Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/09/2024

Project Features

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Sundulo B is rural community sprinkled with huge rocks within families' compounds and farms despite the place not being hilly. The rocks capture one's attention when moving through this village. A bumpy earth road leads to the Sundulo shopping center from where one can now walk to reach unprotected Luvisia Spring, which currently serves 300 people in the area. Homes here are semi-permanent structures, and the high vegetation in this village makes it green to the eye. The roads passing within the village are merely footpaths. Community members practice commercial and subsistence crop farming in addition to rearing dairy livestock. Some people also engage in small-scale business at Sundulo shopping center.

Luvisia Spring is open to contamination. Though once partially protected, the work was not done to standard and has since fallen into disrepair, jeopardizing the water's safety and quality. The community members have hours set aside for fetching water each morning and evening because that is when the water is less contaminated, they say. This has affected scheduling morning and evening hours for any other chore apart from fetching water.

Despite these preferred hours, the water is not safe for consumption at any time of day. To fetch water, women and children dip small jugs into the murky pool of water to then pour into their larger jerrycans. The process is time-consuming and tiring. The more people who fetch the water in succession, the more mud and sand get stirred up in the water.

"There is nothing as terrible as knowing that you are consuming dirty water, yet there is nothing you can do about it. The outcome is always devastating, especially among the young children. As a mother, this affects me so much seeing my children sick and helpless," said Jean Satia.

"It's not easy fetching water from this water point. The work involved in it - scooping and filling the container - is tiresome. It denies me time to play with my friends," said young Festus.

When people contract waterborne diseases from the spring, families drain their little financial resources paying for medicine. When sick, kids have to stay home from school and adults miss out on their productive time, compounding the time lost scooping water at the unprotected spring every day.

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

July, 2021: Luvisia Spring Project Complete!

Sundulo B Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Luvisia 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.

"During my free time in the evening hours, I have a little business at our shopping center when I am done with my farm work. Fetching water from the old water source used to consume my time before I opened my business. It's going to be easy now after this spring protection. My small business can blossom now," said Jean Satia.

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

"The water fetching work has been made easier. It's a matter of just placing the container, waiting for it to fill up, then carrying it home. I'll be able to play with my friends now," said Festus L.

This community is a hard-working group of people. Within a concise period of time, they mobilized and provided the locally available materials for this project. They were also able to give our artisan all the support needed to see the project completed.

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

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.

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. Mr. Henry Lukamasia led the community members in a thanksgiving prayer at the site. 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.

When the day arrived, facilitators Lillian Achieng and Olivia Bomji deployed to the site to lead the event. Sixteen people attended the training, including community-based leaders. We held the training at the homestead of one of the participants, sitting under shade trees.

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.

Salt can be used to brush teeth

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.

"The training has really given me a new awakening, especially on matters of hygiene. I have learned the correct way of brushing my teeth and at what times to brush. I have had cavity issues, and I believe this will be of great help," commented Henry Lukamasia, a 60-year-old farmer.

"Mask making has been the most helpful part of the training. My grandchildren have had to go to school sometimes without masks simply because I can't afford to buy a new mask every single day. With this training, I'll be able to make masks for them to keep them safe while in school," said Joyce Lukamasia.

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!

June, 2021: Luvisia Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Luvisia Spring is making people in Sundulo B, 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!

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: Community Living a Happy Life!

August, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

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

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Last year before Luvisia Spring was protected, collecting water was challenging.

"Our main water source was open to contamination," said 58-year-old farmer Timonah Luvisia. "It had been protected earlier (an attempt was made by another entity), but the workmanship was poor, which exposed the water to contamination. It was not easy fetching water from this water point. Scooping and filling the container was tiresome."

But now, things are different, and collecting water is not such a tedious chore for Timonah. She said, "[I] am no longer worried about drawing water. This is because any time I need water, I just ask my grandchildren to go and fetch water, and [I] am confident that the water is clean and safe."

Another benefit for those using the improved water source besides saving time is better health.

"Initially, the water users complained of water-related diseases among both old and young," Timonah said. "But now that is not the case. [Community] members are living [a] healthy life, and they are sure that [the] water is safe for human consumption and the rate of waterborne diseases has gone down."

Timonah (center) with fellow community member Naomi (left) and TWP staff member (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 Sundulo 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 Sundulo B Community – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

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