Kampung Mempakad: “Here, the water issue is really serious, and it has been the main issue for us since I can remember.”

27th August 2018

Kampung Mempakad, located in mountainous terrain in northern Sabah, is the site of our community water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project. The community of Kampung Mempakad has existed without access to a safe and reliable water supply for generations. All 300 residents of the community are familiar with the daily uncertainties over one of our essential human needs: water.

Host country volunteer Ning spoke to community member Uncle Sudin to find out what it is like living in the village.

Uncle Sudin has lived in Kampung Mempakad his whole life. He is a husband and a father of 14 children. After finishing his secondary school education, he started work and became a police officer. He explains that for the village of Mempakad drinking a glass of water is not as convenient as turning on a tap. “Water is seriously limited. We have to ration all of our water to make sure there is enough to drink, to wash clothes, to cook and maintain personal hygiene.”

He continues, “At the moment, for those with cars, they drive two kilometres to fetch water. For those without cars, they are left with two options; to travel by foot to the nearest water source, or purchase water by the gallon which is delivered by car to their homes. Here, the water issue is really serious, and it has been the main issue for us since I can remember.”

Like many of the communities Raleigh Borneo has worked in, the issue of access to water is often very complex. The village currently has no reliable water supply with their nearest water source a 30-minute walk away, however this is often depleted during dry season. Communities strive to attain reliable access to clean and safe water, not only to drink, but to reduce illness in their kampungs as well as decreasing the time they need to source and collect it.

The village currently has no toilet or handwashing facilities leading to instances of illness. Host country volunteer Manager Yatie explains, “The community have told us diarrhoea and other illnesses are not uncommon in the kampung and access to hospitals is challenging. At the moment they wash their hands irregularly and on average wash themselves every two days, although this can be longer when water is harder to acquire during dry season.”

For Uncle Sudin, he hopes the burden on the community is lifted. He applied to Raleigh for assistance and explains, “Water is a basic necessity that we all should have access to. I hope by having an accessible water source the worry of having to travel and heave buckets and containers of water over great lengths would finally disappear. It would save us all a lot more time and in turn increase our productivity and quality of life.”

Volunteer Manager Kaurab agrees, “Having a regular supply of water, safe water, is going to have a huge impact on the community. It is going to alleviate some of the issues for them. They are spending a lot of time at the moment thinking about water and how to get it; either buying or harvesting. It gives them more time and saves them money so they can do more productive things such as their businesses.”

Uncle Sudin has been working closely with Raleigh on building the infrastructure to provide the village with access to clean, safe and reliable water.

The project in Kampung Mempakad is progressing well and is set to be completed in just a couple of weeks. The aim of the project is to install a dam and a gravity fed water system with piping to each of the houses in the village. The project aims to also build three toilets and three handwashing stations.

Keep an eye on the blog and social media channels for updates.

Words by Communications Officer Rebecca Raab.

Interview with Uncle Sudin conducted by host country volunteer Ning.

Photographs by Photographer Daniel Buttifant.


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