The township of Madina has an approximate population of 5,000. There are also several surrounding villages. Whilst working in the Madina Health Clinic, it soon became apparent that all was not well with the water supply to the town. This became evident by questioning patients who attended with gastro-enteric conditions and the correlation of their usage of untreated ‘stream’ water.
To verify the facts, a survey of the 10 community wells was carried out. At the time of inspection, 8 out of the 10 were currently functional in some capacity. Of those that were working, all had a caretaker and had restricted hours of working. Although there was a spirit of community ownership, there was no formal money collecting system to ensure sufficient funds for maintenance.
All but 2 of the wells run dry during the months of April – May. During these months, people go to the stream or swamp for their drinking water. This water is left to settle but no other treatment is applied prior to drinking. There is a marked increase in gastric-enteric conditions during these months, particularly in children.
It was clear that the township of Madina faced some serious difficulties in relation to its water supply. This could be easily solved with the transfer of appropriate funds but there had to be evidence of an engaged community prior to any money transfer.
- The formation of a water committee overseen by the town council
- The continuation of a caretaker for each well
- The agreement by the community that payment for water is required
- A workable fee collection system
- The opening of a community bank account for the monies and demonstration of transparent accounting practice
- The introduction of byelaws as agreed by the community eg no animals near the wells, agreed opening times, no drawing well water for purposes other than drinking etc etc
As a result of a signed agreement between HelpMadina and the Madina Town Council, funding is now in place to repair all the community wells and to sink them to the appropriate depth to ensure that they are fully operational all year round.
The repair of water wells is a very important function for HelpMadina and the programme has been extended to local villages. There are many with broken pumps and pipes that can be easily fixed for a modest cost of £500-£1,000. There is now a waiting list of villages who are in need of our support. The repairs will be carried out as funds allow, so please donate if you can.
Every one of those interviewed in the survey mentioned above desired a better toilet facility in order to give them more privacy and to reduce the smell, and HelpMadina has been enabling the building of pit latrines.
HelpMadina has provided the toilet materials, whilst the digging of the pits is undertaken by the local community and supervised by the town council.. The cost for each toilet is approximately £75 and should last 15-20 years. In addition to the latrine, there are simple hand washing facilities adjacent to it.
The importance of good hygiene methods to prevent communicable diseases will be reinforced by a health promotion talk being given by the Madina Health clinic nurse to all the householders.