Globally, 780 million people lack access to safe water and it's approximated that 41% of Kenyans lack access to basic water services. Rural areas have vulnerable communities affected by lack of clean water and sanitation. If there is no water to wash hands, the infection finds home easily and people die since the health system cannot handle this. There is a massive sanitation gap.
From research done, it is evident that the provision of safe water, proper sanitation, and hygienic conditions are key in preventing human-to-human transmission of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets or contact. Contact transmission occurs when one touches a contaminated surface and touches either their nose, mouth or eyes, indirect transmission occurs when the virus is transferred from one surface to another through contaminated hands. Due to these modes of transmission, hand hygiene is very important in preventing the spread of the virus. The above statistics and facts were the inspiration behind Maji Mashinani. Maji Mashinani is submitted under the Environment and Energy theme.
What it does
How it works is that a borehole site is located, then the borehole is drilled and a solar pumping system is installed. The solar water pumping system pumps water to storage tanks and the water goes through treatment processes to ensure it’s clean and safe water. The water is then distributed to communities through piping, water bowsers, and water kiosks.
How we built it
There are a number of steps vital to see the project through. They are, but not limited to:
1.Community awareness and involvement. The community is involved in all the phases of the project, from conception and in building and implementation, and after successful project completion, the community is also involved in the control and monitoring of the project.
Identification of existing and new water sources. There is a need to identify well, rivers, springs, and any other taps or boreholes that were once in use but are currently broken down. Successful identification of these sources would lead to economic project implementation.
Water sampling and analysis. Analysis of the proposed water sources would be done through carefully identified samples. And after successful project implementation, simple water testing kits would be made available that can also be utilized by community members to monitor their own water post-COVID-19. This will help them to also have a responsibility to protect water resources against any form of pollution or vandalization of the already existing infrastructure.
Water treatment. Treatment methods would include sedimentation, filtration, chlorination, and solar water disinfection, depending on the various identified sources and test results.
Water storage and distribution. Use of storage tanks. A provision for a gravity-fed system (elevated tanks) to be provided. Piping of water to areas nearby and provision for alternative transportation mode for areas further from the water source e.g the use of the water Bowsers.
Control and monitoring of water storage systems and facilities. This will involve the provision of security for the various installed water systems and training nominated residents on system control and maintenance. For purposes of ownership and sustainability of the project, communities should take full responsibility.
Provision of hygiene products and other related safety products. This will have to be done as part of raising awareness of the need for continued proper sanitation practices.
Challenges we ran into
Our major challenge has been the lack of funds to implement the project.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Being that we have not yet implemented the project, our accomplishments are:
We have been able to bring together our ideas into a feasible project. We have come up with logistics on how to conduct the project and a budget of how much it would cost us to implement the project. We have laid down plans on how we would want the project to run.
What we learned
We learned the importance of teamwork. Teamwork makes the dream work. We also learned that the problem we want to solve is bigger than what we anticipated and more still needs to be done.
What's next for Maji Mashinani
The next step for Maji Mashinani is the raising of funds to implement the project.