Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 460 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/05/2024

Project Features

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It has been decades since the 460 people in the Luyeshe North Community started relying on Tom Mulanda Spring for water, but a myriad of challenges have built up over time with most remaining unsolved.

This has seen the elderly suffering from physical damage while accessing water while the expectant mothers have to look for alternative sources, digging deep into their pockets for the safety of their unborn children.

The unprotected spring is open to all types of contaminants that flow into the spring with runoff from the rains. Animal waste, farm chemicals, trash, and soil are the main contaminants, along with the green algae that is a constant companion in the water. The soil poses an extra challenge at the spring, which looks like just a shallow stream. Sometimes there is so much eroded soil carried into the water that community members have to dig it out to remove it from the spring so there is enough room to collect water again. It also takes a long time for the water to settle after stirring it up in this process. The rainy season only heightens the level of pollution washed into the water.

To fetch water from Tom Mulanda Spring, community members submerge their containers as much as possible directly against the ground, then top them off using smaller jugs to scoop water to then pour into their lager jerrycans. The process is time-consuming and tiring, and it easily stirs up more dirt and sand into the water. People's containers and hands dunked into the water also add any dirt or bacteria that were on them directly into the water they are collecting.

To reach the deepest part of a small pool the community tries to maintain for fetching, most people have to straddle the water - a task particularly difficult for small children, women who are pregnant, and the elderly.

Lines and crowding at the spring are part of the daily routine of fetching water. These, in turn, lead to a lot of wasted time at the spring and less time for other work and activities. People are already going as fast as they can, but fetching water too fast stirs up more sand in the water. The process is simply inefficient.

Community members said they find it difficult to grow and empower themselves due to the time taken in collecting water.

"I am a farmer practicing both livestock production and growing crops, which is my area of specialization, and due to unclean water used by my animals there has been a decrease in production, and most of the time the animals are infected by flukeworms," said 40-year-old farmer Charles Wandabwa.

"My health standards have highly deteriorated causing me to boil the water before drinking it to avoid waterborne infections, which contribute to a high level of poverty as many people spend the little money they have to seek medication. Last but not least, there is a lot of time-wasting as this source offers services to the entire population," Charles added.

Indeed, many people here reported frequent cases of cholera, bilharzia, typhoid, and even skin rashes after consuming the spring water or using it for bathing. But most households cannot afford to spare the extra firewood or time it takes to boil water before drinking it, and fewer people can afford purchasing water treatment methods from the market. Each day spent at home sick means less productive work among adults and fewer school days for children, causing them to fall behind.

"Life has not been good since I was born in this community," said primary school-aged student Stephen.

"Challenges have occurred, weakening my ability to concentrate on my studies as I spend more time collecting water due to its daily need. Good hygiene practices cannot be achieved by using water which is unprotected, thus giving me a hard time as I have to reuse my school uniform and even bathing is not done daily."

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

August, 2021: Tom Mulanda Spring Project Complete!

Luyeshe North Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Tom Mulanda 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.

Mr. Peter Juma, village elder

"Access to clean and safe water will promote good health and long life, therefore minimizing frequent visits to the hospital seeking treatment. It will also empower individuals as the little money they have will be used for development purposes," said Mr. Peter Juma, village elder.

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

"Achieving my academics and attaining my dream in this life is due to access to clean and safe water," said Simon W., age 14.

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

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.

Training on spring maintenance

When the day arrived, facilitators Victor Musemi, Janet Kayi, and Catherine Chepkemoi deployed to the site to lead the event. Twenty people attended the training, including village health volunteers and community-based leaders. We held the training outside under a shade tree because it was sunny and warm. This allowed us to maintain COVID-19 safety measures and have room for practical demonstration purposes.

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 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 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.

Student Simon W. commented, "The skills acquired at the training will really change the hygiene standards of our community. We are going to train others at the community level and at home too."

Young and old alike found the training helpful.

"The training was very important to us. We have acquired knowledge which will help us in ensuring the safety standards of hygiene are maintained in the community and also train other upcoming generations," said farmer Peter Juma.

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: Tom Mulanda Spring Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Luyeshe North 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: Reliable water saves time!

August, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Luyeshe North Community 2.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Luyeshe North Community 2 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!

"Previously, to get water from this spring was so challenging, especially during [the] rainy season," 12-year-old Rigan shared.

"This is because all the germs were being swept into the spring, and because there was no other source of water, I used to drink the water from this source, thus resulting [in] me [contracting] water-borne disease, which was affecting my health."

But since the spring in Rigan's community was protected last year, things are different.

"[The] reliability of water from this spring has impacted me positively because I am now drinking safe, clean water. Moreso, I am no longer being affected by water-related diseases," said Rigan.

"As a young boy who is still studying, my plan is to improve in academic performance as education is a key to success," Rigan said. "This is [possible] because I am no longer wasting a lot of time fetching water, thus [now when I'm] fetching water, within a few seconds, my jerrycan is full."

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 Luyeshe North Community 2 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 Luyeshe North Community 2 – 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.


1 individual donor(s)