Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 105 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 08/21/2023

Project Features

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Serving 105 community members in Chimoroni, Ezekiel Mmasi Spring is found deep in the rural areas of Malava sub-county. The roads here are passable only during the dry season. People living here farm for a living, but they are challenged with their small parcels of land due to land fragmentation. This makes it hard for families to meet even their basic needs because they have not advanced in agriculture.

As a result, some people seek casual labor jobs each morning such as weeding or harvesting and loading harvested sugarcane into tractors, ferrying it to the local factory, to make ends meet. Still others head to the large River Iskhu to harvest sand and fish for their living. Most homes here are mud-walled and roofed with grass hatching.

With no other source of nearby drinking water, families here have no choice but to consume the highly contaminated water from the unprotected spring.

"As I stepped onto an off-cut (log) used in drawing water, I saw frogs jumping up and down. And at one corner of the spring, floating there was a rotten seed of a mango. Besides that, the water source was full of dirt and green algae. I, personally, will not drink the water from this water source unless something more is done," recorded Field Officer Jonathan Mutai upon visiting Ezekiel Mmasi Spring for evaluation.

Animals drink directly from the spring, and runoff from the rains carry dirt, animal waste, and farm chemicals directly into the pool where people fetch water. To fetch the water,  people must gently part the algae, trying not to stir up any muck from the bottom, and submerge their jerrycans into the water. This also brings any dirt and bacteria from their hands and containers into the water. Women and children have to wake up very early each morning to go fetch water before commencing any other activities in an effort to fetch the cleanest water possible. Still, they know the water is unsafe for drinking.

"For us, we have a great challenge using this water point because, after fetching water, you have to filter it using a clean piece of cloth which is so tedious," explained Florence Were Munandi.

Accessing the spring is not easy. Community members placed several off-cuts, or pieces of wood, across the spring's edges to help them perch while fetching water. Still, it is a tricky and slippery place difficult to balance on, especially for children, the elderly, and women who are pregnant.

"The water point is very risky to children like me because, for us, we have to strain in order to reach or collect water. More so, the green algae is a great challenge to us because you have to be careful so as not to collect it in the process. At times, it almost covers the entire water source," said young Shaline.

Even sieving the water for algae and other particles does not prevent its contamination. The dirty spring water puts community members at risk of contracting waterborne diseases, which are expensive to treat and prevent them from other productive work while they recover.

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: Ezekiel Mmasi Spring Project Complete!

Chimoroni Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Ezekiel Mmasi 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.

"Definitely, my family and I will not be prone to waterborne and water-related diseases anymore. Besides that, my finances will not go to waste in seeking medication either for myself or my family member. I am sure to do tangible development now," said Ezekiel Mmasi, a local farmer.

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

"I will not be missing school like when the water point had not been protected. It was exposed to contamination, and the drinking water fetched during some seasons could definitely cause you to contract water-borne diseases which hinder you from doing routine activities. Since I will not be wasting much of my time fetching water, I am certain to perform well in school," said Shalyne Mmasi, a 9-year-old female student.

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 prevent people and animals from standing in 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. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day flowing in all directions.

Community members welcomed the project with open arms. They hope to improve their standard of living with the finances previously wasted treating water-borne diseases that can now be re-directed to other developments.

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 Nelly Chebet and Amos Emisiko deployed to the site to lead the event. Fourteen people attended the training, including village health volunteers. We held the training at Ezekiel Mmasi homestead under a shade tree. The venue was chosen because it was spacious enough to accommodate all the participants and adhere to COVID-19 protocols.

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 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 was of great value to me in particular because it has really helped me learn much on sanitation and hygiene. More so, I wasn't aware of the ten steps of handwashing, and it will impact me positively. Now, I will not only remove dirt from my hands but also curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus," said Ezekiel Mmasi.

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: Ezekiel Mmasi Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Ezekiel Mmasi Spring is making people in Chimoroni, 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.

A Year Later: More Time to Read!

November, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Chimoroni 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!

Before we protected Ezekiel Mmasi Spring, collecting water in Chimoroni was dangerous and time-consuming. Community members drank contaminated water, even though they knew it made them ill.

"I one day fell and hurt my arm when fetching water at the unprotected spring after rains had rained. I was also wasting time queuing at the water point, time that could be used to read," said nine-year-old Shirlyne M.

But a year later, Shirlyne's day looks much different.

"I no longer queue to get water. I also don’t hurt myself when fetching water, no matter the weather situation. I also don’t fall sick from flu," Shirlyne said. "I have enough time to read, and I have improved in school."

With more time to focus on other things like reading, who knows how bright Shirlyne's future will be?

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 Chimoroni 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 Chimoroni 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.


Charitas Fund
2 individual donor(s)