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The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  High Five For Clean Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Jeremiah At The Spring
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Joy Of Clean Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Mounting Water On Her Head
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Protected Anunda Spring
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Ready To Take Clean Water Home
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Water Celebrations
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Water Celebrations
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Water Dance
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Water Dance
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Happy Community
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Happy Community
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Field Officer Mary At The Spring
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Enjoying Flowing Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Collecting Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Collecting Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Complete Spring
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Clean Water Flows
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Tatayo Karakacha
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Josephine Kizito
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Jeremiah Happy About His Sanplat
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Complete Sanplat
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Committee Chair Addresses The Group
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Community Members Pray At The Training
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Facilitator Teaches Handwashing
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Following The Training Keenly
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Making A Leaky Tin For Handwashing
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Mask Making Demonstration
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Mr Moses Kanari Addressing Participants
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Practicing The Handwashing Steps
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Rael Mawanyi
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Training On Proper Mask Wearing
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Women Following The Training
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Grass Planting And Fencing
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Community Members Deliver Stones
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Spring Measurements
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Excavation
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Drainage Opening
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Concrete Mixing
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Mixing Cement
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Foundation Laying
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Brick Laying
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Wall Construction
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Water Escape Channel Construction
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Drawing Point Construction
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Pipe Setting
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Exterior Plastering
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Plastering Spring Walls
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Site Clearance
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Backfilling Begins
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Stone Backfilling
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Stone Backfilling
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Fitting The Tarp
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Sanitation Platform Construction
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Sanitation Platform Construction
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  A Backyard Farm
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  A Mud Walled Latrine
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Agnes At Home
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Agnes Collecting Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Agnes Kutoto Carrying Water From Anunda Spring
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Agnes Storing Water In A Clay Pot
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Animal Pen
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Bathing Room Shelter
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Brilliant Feeds One Of Her Animals At Home
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Cattle Grazing
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Cattle Milking Place
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Clothes Drying On Grass
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Clothesline Blowing In The Wind
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Dish Rack
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  How Water Is Collected
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Inside The Kitchen
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Latrine
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Outside The Kitchen
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Pouring Water Into Storage Container
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Sugarcane Plantations
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Walking Through The Water To Reach The Spring
The Water Project: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring -  Water Storage Containers

Project Status



Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 105 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features


Click icons to learn about each feature.



Please note: original photos were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the 105 community members who depend on Anunda Spring in Mahira, some things have changed in their daily routine since the COVID-19 pandemic began. For example, normally they would wake up early and start their day by preparing their children for school. Now, however, kids are home due to the national coronavirus-related school closures in Kenya.

Other things have not changed. Before community members embark on their domestic chores and work, they go to fetch water from Anunda Spring.

Once at the spring, community members must wade through a constant pool of water to reach the discharge pipe they have improvised by sticking a pipe directly into the earth. Though the pipe helps direct some of the spring’s output, it inevitably misses some water too. This adds to the amount of time community members spend fetching water each day, meaning on some occasions community members take long hours at the spring. This is especially true in the morning and afternoon, when most people go to fetch water. This problem is particularly dangerous during the pandemic when community members are trying to avoid groups or being out in public for too long.

“The water is open to contamination and treatment costs are high,” said farmer Agnes Kutoto referring to the medicines and hospital bills community members incur when seeking help for waterborne diseases. The most common water-related illnesses people complain of here are diarrhea and typhoid.

Though drinking water from Anunda Spring is often to blame for these diseases, the spring is the most reliable, year-round water source in the area, so there is often little choice in using the water source.

“Personally, I think the spring water is contaminated. Cases of waterborne diseases are high,” agreed primary school pupil Brilliant.

What We Can Do:

Spring Protection

Protecting the spring will help provide access to cleaner and safer water and reduce the time people have to spend to fetch it. 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 on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

To hold trainings during the pandemic, we work closely with both community leaders and the local government to approve small groups to attend training. We ask community leaders to invite a select yet representative group of people to attend training who will then act as ambassadors to the rest of the community to share what they learn. We also communicate our expectations of physical distancing and wearing masks for all who choose to attend.

The training will focus on improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits in this community. We will also have a dedicated session on COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention best practices.

