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The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  A Happy Community
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Agnes At The Water Point
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Agnes
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Carrying Water From The Spring
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Carrying Water From The Spring
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Celebrating Clean Water
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Drinking From The Water Point
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Drinking Water At The Spring Site
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Fetching A Drink From The Spring
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Fetching Water At The Spring
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Fetching Water At The Spring
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Gloria At The Spring
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Gloria Enjoying Clean Water
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Happy Kids At The Spring
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Woman Enjoying Water
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Completed Spring
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Free Flowing Water
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Covid Precautions Sensitization
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Handwashing Demonstration
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Handwashing Demonstration
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Participant Demonstrating Dental Hygiene
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Participant Demonstrating Handwashing
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Participants Listen And Take Notes
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Question And Answer Session
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Victory A Community Health Volunteer
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Community Members Deliver Construction Materials By Hand
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Initial Site Clearence
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Excavation Process
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Slab Setting
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Brick Setting
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Wall Construction
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Pipe Setting
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Stairs Construction
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Stone Pitching
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Plastering
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Tile Setting
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Plastering
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Backfilling With Rocks
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Backfilling With Polythene
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Backfilling With Soil
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Grass Planting
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Final Site Clearence
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Current Water Source
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Fetching Water
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Fetching Water
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Fetching Water
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Leaving The Spring
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Water Storage
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Water Storage
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Having Some Water
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Getting A Drink
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Vegetable Farm
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Children Playing
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Clothes Drying On Ground
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Clothesline
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Dishrack
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Dishrack
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Farm
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Farm
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Farming
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Farming
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Gloria
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Homestead
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Homestead
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Kelvin Mahendere
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Posing Outside Their Home
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Land Scape
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Landscape
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Landscape
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Latrine
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Latrine
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Outside The Kitchen
The Water Project: Bukhakunga Community, Maikuva Spring -  Sugarcane Plantation

Project Status



Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 126 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 09/08/2021

Project Features


Click icons to learn about each feature.



“The water helps in doing most parts of the domestic work. But more often than not, it has put me at risk of being sick,” said Kelvin Mahendere, a 25-year-old farmer in Bukhakunga who depends on Maikuva Spring for water.

“More times than not, I have suffered from typhoid due to drinking this contaminated water,” added primary school-aged Gloria.

There is no doubt about it: water from Maikuva Spring is not fit to drink. 126 people in Bukhakunga depend on Maikuva Spring for all of their daily water needs, but in its exposed state the spring often hurts them more than it helps them. The most common contaminants in the water include farm chemicals, animal waste, and soil carried in with runoff from the rains. Animals walk straight through the water, drinking directly from the source and leaving their waste in the area. Algae and insects are daily issues to keep at bay while fetching water.

Community members say their most commonly reported water-related illnesses include typhoid, diarrhea, and amoeba. Time spent at home sick means time lost at work and on the farm, or in school for children. Families drain their resources seeking medical care, diverting money that was intended for other crucial needs such as business and farm investments, or their children’s school fees.

To fetch water at the spring, community members have managed to block in a pool of water using large stones. They also built up a small rock wall to stand on while they crouch down to reach the water, instead of standing directly in the water as they used to do. But the pooled water is shallow and has a muddy bottom, so people must carefully dip small jugs and bowls into the pool to then pour into their larger jerrycans.

Only 1 person can fetch at a time, and back-to-back fetching often stirs up the mud from the bottom, forcing people to wait for it to settle before fetching again. The entire process is time-consuming and frustrating, often leading to conflicts among community members as they argue over who dirtied the water. The longer people have to wait in line, the more time they miss on their other productive activities and daily routine such as farming, working, or doing homework among the children.

Accessing the spring is another challenge. The environment around the water point is bushy, easily hiding dangerous animals such as snakes or even people with ill intentions. Therefore it is not a very safe place for children, and especially girls, to come alone, particularly in the early morning or evening hours.

The village’s unity is being stretched thin and people’s potential limited at Maikuva Spring. But we can help, and the community is ready to make a change.

