Updated: Aug 13, 2021
Our route to achieving sustainable, universal access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
At Dig Deep, we do lots of work in Bomet County relating to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), but what we normally talk about to our supporters tends to be very tangible in nature: we have installed water tanks at a local school or supported toilet construction in the communities we work with. And we're really proud of these achievements; it's the vital work on the ground that ensures that people are getting access to clean water, safe sanitation and a place to wash their hands.
But as August is Water Quality Month, we thought we'd highlight the vital work we’ve been doing in Bomet County to improve everything that goes on in the background to ensure sustainable access to safe water, toilets and hygiene - things like monitoring of WASH activities, improving data collection and training key staff.
Monitoring and analysing water, sanitation and hygiene services
To make all this work, we're very proud to have set up Bomet County's first WASH Hub with joint funding from the county government. This Hub will initially be staffed by two permanent employees, and has the vital role of managing WASH data from all over the county. The household and institutional surveys that Dig Deep conducted in Bomet this year will form the basis of these datasets. However, it's understandable to think this work is quite abstract compared with building physical infrastructure. Why, one might ask, is this so important?
Inauguration of The WASH hub, 30th June 2021.
To begin with, the failure rates of new water schemes, particularly boreholes, in low and middle income countries are very high. One of the critical predictors of long-term sustainability is there being systems in place for monitoring and maintaining projects after construction. And even more fundamentally, that local water authorities know about their existence and have formal handover of responsibilities. In largely rural areas, like much of Bomet County, water sources are generally decentralised, and establishing simple maintenance practices can be just as important as capital investment in ensuring sustainable access to water is achieved.
This also applies to behaviour change initiatives, including Community Led Total Sanitation, which is a key component of our local strategy to eliminate open defecation. Approaches like these rely on consistent follow-ups that track progress over time. This allows community health workers to respond quickly if their initial interactions haven't proved effective. We've been very successful with this approach, and are helping villages in Bomet achieve open defecation free status in record time. But the biggest challenge to sustainability will come in consolidating these improvements over 5 or 10 years to accomplish the goal of every resident having a safe, clean toilet to use.
In these situations, having a designated repository for this information is critical. It is now being collected and stored digitally wherever possible, and improves both the day to day operation of WASH practitioners, and the ability for strategic planning. The WASH Hub is allowing this to happen. It's been a relatively small investment of our resources in the short term. In the long term, we hope it will multiply the effectiveness of every pound our donors give, and every pound we spend. And it will be a key component of enabling Dig Deep and its partners achieve sustainable, universal WASH access for everyone in Bomet County forever.
Written by Joe Hook, Programmes Officer.
As always if you have any questions or would like to know more about the work that we do here at Dig Deep please do get in touch. You can reach out to Joe Hook, our Programmes Officer for further information via the following email: email@example.com