Dabaso Tujengane

We are a community organisation, based in the Dabaso sub-location of Watamu working since 2011. Our goal is to provide preventive health services in the community and develop income generating activities to support this.

This is a legally registered community organisation based in the Dabaso sub-location of Watamu. The group was registered in 2011 with the goal of providing preventive health services in their community and developing income generating activities to support themselves. The group partners with the Ministry of Health and various International Non-Governmental Organisations to conduct health promotion such as raising awareness of HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation. They provide referrals to the nearest health centre and encourage pregnant women and mothers to use the health services.

The group has developed its own anti-jigger (tungiasis) project, since 15% of children in the local community have jiggers, but neither the government nor any NGOs have been doing anything to address it. Jiggers are a flea (Tunga penetrans) which burrows into the feet causing intense itching, pain and debility amongst children in the local community. Children can struggle to walk, to concentrate in class and to sleep properly due to the itching. Children with jiggers are teased and ridiculed by their peers. The most severely affected are the poorest members of the population, often orphans. The jigger lays eggs into the sand where the larvae develop into the next adults which infect another person or an animal.

The project is called WAJIMIDA Jigger Campaign and has grown to include villages around Mida Creek and Arabuko Sokoke forest. The group members treat people with jiggers using a local herbal remedy consisting mostly of neem and coconut oils which is highly effective. They spray the ground in people's homes and in schools using a neem leaf solution and teach people how to protect themselves from getting infected. Neem has been shown scientifically to be an insecticide as well as being antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Our work has attracted the attention of internationally renowned research groups who are collaborating with us to study jiggers, and to demonstrate the efficacy of our strategy scientifically.

The jigger project has been supported by local businesses including Turtle Bay Beach Club, Hemingway's Resort, Eco-Resorts, Imperial Bank, Karibuni ONLUS (an Italian NGO), Rotary Club of Watamu and individual visitors. The group also partners with TOMS Shoes to distribute free canvas shoes to all children in the community to protect them from jiggers and worm infections.

As income generating projects the group have a small farm on which they grow improved-varieties of cassava for sale. They rent out chairs for community social events. The group have been trained to produce soap from coconut oil and neem leaves, which they sell in the community and a value-added version they sell to tourists. The group also makes household detergents which are sold in the local community.

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