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 a variety of methods to train community members. Some of these methods include participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation, asset-based community development, group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring.

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 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 small series of follow-up trainings before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Training will result in the formation of a water user 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


12/14/2020: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring Project Complete!

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

Field Officer Mary in the foreground with community members celebrating the completion of Anunda Spring

“I am thrilled because now I take clean and safe water, and it’s easier now to fetch water from the spring,” said Adelaite Mwombe, who works as a local businessperson.

“I will take a few seconds to fetch water. The water is safe for consumption, and consequently, my health status will greatly improve. The water will be used to water the crops,” said Peter Wekesa, a farmer in the community.

Dancing to celebrate clean flowing water

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

“Time spent fetching water has been shortened. The water is reliable, safe, and of good quality. When the schools open, I will spend less time fetching water after school,” said Jane, a young teenager and a primary school student.

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. Everyone traveled to and from the work site each day throughout the construction process, so individual households provided meals throughout the day to sustain the workers.

Community members deliver large stones to the spring construction site

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—this help to divert the environmental contaminants identified in the pre-construction water quality test.

Excavation begins

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 construction work.

Laying the spring 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 stairs.

Brickwork begins

Next, we began one of the most crucial spring protection steps 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 eighteen to twenty 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 discharge 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 access the water easily. 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.

Drawing point construction

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.

Cement and plaster work on the rub wall, stairs, and spring walls

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.

Backfilling with stones

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

Fitting the tarp

We transitioned to the final stages of construction with the tiles in place – 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.

Fencing and planting grass

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 contamination sources 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.

Community members transplanted grass onto the backfilled soil to help prevent erosion. Finally, the collection area was fenced 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.

Completed Anunda Spring

The entire construction process took about two 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 fetch water.

Clean water flows from Anunda Spring

We officially handed over the spring directly following training. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions. The community members were pleased to see how clean water flows from the protected spring. They sang a song praise song and danced. Finally, the community presented the field officer with a hen as a gift to appreciate the good work done.

Community members celebrate the protected spring

Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been completed and handed over to their new owners. These five 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.

Jeremiah stands with his family’s new sanitation platform

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.

Together with the community, we found the community’s preferred date for training while considering other community calendar events such as the agricultural season and the national coronavirus-related curfew. We requested a select yet representative group of community members to attend training, relaying the information learned to the rest of their family and friends. When the day arrived, facilitators Sam Simidi and Mary Afandi
deployed to the site to lead the event.

Trainer demonstrates the ten steps of handwashing at training.

24 people attended training, including the local Community Health Volunteer. We held the training at one of the community member’s homesteads near the spring in the shade of trees.

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 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 and sneeze into the elbow

– Contactless greetings

– How to make and properly wear a facemask

Setting up a leaky tin handwashing station

Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed. We also left behind a rice sack painted with messages of COVID-19 prevention reminders in the local language. We affixed the sign to the spring’s fence during training and encouraged community members to use it as a daily reminder to stay cautious both at home and at the spring.

Mask making and wearing demonstration

“Social distancing at the spring is critical to me. Before the training, I had my own handwashing facility outside my house, which has been useful for handwashing. I have been wearing a mask when I go out shopping at the market and also at church,” said Adelaite Mwombe.

Adelaite said she would continue to urge her neighbors “to maintain cleanliness all the time by washing hands” throughout the pandemic and beyond.

Community members practice the ten steps of handwashing

We covered several other 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 ten steps of handwashing, and how to make and use a tippy tap and leaky tin. We held an election for the newly formed water user committee leaders during the leadership and governance session.

Jeremiah takes notes at training

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

“The training increased my awareness of matters related to hygiene and sanitation. It is essential to observe cleanliness,” noted Tatayo Karakacha, a 42-year-old farmer whose peers elected him as Chair of the water user committee.

Tatayo Karakacha

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 field officers’ team to assist them. We will also 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 : kenya20165-happy-community-2


11/25/2020: Mahira Community, Anunda Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Anunda 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 : kenya20165-agnes-collecting-water


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

Project Underwriter - Nazmy and Wigdan Ziyad
1 individual donor(s)