Helping a Community to Fully Understand the Dangers of Dirty Water

Transitions and Training

One of the main priorities during my time in Kenya is to develop a program to educate the community on the dangers of dirty water, and how to get clean water. Some die-hard Nuru fans out there may be asking, wait, didn’t we already do training?  And you would be right. However, we are also committed to constantly listening to the community and implementing the feedback that we get.

One of Nicole Scott’s big findings during her time on the ground was that our training did not reach all of the community. So she rounded up our staff to learn some best practices for teaching WatSan through a training by CAWST and began to prepare a new round of water training. This past week, the rubber met the road as we launched Water Training 2.0 (new name suggestions happily accepted) with a video called “Prescription for Health”, which was  filmed in the 80’s. Yes, that’s right, the 80’s. Although it was filmed before my birth, this film does an amazing job of depicting the dangers of dirty water. Afterwards, we had a poster session (a nifty technique we picked up from CAWST) in which the villagers walked around the room answering three questions: “What did you learn from the video? What in the video was familiar to you? And what hopes do you have for the community?” The responses we got opened my eyes. “We didn’t know other parts of the world had the same problems with water.” “ I didn’t know that water could be so dangerous.” “I want to eradicate all diarrhea in my community.” It seemed a lot of the villagers realized for the first time the importance of their role to teach their groups about the dangers of dirty water.

But the villagers didn’t just write down thoughts and feelings on posters. They all began asking us for more showings to invite their neighbors to. Motivated villagers? Check. The following week, we had 60 villagers crammed into a tiny church crowded around a 15” laptop straining for a glimpse of the video. Afterwards, Nicole asked Abraham, one of our friends in a Nuru village, what he thought of the video. He replied, “Nicole, I have learned a lot today. To be honest, we have been drinking from the river, but I never knew it was so dangerous. From now on, we will only drink clean water from the deep wells.” Giving villagers the knowledge to make good choices for themselves? Check. We know there is a lot of hard work still ahead of us, but it’s encouraging to know that we’re already starting to make a difference.

 

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