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


05/25/2021: Maikuva Spring Project Complete!

Bukhakunga Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Maikuva 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.

A woman fetches water from the protected spring.

"Before the installation of the water point, I suffered a lot from waterborne diseases. Now, I will be able to save the money that I have been using to treat waterborne diseases and invest in other activities," said Agnes, a farmer in the community and the new water user committee's elected Sanitation Officer.

"This water point will help me achieve sanitation duties in my house and around it. Now I can easily go about other activities because I won't be spending a lot of time at the water point."

Agnes holds a glass of clean water from the spring.

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

"Now, with access to clean water, I am no longer worried about waterborne diseases. I can easily go about my day-to-day cleaning activities with no problems. Before, I would frequently get sick, and that would mean money being spent on me. But now I am assured of clean, safe water," said a young Gloria.

"Now I am assured of more time to study with very little time being spent at the water point. This will, in turn, help improve my performance generally."

Gloria celebrates the spring.

Preparing for Spring Protection

Community members worked together to source and carried 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.

Women deliver construction materials to the spring site.

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. 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.

Laying the foundation

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.

Bricklaying

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.

Setting the pipe

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.

Stairs construction

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 slightly incline to ensure water flows in the right direction.

Rub wall underway

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 on that area, which could cause soil erosion and thus a clogged drainage area.

Plastering

We turned to cementing and plastering both sides of the headwall and wing walls with brickwork and stone pitching completed. 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.

Plastering

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.

Backfilling

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.

Backfilling

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.

Transplanting grass

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 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. 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.

Community members pose for a photo at the handing over of the spring.

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 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.

Handwashing training

When the day arrived facilitators, Patience Njeri and Valian Sachita deployed to the site to lead the event. Nine people attended the training, including the Community Health Volunteer and self-help group members. The attendance was not as expected because the village had recently lost one of their members, so most people had gone to the burial of the community member, which was taking place that day. We held the training outside under a tree where the area was well lit, had a good breeze, and where people could easily maintain physical distancing.

Victory, the area's Community Health Volunteer, attended the training.

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. We also left behind a rice sack painted with messages of COVID-19 prevention reminders in the local language.

Proper mask-wearing session

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. 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 community savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring and a cooperative lending group to enable members to develop small businesses.

Dental hygiene demonstration

Dental hygiene was the most memorable topic. Most of the members had experiences sharing how they have suffered one way or another from dental cavities and other dental problems. Most of them also did not understand how exactly they should brush their teeth or what toothpaste to use. It was interesting to discuss and illustrate what dental hygiene particularly entails.

Financial management was the second-best memorable topic. Most of the women were already in self-help groups where they raised money for different reasons. It was fun teaching them about table banking and saving for future use, the trainers reported.

Handwashing demonstration

"I have learned quite a lot that I didn't know too well, especially on financial management and the benefits of a self-help group. Now I know how to run table banking, and I hope to teach the rest of my group so that we can start one," said Agnes, a farmer who is also the elected Sanitation Officer of the new water user committee.

"I have also learned a lot on many issues, but most importantly on how to maintain the water point. I hope to be a good steward of the water point and will ensure I pass this knowledge to others."

Question and answer session

"In my house, I have a handwashing station where everyone has to wash their hands as often as possible before anything. Also, when leaving the house for the market or any meeting, I have to put on my mask," Agnes continued. She said one of the most valuable parts of the COVID-19 prevention session was "mask-wearing, and how to cough and sneeze. I had not really understood the importance of wearing my mask to cover my nose and mouth - most times. I'd put it under my chin. Also, I didn't know the importance of using my elbow to cough or sneeze, but right now, I do."

"We do intend to put on masks and put them on the right way. We will also ensure that we maintain physical distance in gatherings. We will also build handwashing stations in our homes to ensure frequent washing of hands."

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 : kenya21018-fetching-water-at-the-spring-2


04/20/2021: Maikuva Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Maikuva Spring is making people in Bukhakunga, 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 : kenya20186-fetching-water-4


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

1 individual donor(s)