Project Status



Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 170 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/30/2022

Project Features


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The 170 members of Muting'ong'o Community work and live together, producing the most sugarcane in western Kenya from their farms. The area is densely populated, with green vegetation as a crown, making it quiet and cool at the same time. But Muting'ong'o's success as a farming region has only been achieved despite not having a reliable source of clean and safe water.

Chivuyi Spring, where the community members come to collect water every day, is adjacent to one of these farms.

The water at the source is contaminated by the fertilizer used. Animals and passersby can contaminate the water easily.

"Fetching water from the spring during rainy season is not good, because all the dirty water is washed directly to the spring, making the water more dirty," said Jentrix Chivuyi, a community member drinking from the spring above.

Efforts by some community members to police the spring (preventing people from stepping in the spring, playing around it, or using unclean containers to scoop it) have only resulted in quarreling amongst the people who pride themselves on their unity on the field and outside it.

The community members work together as one and live together as one family. Especially during sugarcane harvesting. All the conflicts are set aside and they work together as one family.

But water quality is far from this spring's only problem. The still water can sometimes be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. And the terrain around the spring isn't safe.

"I fear fetching water at the spring because it's risky," said Emmanuel Sammy, a community member and farmer shown collecting water above. "Falling inside is easy because the surroundings are sometimes slippery."

The water is also dangerous for children, who are often tasked with fetching water for their parents. Residents told our field officers that youngsters have fallen into the spring while collecting water in the past. And once the children drink the water, they get sick.

"[Children] cough a lot after drinking the water from the source, especially during the rainy season," Jentrix said.

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


04/26/2022: Muting'ong'o Community Spring Protection Complete!

Muting'ong'o Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Chivuyi 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.

Alexander Chivuyi, 48, the spring's namesake, said, "I will drink water as often as possible without being worried of getting sick. This will keep us well hydrated and healthy."

Alexander.

Alexander continued to share how he hopes access to the protected spring will empower him in the future.

"Since waterborne and water-related illness will be a thing of the past, money that was used as hospital bills will be channeled to paying school fees and taking care of other family needs. During dry seasons, I will use clean water from the protected spring to water vegetables to be used by my family, and I will sell the surplus in order to earn an extra income to take care of my family.

"Thank you so much for considering our spring for protection. Pass our appreciation to the donors too. God bless you all," Alexander concluded.

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

Monica.

"I started fetching water from this spring from the age of three and it has been one of my scariest experiences," said Monica B., age 11. "But since we didn't have an alternative, my siblings and I would make several trips to the spring daily to fetch the dirty water."

"I am glad we now have clean water and drawing the water is safe and fast," Monica concluded.

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.

Community children helping collect project materials.

When the community was ready, we sent a lorry 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.

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.

Laying a foundation.

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.

Brickwork.

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.

Setting the discharge pipe.

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 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.

Collecting grass for transplanting.

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.

The completed spring.

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.

Our field officer shared about an elderly woman in the community who was very happy that their spring was finally protected.

Mrs. Jentrix Chivuyi, who is over 70 years old, said, "My family and I have suffered for [a] long [time] for lack of clean water, especially for drinking."

Jentrix at the spring.

She continued, "When you came and promised that you would protect our spring, I was excited, but at the same time I thought you might be making empty promises just like others had done before. The day cement was delivered, that is when I knew that you and your organization were serious. We are privileged to be one of the beneficiaries from your work through the donors' support. God bless you all.

"When God calls [me] home, I am glad that the people who will come to celebrate my life will have clean water to use and drink, too. My current family and the ones who are not yet born will not be affected by waterborne and water-related infections anymore. I am very grateful beyond words," said Jentrix.

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, Christine, Patience, Audrey, and David deployed to the site to lead the event. 11 people attended the training, including ten women and one man. We held the training at the compound of Mr. Chivuyi under trees, which provided enough shade for both the participants and facilitators.

Opening prayers.

We covered several 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.

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.

Soap-making was one of the most memorable topics covered during the training. As they were stirring the soap mixture the women sang and danced to express their excitement for having learned this new skill. They were very happy when the facilitators said they could divide up the liquid soap they had created to take home for free.

Nipher.

"This training has been very educative on matters to do with hygiene and sanitation. As a young mother, I will put into practice what I have learned today so that my family can lead a healthy life. We will take good care of the spring since we have been taught how to do so," said 22-year-old housewife and secretary of the newly formed water committee, Nipher Mukangai.

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!




03/14/2022: Chivuyi Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Muting'ong'o 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

Squee-G-Clean
11 individual donor(s)