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The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  At The Spring
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Jackline Leaving With Water
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Jackline And Braidon
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Using Akhonya Spring
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Happy At Akhonya Spring
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Water At Akhonya Spring
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Community Members Celebrating
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Community Members Carry Water
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  All Smiles At The Waterpoint
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  All Smiles At The Waterpoint
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Smiles At Waterpoint
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Training In Session
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Amos Demonstrating Mask Making
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Ms Nelly Leading The Session
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Making A Tippy Tap
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Issuing Out Writing Material
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Solar Treating Water
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Handwashing Demonstration
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Handwashing Demonstration
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  How To Use A Chewing Stick
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  How To Cough In Elbows
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Member Addressing The Group
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Planting Grass
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Fencing
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Backfilling With Soil
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Backfilling Plastic Sheet
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Backfilling With Stones
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Protection Of Akhonya Spring
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Tile Setting
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Plastering The Stairs
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Outside Plastering
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Outside Plastering
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Measuring For Excavation
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Relocating The Fencing Poles
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Community Moving Bricks
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Community Mixing Cement
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Community Breaks Rock To Gravel
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Foundation Of The Stairs
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Stone Pitching
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Setting The Discharge Pipe
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Raising The Wall
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Brick Setting
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Foundation Slab
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Foundation Chicken Wire
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Foundation Plastic Sheet
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Excavation Work
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Unprotected Spring
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Sloping Landscape Around Spring
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  People Drawing Water
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Collecting Water
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Collecting Water
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Collecting Water
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  People Carrying Water
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Mounting Water On Her Head
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Arriving Home With Water
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Adding To Water Storage
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Water Storage And Fetching Containers
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Animals Grazing
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  At Home
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Bathing Shelter
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Bathing Shelter
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Christine Imbili
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Clothesline
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Clothesline
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Community Farmland
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Community Landscape
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Compost Pit
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Compound
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Compound
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Cooking
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Dishrack
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Entrance To A Compound
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Farming
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Gift Outside Her Home
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Handwashing Facility
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Handwashing Facility
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Improvised Dishrack
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Inside A Kitchen
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Kitchen
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Landscape
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Toilet
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Toilet
The Water Project: Shianda Community, Akhonya Spring -  Washing Plates

Project Status



Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 320 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features


Click icons to learn about each feature.



Shianda village is based on a rural set-up. A majority of the community members here are farmers who practice large-scale sugarcane farming. A few people are employed as casual laborers at the West Kenya Sugar Factory while others are engaged in running small businesses in the village and nearby town. Compared to their neighbors, the Shianda community enjoys an electricity connection thanks to their area member of the county assembly, who has contributed to this development project. Most roads here are easily accessible.

320 people in Shianda depend on Akhonya Spring for water as their only year-round water source in the area. Community members once tried to protect the spring on their own, but without the materials or technical expertise needed, they were unsuccessful. Today, just a small cement wall that holds a discharge pipe stands at the water point, missing many of the key features and their benefits of a full spring protection.

Though the pipe helps direct water into community members’ jerrycans, a lot of the spring’s natural yield escapes around the wall and seeps through the earth because the spring’s catchment area has not been fully tapped and concentrated. This causes a slower discharge than is expected with this spring, slowing community members down as they fetch water.

The current discharge speed leads to overcrowding at the water point and a lot of wasted time for both adults and children. Weekends and holidays at the spring are especially busy when kids are home from school and they are assigned to help their parents with more tasks throughout the day, including fetching water.

The area leading up to the spring is a fairly steep slope, which becomes slick with mud during the frequent and heavy rains. Without stairs guiding the path to the spring, people sometimes fall and slip as they try to leave carrying water. Once at the water point, there are just a few large stones community members placed to try to help them stay above the constant pool of water below the pipe. The water collects due to a nonfunctional drainage system.

But the rocks are also slippery with moss and algae, and they do not guarantee safe footing. Some community members, particularly the elderly, women who are pregnant, and the youngest children, find the spring so difficult to access that they must forego it altogether, relying on others to help meet their needs. Everyone is burdened by the spring’s lack of accessibility, one way or another.

“With the terrain, I find it a challenge accessing the water point, especially when it rains. The area is slippery which normally prohibits me from accessing the spring for fear of injuring myself,” said Gift, a young primary school-aged girl.

