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The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Thank You
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Thank You
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Water Flowing
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Posing At The Spring
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Posing At The Spring
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Posing At The Spring
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Enjoying Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Celebrating Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Celebrating Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Celebrating Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Celebrating Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Clean Water Flows From Wora Spring
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Collecting Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Collecting Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Completed Wora Spring
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Drinking Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Enjoying Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Enjoying Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Enjoying Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Michelle Drawing Water From Wora Spring
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Posing With A New Sanplat
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Solar Disinfection Discussion
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Catherine Sanitizes Participants Hands
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Community Mobilizer Peter
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Elected Water Committee Secretary
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Elected Water Committee Treasurer
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Explaining Solar Disinfection
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Handwashing
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Handwashing Demonstration
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Handwashing Demonstration
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Handwashing Demonstration
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Participants At The Training
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Participants At The Training
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Onsite Training During Construction
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Sanplat Construction
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Excavation
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Excavation
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Site Measurements
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Setting Foundation
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Community Members Help Out
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Stair Construction
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Brick Setting
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Community Members Bring Materials To Site
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Wall Construction
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Pipe Setting
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Wall Construction
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Progress
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Stone Pitching
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Plaster Works
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Tile Setting
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Clay Works Ongoing To Seal Escape Channels
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Ferrying Rocks For Backfilling
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Spring Box Filled With Layered Stones
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Laying Stones
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Laying Polythene Membrane
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Artisan Leads Soil Backfilling
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Soil Backfilling
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Grass Planting And Washing Steps
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Sanplat Construction
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Walking Home With Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Carrying Water Uphill
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Leaving The Collection Point
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  A Woman Carrying Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Collecting Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Collecting Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Collecting Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Collecting Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Makeshift Collection Point
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Wora Spring Sandwiched Between Rocks
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Community Members Going To Collect Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Interviewee John Shibutse
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Latrine
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Collecting Cow Dung
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Sweet Potato Harvesting
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  A Girl Collecting Firewood
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Farming
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  A Woman Feeds Her Cow
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Animals Grazing
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Clothesline
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Beddings Being Dried
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Washing
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Bathing Shelter
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  A Hole In The Ground Used As A Latrine
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  A Handwashing Point At A Compound
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Traditional Clay Pot For Drinking Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Water Storage Containers
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Water Storage Containers
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Utensils Left To Dry
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Dishrack
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Animal Pen And Food Storage
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  Fireplace
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  A Woman Inside Her Kitchen
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  A Community Elder
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Wora Spring -  A Household Compound

Project Status



Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 140 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features


Click icons to learn about each feature.



Life in Mahira, Kenya

The Mahira area is rural and characterized by a peaceful environment. The area is well vegetated. The majority of buildings here are permanent and made of iron sheet roofs with brick walls.

Mahira community members primarily have livelihoods based on agriculture. They keep dairy cattle, grow maize, yams, sweet potatoes, cassava, bananas, and vegetables. This community is special because through farming and dairy keeping they educate their children. Most of the domestic work is predominantly done by women.

In this community, neighbors do most activities together. This includes the major events on the agricultural calendar such as preparing land, planting, weeding, and harvesting.

Relying on Contaminated Water

Wora Spring serves 140 people, most of whom have to make 6 trips to the spring and back every day to fetch enough water for all of their drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs. On laundry days, that number increases. Each walk takes from 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on where community members live in relation to the spring.

That is a lot of time spent on fetching water, especially considering the water is not even safe for consumption.

In its unprotected state, Wora Spring is completely open to the environment and thus all sorts of contamination. Larger animals like dogs and livestock will come to drink directly from the source, while smaller aquatic animals live in the water. People have even seen some animals like dogs urinate in water before someone could get close enough to stop them.

Drinking water from Wora Spring is known to cause waterborne diseases among community members, but as it stands they have no other source for water. These diseases cost people a lot of time, money, and energy as they seek treatment and medication. Medications are expensive, and strip families of the resources they had planned on spending in more useful endeavors ranging from basic needs to personal business expenses and children’s school fees.

“Personally, I take this water with fear because it is not safe for my health and that of my family members,” said Samwel Wora, the spring’s landowner and a farmer in the community.

