Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/07/2024

Project Features

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The majority of people who live in Khabondi village are farmers. On a plantation-level scale, they grow sugarcane, yams, and maize for both home consumption and commercial sale. They also raise poultry and cattle, which is common in every household. Some Khabondi community members also practice brick-making. People in this area are very hardworking and self-reliant, which helps them to shoulder each other during times of challenges.

500 people in Khabondi depend on unprotected Wandati Spring as their primary year-round water source. Wandati Spring is located in a very green, vegetated area with trees and plants of different types growing on the fields and surrounding compounds.

The water crisis has a negative impact on the community since much time is wasted looking for clean water at the spring instead of going to their farms, other jobs, or school among the children.

The water source was once protected by community members, but they did not have all of the proper materials or technical expertise to secure the water point. Though some the cement wall with a discharge pipe in it remains from their work, they were not able to protect the spring's catchment area, where the water collects underground before coming out of the pipe. This means the water is not safe from contaminants and is still unsafe for drinking.

Because the water source is not secured, it is very open to all forms of contamination from both solid waste and surface runoff during the rainy season. Many cases of waterborne diseases have been reported in the area as a result of consuming the water from this source. When people are sick, no activities take place and this may lead to lagging behind in terms of development and even providing the basic necessities. Familise also have to use money for treatment which would have been spent on other vital needs leading to economic loss and lowered living standards.

"Sometimes I find it hard to try and drink the water from this source because when I think of the effects of consuming unsafe water, I feel tears going down inside my heart," said farmer Victor Wandati.

Accessing the spring is also difficult as there is no durable surface beneath the discharge pipe. Instead, community members stand in the mud and running water while fetching water. This is not only uncomfortable, but dangerous when it becomes difficult to exit the spring. Falls, spilled water, broken jerrycans, and injuries are not unheard of as a result of leaving the spring with water.

"It is had for me to access the water because it is slippery, especially during the rainy season, which makes me skid and fall down while carrying the water," recalled young Moses.

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. Therefore, protecting the spring and offering training and support will 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 training 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 which 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 to alter their practices at the personal, household, and community levels to affect change. This training will help ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance to make the most of their water points as soon as the 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 handling, storing, and treating water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it is consumed. The community and we 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 training 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 spring's operations and maintenance. 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: Wandati Spring Project Complete!

Khabondi Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Wandati 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.

"Water from the spring is now easy to access using the well-constructed stairs, and this will help me fetch water comfortably and reduce the time that I use to waste going far to look for protected water for drinking," said Adelaide Mapesa, a local farmer.

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

"Now that the water is protected and safe for drinking, I will carry it with me to my school and drink. I will not be sick anymore. I will have enough time to study in school and improve on my academic performance for better grades and results during exam periods," said Delqueen, a 7-year-old girl.

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.

During the handing-over ceremony, community members' facial expressions and songs of joy were evidence of their worries about protecting the spring being in the past. They sent greetings and thanks to The Water Project.

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.

A Wandati village elder went house-to-house in the community, creating awareness about the training. He wanted every household to be represented to ensure that no one would miss the information.

When the day arrived, facilitator Jacqueline Kangu deployed to the site to lead the event. Twenty-six people attended the training, including teachers and village health volunteers. We held the training at a nearby homestead. It was conducive to learning and had lovely flowers planted in the compound. Later, we moved to the spring to train about spring management and maintenance.

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.

"Wandati Spring training has been of great value to me since I have gained more knowledge about hygiene and sanitation as taught by the facilitators. This has created a positive impact on me since I will educate my family on the importance of hygiene and my village at large to ensure they have the knowledge. Also, the need to educate the generations to come," said Matilda Omutanyi, chairperson of the water committee.

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: Wandati Spring Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Khabondi 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: "Today, I get water without struggle."

September, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Khabondi 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 Wandati Spring was protected last year, finding water in Khabondi was challenging.

"It used to be very difficult. People used to go far to get water for drinking," said 16-year-old Joshua M.

But since the spring's protection, things are different for Joshua and he has been busy improving things.

"Today, I get water without struggle, as you only put a container [under the spout], and it's filled up in [a] few seconds without waiting for long," said Joshua.

"I have [a] flower nursery. I use the water from the spring to irrigate it," Joshua said. "I also give clean and safe water to the cows and goats at home."

With sufficient clean water at his disposal, there is no telling how bright Joshua's future may turn out to be.

Another community member Seraphine fills her water jugs at the spring with ease.

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 Khabondi 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 Khabondi 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.