During the period of reporting there was excessive rain and as a result several houses submerged under water affecting many of the neighboring communities around Sondu. Crops were destroyed affecting their food supply and livelihood of already vulnerable communities. Many families had to vacate their houses and seek accommodation in temporary established evacuation camps set up at schools and churches. SWAP supported with other stakeholders the flood response to prevent outbreaks and mitigate the impact by issuing supplies such as water treatment, hand washing stations, soaps, sanitary pads, diapers, solar lamps and food items. Some of the supplies included the jerry cans which were sold at the Sondu Water Enterprise.
The rain and flooding made communities more at risk for diarrheal illness and required affirmative action to sensitize communities on the need for safe drinking water and proper sanitation. Sales continued to increase every month as more awareness was created in the community.
KIWASH, Kenya Water Sanitation and Hygiene Project, supported the regular monitoring of the business, mainly focusing on proper record keeping and mentorship towards ownership and sustainability.
SWAP ensured that water was fit for human consumption by testing for E coli and Coliform. In all the tests the water was found free of pathogens.
Siemens supported the technical training on the usage of a pump and safety measures after a new pump was donated by Siemens and installed at the site. A training of the water operators and 9 members of the local water committee took place on the 5th of December 2020.
The training further focused on the purpose for maintaining the Sondu Water Enterprise and turning it into a sustainable community owned enterprise. Refresher training was done on how to do the Social Marketing, which Marketing tools to use and record keeping. There was group work done for the local committee to come up with a sustainability plan.
A Professor from the University of Illinois together with SWAP visited the site to learn lessons and explore the scaling up of similar activities at other sites.
The local committee supported the cleaning of the environment and removed the dumping site of garbage which was located next to the Sondu Water Enterprise and which was a health hazard.
The public latrine was recognized as a good source of revenue, since no public toilets were found in the market place. Hand washing was promoted and encouraged after use of the latrine. Jerry cans were also sold at the enterprise to increase revenue.
Calendars were given out in January 2020 to reward loyal and good costumers as incentive to continue use the Sondu Water Enterprise. The calendar further displayed photo’s and hygiene messages and were used as marketing tool.
The local water committee was in January 2020 put on a probation period with minimal external support to see if they can manage and own the Sondu Water Enterprise and if they are able to meet all the costs to ensure ongoing water sales. The plan is to monitor this for three months and review monthly to deliberate on any challenges they meet or any support they feel is still essential for them to operate independently.
- SWAP will support the renewal of the business permit which is paid once per year.
- Review of sales versus expenses to monitor sustainability
- Employment of one additional part time operator to help pumping the water at the river.
- Invest in some more jerry cans which are sold at the enterprise
- Create place for seedlings and a tree nursery projects as additional business.
- Awareness creation at hotels, schools, churches, weddings and funerals
- The local water committee members plan to invest in savings and loans to boost their income and invest in other individual business plans.
- Plans to procure a cooler box to store cold water for drinking especially during the hot season.
- Local Water Committee to ensure transparency and report track revenue and expenses and share this with the other members on weekly basis
- Following review and evaluation of first quarter, handing over ceremony to local water committee with the presence of community leaders and WASH partners