Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 175 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/04/2024

Project Features

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Musava Springs is found in the Shikutse B community, where 175 people depend on this unprotected source for water. The area around the spring is a steep slope, surrounded by trees and rocks. Most community members fetch their water in the morning and late in the evening, typically leading to overcrowding. With the congestion comes long wait times and frustration, often leading to disagreements and, sometimes, fights. The overcrowding also means people spend a lot of their time - time which could otherwise be used for other, more productive activities - at the spring each day.

"I have to queue for very long periods of time to get my water, especially during the dry season. This, in turn, makes me waste a lot of time which could have been used somewhere else," explained Violet Nafula, a farmer in the community.

"I have to go on so many trips to the spring to be able to get enough water to be used for domestic activities. This makes me waste my time, which I would have used to catch up with my assignments and engage in other activities," said Daniel, a primary school student.

Another reason it takes so long at the spring is the difficult access point. Community members have to scoop the water from a small pool using jugs and bowls to pour the water into their larger jerrycans. The process is tiring and time-consuming, but if people move too quickly, they risk stirring up both mud in the water and someone else's frustration. Therefore, the tempo at the spring is focused, as fast as possible, yet never fast enough to be convenient.

The other major issue with the spring in its unprotected state is its highly contaminated water. Because it is open, it is always full of dirt and algae. When it rains, the runoff carries farm chemicals, animal waste, and more soil into the water. Animals can also access the spring, drinking directly from the pool of water where community members fetch it.

Drinking contaminated water leads directly to waterborne and water-related diseases. Community members report frequent diarrhea, typhoid, and amoeba cases, all of which are expensive to treat and rob adults and children alike of their health, energy, and productive time. For kids, it also means staying home sick from school.

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. Therefore, protecting the spring and offering training and support will 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 training 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 which 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 to alter their practices at the personal, household, and community levels to affect change. This training will help ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance to make the most of their water points as soon as the 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 handling, storing, and treating water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it is consumed. The community and we 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 training 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 spring's operations and maintenance. 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

February, 2022: Musava Spring Protection Complete!

Shikutse B Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Musava 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.

"Before the installation of the water point, I had access to the water, but it wasn't really safe for use, especially [not for] drinking," said 35-year-old Wilson Musava. "More times than I can recount, I got sick just from using this water. Now that [the spring] has been protected, [I] am happy and assured of access to safe and reliable water. I know now that my health is well-placed."

"I am a farmer, therefore I need water to water my plants," Wilson continued. "This project will ease everything now. I can now increase [my] production of vegetables that I have so much wanted to do for a very long time."

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

11-year-old Brian F. told us about how difficult it used to be to fetch water, recalling a particularly bad occasion. "One evening, just after school as usual, I went about my house chores, which included going to the spring for water. But on this day, I had a quarrel with one of the water users. I had been there first but they wanted to come and be the first to fetch water. This didn't go well and we fought. I ended up not going home with water because he broke my containers. But now, with this project, it has eased access and made it easy for me to get water easily."

"Before it was such a hustle for me to get water because of the long line and continuous scramble to be first," Brian continued. "This, in turn, made me waste time which could have been used studying. But now, [I] am happy that it will only take [a] few minutes for me to do this, and the rest of the time can be used reading. I hope this helps me improve on my class performance."

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 rocks 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 the community members had prepared everything, 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! Locals lent their strength to the artisans 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, which is 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 clay is in short supply) and placed it at an 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. This helps discourage people and animals from standing in that area, which could cause soil erosion and thus a clogged drainage area.

We then 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 rocks with a thick plastic tarp to minimize potential contamination sources from aboveground, followed by a layer of soil. We piled enough dirt 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.

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 Rose Serete and Patience Njeri deployed to the site to lead the event, which was held beside the spring. 12 people attended the training, including ten women and two men.

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.

People trying coughing into their elbows.

"Each new day comes with its worries, considering how the virus keeps mutating to new forms," said Violet Wafula, 47, who was elected to be the chairwoman of the newly formed water user committee. "I have learned that it entirely depends on me to keep myself safe from [COVID-19] by maintaining all the necessary precautions put in place."

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 water user committee leaders during the leadership and governance session.

"This training has helped me gain new insight on some things, like for example soap making and personal grooming," Wilson said. "With this new knowledge, I hope to make a change in how I was carrying out things in my life."

"We hope that after this training, people will start wearing their masks, and not just wearing, but in the correct manner," Violet added.

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

"I now know the reagents and the procedure in soap-making, which I had always desired to know," Violet said. "I hope I can make it an income-generating activity now that I know what is required."

When an issue arises concerning the spring, 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!

October, 2021: Shikutse B Community, Musava Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Shikutse B drains people’s time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

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

Project Photos

Project Type

Springs are water sources that come from deep underground, where the water is filtered through natural layers until it is clean enough to drink. Once the water pushes through the surface of the Earth, however, outside elements like waste and runoff can contaminate the water quickly. We protect spring sources from contamination with a simple waterproof cement structure surrounding layers of clay, stone, and soil. This construction channels the spring’s water through a discharge pipe, making water collection easier, faster, and cleaner. Each spring protection also includes a chlorine dispenser at the waterpoint so community members can be assured that the water they are drinking is entirely safe. Learn more here!

A Year Later: "Fetching water is easy and faster"

February, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped Shikutse Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Morgan. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Shikutse B Community.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shikutse B Community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

Until last year, the chore of collecting water from Musava Spring was time-consuming as community members painstakingly scooped up water from a small pool little by little. And sadly, all of that work only provided contaminated water, which led to poor health from water-related illnesses.

"We used to [use] deep containers in the open water source to fetch water. It could make the water dirty and cause fights at the spring," said 12-year-old Morgan M.

But since the spring was protected last year, collecting water has become much quicker for everyone.

"[Now] fetching water is easy and faster than before since a pipe was installed to direct water to the jerrycan. I do not waste time at the spring anymore," Morgan said.

Since fetching water has become much faster, Morgan now also has time for other things besides just collecting water.

"My siblings and I assist my mother to fetch water from the spring, and we still get time to do our homework in the evenings and over the weekends," said Morgan. "We also have time to play with our friends."

Morgan at the spring.

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shikutse B Community maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Shikutse B Community – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


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