Project Status



Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 140 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/02/2023

Project Features


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George Luvande Spring is found in the village of Chimoroni. The area is unique and beautiful because it lies almost at the foot of the Nandi Escarpment (a steep slope that separates land of two different heights), and is surrounded by plenty of plantations, providing a lush, green landscape.

The 140 community members live below the poverty level, and the majority are peasant farmers. They grow different small-scale crops mostly for consumption, with any surplus sold to meet daily needs.

The water crisis in this area makes people travel long distances in search of water. Community members only have this one water point located quite a distance from most of their homes. It is surrounded by sugarcane plantations, grazing fields, and plowed land, ready for maize planting.

According to Mrs. Luvande, during the dry season, when wells in the surrounding areas dry up, they face many overcrowding challenges at the spring, leading to long queues. A person has to wake up very early (by 6) to collect drinking water.

Sarah Makona, a local farmer, shared a similar complaint. "Currently, during the dry spell like it is now, a lot of people are coming from different places for drinking water. This makes the water point overcrowded, especially in the morning and evening hours. So you have to wake up very early in the morning to collect water for drinking and for household chores for you to get enough time for other day's activities."

Some of the greatest challenges with this spring are for a person to draw water, they must step into the water, and the water they take home is stagnant because the spring has no drainage around the collection point.

Isaac M., age 8, shared, "When you are sent collecting water in the morning from this spring when it's so cold, [it] makes me feel like crying because imagine you have to step in water for you to collect it. Moreso, if the queue is so long, you have to wait, and other people come late and have to draw water before you, and you can't complain of it."

Young children are also victims of waterborne and water-related diseases like typhoid when drinking water from this source, especially during the rainy season, when the water is exposed to even more contamination from area runoff.

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


04/11/2022: Chimoroni Community Spring Protection Complete!

Chimoroni Community now has access to clean water! We transformed George Luvande Spring into a flowing source of naturally filtered water thanks to your donation. Our team also trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these components will unlock the opportunity for community members to live better, healthier lives.

Community members at the spring.

Sarah Benson, a 42-year-old farmer, said, "Here, we are having lands which are very fertile but when there is [a] rain shortage, we then miss a lot of things which are basic in the family. Now that the water point is complete, my goal is to have [a] kitchen garden of vegetables which [I] can irrigate to serve my family. As well, I can sell the rest to my neighbors."

Sarah having a drink from the spring.

Children were just as excited as adults about the new waterpoint.

Derrick by the spring.

"Water ailments have been a challenge to us, especially me. I have been a victim of it severely. Accessing reliable, safe water will impact my life positively because I will not be missing going to school because of water ailments anymore," said Derrick M., 12.

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 material-collection process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.

When the community was ready, we sent a lorry to the community to deliver the remaining construction materials, including cement, plastic tarps, and hardware. Then, our construction 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 to help with the manual labor.

Community member moving a rock.

First, we cleared and excavated the spring area. Next, we dug a drainage channel below the spring and several runoff diversion channels above and around the spring. These help to divert surface contaminants away.

To ensure community members could still access water throughout the construction process, we also dug temporary channels from the spring's eye around the construction site. This allowed water to flow without disrupting community members' tasks 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 establishing the base, we started brickwork to build the headwall, wing walls, and stairs.

Once the walls had grown tall enough, we began one of the most crucial steps: setting the discharge pipe. The discharge pipe needs to be positioned low enough in the headwall so the water level never rises above the spring's eye, yet high enough to allow 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, backpressure could force water 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 stones on both sides of the spring's drainage channel. We then cemented and plastered each stone, forming the rub walls. These walls discourage people and animals from standing in that area, which could cause soil erosion and a clogged drainage area.

We then cemented and plastered 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 cured, we cemented and plastered the stairs and installed four tiles beneath the discharge pipe. The stairway was made so people could easily enter and exit the water point, especially the elders and young ones who have difficulty accessing it. The tiles protect the concrete from the falling water's erosive force while beautifying the spring and facilitating easy cleaning of the spring floor.

The final stage of construction is backfilling the reservoir box behind the discharge pipe. We cleared the collection box of any debris that may have fallen during construction. 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 water through the discharge pipe only.

We filled up the reservoir area with the large, clean stones community members had gathered, arranging them in layers like a well-fitting puzzle. We covered the rocks with a thick plastic tarp to minimize potential contamination sources, then piled enough dirt on top to compensate for future settling.

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. 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 the spring was ready, people got the okay from our field officers to fetch water.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

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 Jonathan Mutai, Amos Emisiko, Joel Otoya, and Mildred Mboa, deployed to the site to lead the event. In advance, the village elder had gone door to door to share details of the upcoming training. After receiving news that the forthcoming training would include soap making, one of the community women made several phone calls to her neighbors to promote it.

Participant taking notes.

Fifteen people, including 14 women and one man, attended the training. Unfortunately, several community men were out searching for day labor to feed their families and were unable to attend. We held the training at the homestead of George Luvande, the spring's namesake, under a shade tree.

Practicing hand washing.

We covered several other topics, including community participation in the project, leadership and governance, personal and environmental hygiene, water handling and treatment, spring maintenance, dental hygiene, the ten steps of handwashing, disease prevention, and how to make and use handwashing stations.

Lively training discussions.

During the leadership and governance session, we held an election for the newly formed water user committee leaders, who will oversee the maintenance of the spring. We also brainstormed income-generating activities. Community members can now start a group savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring and a cooperative lending group, enabling them to develop small businesses.

Learning how to make soap.

The soap-making session was interesting. Attendees enjoyed the demonstrations, and the session included a lot of discussions.

Sarah Benson, who was mentioned earlier and is a water committee member, shared her experience from the training. "Knowledge gained in the training will impact me positively," said Sarah.

Sarah (in the middle) with other water committee members.

She continued, "For instance, I wasn't having any idea concerning soap making. But since I [now] know how to make liquid soap, I will definitely venture into the business of soap making. And [I'll be] selling it to our local schools and am sure I will not remain the same."

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!




02/28/2022: Chimoroni Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Chimoroni 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

Protected Spring

In many communities, natural springs exist as water flows from cracks in rocky ground or the side of a hill.  Springs provide reliable water but that doesn’t mean safe. When left open they become contaminated by surface contamination, animal and human waste and rain runoff. The solution is to protect the source. First, you excavate around the exact source area of the spring. Then, you build a protective reservoir for water flow, which pours through a reinforced pipe in a concrete headwall to a paved collection area. Safe water typically flows year-round and there is very limited ongoing maintenance needed!


Contributors

3 individual donor(s)