Children also know the spring water is unfit for consumption. “The unprotected spring is open to contamination and the water is not safe for my stomach,” said John, a young boy we met on our visit.

Accessing the spring in its current state is not easy. The area leading up to the spring is steep, and when it rains the path becomes slick with mud and very difficult to traverse, especially going back up the hill carrying a heavy jug of water. The spring’s eyes are located within cracks in the rocks, so the community has had a hard time trying to redirect water into a central collection point.

In an attempt, they have affixed a half plastic pipe with a rock, but this still only captures some of the water coming out of the spring. This inefficiency is felt most when the dry season comes. The spring becomes overcrowded with more people than usual because it is well known for providing water year-round. Yet without being able to capture all of the water into 1 discharge point, people are left waiting as they fill up their containers while watching water escape to the side of the pipe.

What We Can Do:

Spring Protection

Protecting the spring will help provide access to cleaner and safer water. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water. With the community’s high involvement in the process, there should be a good sense of responsibility and ownership for the new clean water source.

Fetching water is a task predominantly carried out by women and young girls. Protecting the spring and offering training and support will, therefore, help empower the female members of the community by freeing up more of their time and energy to engage and invest in income-generating activities and their education.

Training

We will hold a 1-day intensive training on improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits in this community. With the community’s input, we will identify key leverage points where they can alter their practices at the personal, household, and community levels to affect change. This training will help to ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance to make the most of their water point as soon as water is flowing.

Our team of facilitators will use Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST), Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring to cover a wide variety of topics.

One of the most important issues we plan to cover is the handling, storage, and treatment of water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it is consumed. We will also emphasize the importance of handwashing. We and the community strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve living standards here, which will help to unlock the potential for these community members to live better, healthier lives.

We will then conduct a series of follow-up trainings before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Training will result in the formation of a committee, elected by their peers, that will oversee the operations and maintenance of the spring. The committee will enforce proper behavior around the spring and delegate tasks that will help preserve the site, such as building a fence and digging proper drainage channels. The fence will keep out destructive animals and unwanted waste, and the drainage will keep the area’s mosquito population at a minimum.

Sanitation Platforms

At the end of training, participants will select 5 families that should benefit from new concrete latrine floors called sanitation platforms. Training will inform the community and selected families on what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, including bricks, clean sand, and gravel. The 5 families chosen for sanitation platforms must prepare by sinking a pit for the sanitation platforms to be placed over.

All community members must work together to make sure that accommodations and food are always provided for the work teams. The families will then be asked to complete their latrines by constructing a superstructure over their platforms. These 5 sanitation platforms will then serve as examples for the rest of the community to replicate.

Project Updates


09/22/2020: Mahira Community, Wora Spring Project Complete!

Mahira Community now has access to clean water! Wora Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of water thanks to your donation. We protected the spring, constructed 5 sanitation platforms for different households in the community, and we trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices including COVID-19 prevention.

Fetching water from completed Wora Spring

“I and my family will take clean safe water, which will mean we will not suffer from wate- related diseases,” said 21-year-old Charity Ingosi, a farmer in the community.

“We will save money that we normally spend in hospital when looking for treatment. The money will be used to better our lives. We will use its easily accessible water for irrigating vegetables which will be sold to earn a living.”

Children were just as excited as the adults about the new water point.

“It is very easy to enter and leave the place where we draw water from. Coming for water will now be enjoyable domestic work,” said primary school-aged James.

“Construction of this spring has united the village. We are a more united community than we were before the project. The whole community has come together to form a merry-go-round which will help every home to save money and invest as a village. Our lives will be better,” James added.

Michelle about to fetch water from the spring.

Preparing for Spring Protection

Community members worked together to source and carry all locally available construction materials to the spring. These included bricks, sand, stones, and fencing poles. Some people also chiseled away at large stones to break them down into gravel. Because people have to carry most items by hand, the materials collection process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.

When everything was prepared, we sent a lorry to the community to deliver the rest of the construction materials including the cement, plastic tarps, and hardware. Then, our artisan and field officers deployed to the spring to begin work. While the field officers traveled to and from the site each day throughout the construction process, the artisan remained in the community. To accommodate him, individual households provided meals and a place to sleep each night.