The spring’s water is open to contamination mostly carried in by the rains’ surface runoff. Because the spring is open behind the cement wall, dirty water runs straight down the hill and through the pipe. Pollutants include farm chemicals, animal waste residues, and soil. Drinking the contaminated water leads to infections such as typhoid and cholera, community members report, among other waterborne diseases.

“Currently, water from our spring is not fit for drinking. Personally, I have had sore throat complications and this I relate to the spring waters. Protection of the spring will allow members to access clean safe water at any given time,” said 34-year-old businessperson, farmer, and mother Christine Imbili.

Water-related illnesses are costly to treat, and they prevent other productive activities. Adults miss work and kids have to stay home from school, often falling behind in their lessons.

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.

Project Updates


07/09/2021: Akhonya Spring Project Complete!

Shianda Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Akhonya Spring into a flowing source of water, thanks to your donation. Our team protected the spring and trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices, including COVID-19 prevention.


"Access to reliable, safe water will really impact my life positively. The water will be available all the time, and I will save my time fetching water—also eliminating water-borne diseases like typhoid and cholera. My desire has always been to do farming by planting crops throughout the year. Now that there is plenty of water, a shortage of food will be a thing of the past because water is readily available all the time, and I will be able to irrigate even during the dry season," said Jackline, a 34-year-old female farmer.

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

"Before, we use to boil water for drinking to reduce contamination, which led to the high cost of fuel and wasted time. But now it is so good because you fetch safe, clean water any time you want and drink it freely from the spring. It will really help me to stay healthy and be free from diseases such as typhoid and cholera. In the future, I will be able to study more and pass my exams and build my career of becoming a doctor," said Briton, a 12-year-old boy.

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 the 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. Individual households provided meals throughout each day to sustain the work team.

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. Next, we dug a drainage channel below the spring and several surface runoff diversion channels above and around the spring. These help to divert environmental contaminants carried by the rains away from 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.

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.

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 low enough 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. This allows room for the average jerrycan (a 20-liter container) to sit beneath the pipe without making contact.

If we place the discharge pipe 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.

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 discourage people and animals from standing on that area, which could cause soil erosion and thus a clogged drainage area.

With brickwork and stone pitching completed, we turned to cementing and plastering both sides of the headwall and wing walls. These finishing layers reinforce the brickwork and prevent water in the reservoir from seeping through the walls. In turn, enough pressure builds in the reservoir box to push water out through the discharge pipe.

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 force while beautifying the spring and facilitating easy cleaning of the spring floor.

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.

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.

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. We officially handed over the spring directly following training to mark the community's ownership of the water point. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day flowing in all directions.

Completing the water project in this community has made community members feel very happy for safe, clean water. It could be seen on their faces as they felt every drop of water falling into their containers.

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

Due to the ongoing challenges and restrictions amidst the pandemic, we worked with 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 their preferred date for training while considering other community calendar events, such as the agricultural season and social events. We requested a representative group of community members to attend training to relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

When the day arrived, facilitators Nelly Chebet and Amos Emisiko deployed to the site to lead the event. Fourteen people attended the training, including community-based leaders. We held the training under a tree due to the very hot weather. Outside we could also observe COVID-19 protocols of keeping physical distance and sitting in the open air.

Perhaps the most crucial topic of the day was our session on COVID-19 prevention and control. 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 virus and provide extra information where needed.

Using a stick for dental hygiene

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; dental hygiene; the ten steps of handwashing, and how to make and use a tippy tap and leaky tin. In addition, we held an election for the newly formed water user committee leaders during the leadership and governance session.

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

"I personally was not aware of the ten steps of handwashing until today. Washing hands using running water is also something I learned during this training. Though it is said that we learn through mistakes, all along, I have been doing contrary to what is expected. I normally put water in a basin and my husband washes first, then passes it along until the last person, which amounts to just transferring dirt from one person to the other. Knowledge gained today will help me do things the right way to eliminate diseases related to poor hygiene," said Jackline.

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 to assist them. Also, 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 : kenya21005-all-smiles-at-the-waterpoint-4


06/16/2021: Akhonya Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Akhonya Spring is making people in Shianda, Kenya 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 : kenya21005-collecting-water-2


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

Yakima Foursquare Church