Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 160 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/05/2024

Project Features

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Laban Ang'ata Spring is the only water source for 160 people in Shamoni, but its water is not safe for consumption. The spring is open and water collects in a muddy pool rife with algae, water plants, rotting leaves, and insects. Runoff from the rains carries farm chemicals, animal waste, and soil directly into the spring.

Community members have tried to improve their access to the spring by inserting a plastic pipe into a mud wall they built to try to force the water to flow. Though some water flows through the pipe, a lot is missed, slowing community members down as they wait for their jerrycans to fill. Sometimes the mud wall and pipe are washed away during heavy washout after storms, further slowing community members down as they have to rebuild the system and wait for the water to settle to begin fetching it again.

Because the pipe sits directly in the earth, it is consistently dirty and has its own algae, further contaminating the water people collect. The spring is also tricky to access as people must stand in the pool of water or on slippery rocks that sit beneath the installed pipe while they fetch.

The daily norm at Laban Ang'ata Spring is crowding and long lines as people wait their turn to fetch water. "Sometimes we scramble and fight to access the water due to congestion," said primary school student Victor.

"I have to wake up early to avoid congestion at the spring...Sometimes I am late preparing the children for school," said 71-year-old farmer Filista Ang'ata, who cares for her grandchildren at home.

Mama Ang'ata is not alone in her delayed schedule; anyone who gets stuck waiting in line at the spring finds their farm work, house chores, family care, and other activities delayed. But because every family needs the cleanest water possible to get through the day, women and children are required to prioritize going to the spring above all else. If fetching water were easier and faster, they would not have to sacrifice so much of their productive time each day to the task.

Time lost at the spring is compounded by the amount of time community members spend sick and trying to recover from their water-related illnesses after consuming this spring water. People here report frequent cases of stomach problems, sore throats, and diarrhea among families who depend on this spring. These water-related illnesses cost families dearly in financial resources as they pay for medicine and hospital visits. Adults lose time at work, and children have to stay home from school when they are sick. These waterborne illnesses are trapping entire families in cycles of limited opportunities, preventing them from reaching their goals and realizing their full potential.

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

September, 2021: Laban Ang'ata Spring Protection Project Complete!

Shamoni Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Laban Ang'ata 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 water project] was constructed, we used to have conflicts with the other members because of overcrowding, but now I'll be accessing water very fast," said Francis Shikomere, a local farmer and the secretary of the community's newly elected water user committee. "Having this water is of great benefit to me because I would like to start a fish farm that will enable me to raise money so that I can provide for my family's basic needs."

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

"Previously, I used to take a lot of time going to fetch water and it distracted [me from] my academics, but now I'll be using less time to collect water," said Ian, a 10-year-old student.

Ian fetching water.

Ian continued: "It will help me start my own garden, then plant vegetables and fruits. During [the] dry season, [I will be] able to sprinkle the garden, so [I] am not worried. These vegetables and fruits will be of great help to my family and the neighborhood."

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.

That's a lot of gravel.

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.

Precise measurements!

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. We officially handed over the spring to mark the community's ownership of the water point. There was no formal dedication, but the community members prayed over the spring before they fetched their first jerrycan of 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, Christine Luvandwa, and Samuel Simidi) deployed to the site to lead the event. 10 people attended the training, including eight women and two men. We were thankful to these community members for attending, as there was an unexpected funeral being held for another community member on the same day.

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.

One of the community members insisted that the pandemic was a curse from God and that everyone needs to repent their sins. Another participant told her to practice the precautions being taught at the same time as she repents, which made everyone laugh.

Illustrating a contactless greeting.

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.

For this group, dental hygiene was the most memorable topic. When the facilitator demonstrated how the teeth should be brushed, some community members confessed that they only brush their teeth once a day or when they're going on a journey. They were ashamed, and one of the participants said that it was due to ignorance and lack of knowledge.

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.

The chairperson of the new water user committee, Alphonce Ndombi, said, "By gaining some skills of soap-making, that would earn me a living if I would turn it into business. My family's living standards will change."

The group's new secretary, Melissa Masheti, has new business plans of her own. "The training helped me to know how to make my homestead clean. Also, [I] am going to start a small hotel because I have enough water, and this will remove me and my family from poverty."

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!

July, 2021: Laban Ang'ata Spring Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Shamoni Community 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: Spring Improves Hygiene and Unites Community!

September, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Shamoni Community 3.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shamoni Community 3 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!

Before we protected Laban Ang'ata Spring last year, the people of Shamoni were wasting time in line waiting for others to scoop water and suffering from numerous waterborne diseases.

"It was not easy to draw water from the spring," said 12-year-old Hilda. "I could take [a lot of] time at the spring because old people would not allow the children to draw water before them. In addition, much time was wasted at the spring."

But now, the spring's eye is protected from surface water and runoff contaminants, and water flows from an easy-to-use discharge pipe.

"There is no more queuing at the water point because it is easy now to fetch water," Hilda said. "I take [a] short time to take water home."

In the past year, Hilda has used this opportunity to improve her own personal hygiene.

"I have improved on the side of cleanliness: my body, clothes, and I wash my bedding weekly," Hilda said. "The protected spring provides clean, safe, and reliable water."

"[The] cases of waterborne diseases have reduced, hence [the] money used for medication is now used for other things," said another community member, 23-year-old Consolata. "[The] protection of the spring has also united [the] community members."

Consolata (left) and Hilda (right).

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 Shamoni Community 3 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 Shamoni Community 3 – 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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