Two young men helping to deliver sand to the construction site. The wheelbarrow kept getting stuck in the thick mud.

The last step before construction commenced was taking a water sample from the unprotected spring. We sent the sample to a government laboratory for testing to identify the kinds of contaminants in the water before its protection. These often include fertilizers and pesticides from farms, animal and human feces, and any number of harmful bacteria. We then shared the test results with the community to identify extra steps they could take to help ensure the spring’s water remains clean and safe after protection.

From Open Source to Protected Spring: A Step-by-Step Process

At last, it was time to dig in at the spring! Women and men lent their strength to the artisan each day to help with the manual labor. First, we cleared and excavated the spring area. We dug a drainage channel below the spring and several surface runoff diversion channels above and around the spring. These help to divert the environmental contaminants identified in the pre-construction water quality test.

Excavation at the spring

To ensure community members could still fetch water throughout the construction process, we also dug temporary diversion channels from the spring’s eye around the construction site. This allowed water to flow without severely disrupting community members’ water needs or the construction work.

Laying the spring floor and stairs’ foundation

Excavation created space for setting the spring’s foundation made of thick plastic tarp, wire mesh, concrete, and waterproof cement. After setting the base, we started brickwork to build the headwall, wing walls, and the stairs.

Brickwork outlines the headwall, wing walls, and outer walls

Next, we began one of the most crucial steps of spring protection to ensure a fully functional water point: setting the discharge pipe. The discharge pipe has to be set low enough in place in the headwall so that the water level inside never rises above the spring’s eye, yet high enough to leave 18-20 inches between the pipe and the spring floor to allow room for the average jerrycan (a 20-liter container) to sit beneath the pipe without making contact.

Setting the pipe

If the discharge pipe were placed too high above the spring’s eye, too much backpressure could force the flow to emerge elsewhere. Too low, and community members would not be able to easily access the water. We embedded the pipe using clay (or mortar when the clay is in short supply) and placed it at a slight incline to ensure water flows in the right direction.

Cementing the stone pitching into place.

In coordination with brickwork, we pitched medium to large stones on both sides of the spring’s drainage channel. We then cemented and plastered each stone group into place, forming the rub walls. These help to discourage people and animals from trying to stand on that area, which could cause soil erosion and thus a clogged drainage area.

Plasterwork

With brickwork and stone pitching completed, we turned to cement and plaster both sides of the headwall and wing walls. This reinforces the brickwork and prevents water in the reservoir from seeping through the walls. In turn, this builds enough pressure in the reservoir box to push water out through the discharge pipe.

Community members delivered clay and large stones for the backfilling process.

As the headwall and wing walls were curing, we cemented and plastered the stairs and installed 4 tiles beneath the discharge pipe. The tiles protect the concrete from the erosive force of the falling water, beautify the spring, and facilitate easy cleaning of the spring floor.

Artisan leads the backfilling placement of stones

With the tiles in place, we transitioned to the final stages of construction – backfilling the reservoir box. First, we cleared the collection box of any debris that may have fallen in since its construction such as dead leaves or other items. Then we redirected the temporary diversion channels back into the reservoir box, channeling water into this area for the first time. We closed off all of the other exits to start forcing the water through the discharge pipe only.

Background: Planting grass on top of the backfilled layers; Foreground: washing the spring steps of dirt

With much help from the community, we filled up the reservoir area with the clean and large stones they gathered, arranging them in layers like a well-fitting puzzle. We covered the stones with a thick plastic tarp to minimize potential sources of contamination from aboveground, followed by a layer of soil. We piled enough soil on top to create a slight mound to compensate for the backfill’s future settlement.

Celebrating the completed spring

Community members transplanted grass onto the backfilled soil to help prevent erosion. Finally, the collection area was fenced in to discourage any person or animal from walking on it since compaction can lead to disturbances in the backfill layers and potentially compromise water quality.

Drinking clean spring water

The entire construction process took about 2 weeks of work and patience to allow the cement and plaster to finish curing. As soon as it was ready, people got the okay from our field officers to begin fetching water.

It was not possible to have the area Member of County Assembly come to officiate the handing over ceremony as he had desired due to travel restrictions. Therefore, our team called on the spring’s 4 newly elected  officials to come to the spring where we handed it over to them on behalf of the whole community. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day flowing in all directions.

Sanitation Platforms

All 5 sanitation platforms have been completed and handed over to their new owners. These 5 families are happy about this milestone of having a private latrine of their own and are optimistic that people will no longer leave waste outdoors. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors, and for other families to replicate the design after having helped construct these examples.

Kids pose with their family’s new sanitation platform, next to the pit they dug which the sanplat will sit over.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

Due to the ongoing challenges and restrictions amidst the pandemic, we worked with both local leaders and the national Ministry of Health to gain approval for a small group training about health, hygiene, and COVID-19 prevention. In this community, the spring landowner, Mr. Wora, and a community immobilizer named Peter were the ones to help us organize training.

Team Leader Catherine Chepkemoi speaks to community members at training

Together with Mr. Wora and Peter, we found the community’s preferred date for training while considering other events in the community calendar such as the agricultural season and the national coronavirus-related curfew. We asked them to gather a select yet representative group of community members who would attend training, and then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

Peter (left) assists another community member to wash his hands in a training demonstration.

When the day arrived, Lead Facilitator Jacqueline Shigali along with Trainer Victor Musemi and Team Leader Catherine Chepkemoi deployed to the site. 21 people attended training, which we held in Mr. Wora’s clean compound. The location was well-suited to physical distancing because of its large size.

We covered several topics including community participation in the project; leadership and governance; personal and environmental hygiene; water handling and treatment; operation and maintenance of the spring and sanitation platforms; dental hygiene; the 10 steps of handwashing, and how to make and use a tippy tap and leaky tin. During the leadership and governance session, we held an election for the leaders of the newly formed water user committee.

Handwashing demonstration

We also brainstormed income-generating activities that can be used to start both a community savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring, as well as a cooperative lending group to enable members to develop their own small businesses.

Trainer Jacky holds a bottle filled with water to explain the solar disinfection water treatment method.

Perhaps the most important topic of the day was our session on COVID-19 prevention and specific guidance in line with national and international standards. There has been tension and panic all over about the coronavirus in Kenya, so this was a session everyone eagerly participated in, the trainers noted. We covered:

– Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19

– What physical distancing is and how to practice it

– How to cough into an elbow

– Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.

– How to make and properly wear a facemask.

Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.

Elected Water Treasurer

Participants were very keen to practice what they had already heard from the local media concerning COVID-19. While some community members said they were not comfortable following all of the directives, we urged them to do it for the sake of their families. A locally-based health officer in the meeting gave out a phone number to be dialed in case anyone suspected they or someone they knew had COVID-19. The hotline would dispatch an ambulance to come to check the person for symptoms and offer medical care, if necessary.

Elected Water Committee Secretary

The second most memorable topic was handwashing since the health officer at the training had all of the information at his fingertips. He shared and even demonstrated how proper washing of hands needs to be done. It was great to see community members learning from one of their own.

Catherine demonstrates the 10 steps of handwashing while asking community members to follow along.

“This training was very important to me and my community,” said 39-year-old farmer Samuel Shikuku. “I have received knowledge that will help me and my family prevent many diseases, even COVID-19. You have also done well to teach us how to take care of our protected spring so that it serves us for a long time.”

When an issue arises concerning the water project, the water user committee is equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our team of field officers to assist them. In addition, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!


The Water Project : kenya20163-enjoying-water-6


08/31/2020: Mahira Community, Wora Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Wora Spring is making people in Mahira sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with news of success!


The Water Project : 25-kenya20163-collecting-water-3


Project Videos


Project Photos


Project Type

Protected Spring

In many communities, natural springs exist as water flows from cracks in rocky ground or the side of a hill.  Springs provide reliable water but that doesn’t mean safe. When left open they become contaminated by surface contamination, animal and human waste and rain runoff. The solution is to protect the source. First, you excavate around the exact source area of the spring. Then, you build a protective reservoir for water flow, which pours through a reinforced pipe in a concrete headwall to a paved collection area. Safe water typically flows year-round and there is very limited ongoing maintenance needed!


Contributors

St. Therese Foundation