Project Status



Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 175 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/30/2022

Project Features


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In Sundolo B Community, it's the children who suffer the most health issues from the contaminated water. Chronic cough, diarrhea, skin rashes, and typhoid are all causing emotional and financial strain on the community's 175 people.

"Getting clean water is a challenge because the water is always dirty," said Beatrice Mukangai, 50. "As a mother, [I] am always so stressed thinking about the well-being of my family until I forget other important things."

The spring provides plenty of water, which the community members see as a blessing compared to those they know who don't have any source of water. However, the health consequences of drinking water from Christopher Lumbasi Spring make this a mixed blessing at best.

"I know that water is a blessing," explained Erick L., who is ten years old (pictured below at the spring). "But, to me, the situation is different. My siblings and I are always sick, and when we visit the hospital, we are told the cause is taking contaminated water."

And if the health consequences weren't enough, the spring also suffers from overcrowding, which adds a lot of waiting time into community members' schedules, and a slippery, steep access point.

The people of Sundolo B added an improvised discharge pipe in an attempt to speed up the water collection process, but still find themselves all sharing (and drinking from) the same water-scooping container instead.

The spring is open, which makes it available to any and all sources of contamination: livestock, wildlife, farming fertilizer, and, of course, people.

"I pray that the spring will be protected and all these problems will be put to an end," Erick concluded.

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


04/12/2022: Sundulo Community Spring Protection Complete!

Sundulo Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Christopher Lumbasi 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.

Grace Mukangai, a local farmer, is looking forward to an easier future. "[The spring] will enable me to do other things as a mother, because I have dedicated all my energy to fetching water. Now is the time to channel my energy somewhere else. I will focus on improving my business of selling vegetables and cereals because I have no worries of how I will get clean water anymore."

Grace at the spring with her baby.

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

Mukangai carries full jerrycans of clean water.

"I will no longer get sick from the waterborne diseases," said Mukangai. "I will have enough time to do my homework. I used to waste a lot of time at the spring. Now that clean and safe water is flowing, I will not be spending much time at the spring."

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.

Locals bring materials to the construction site.

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.

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 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 Olivia Bomji, Samuel Simidi, and Amos Emisiko deployed to the site to lead the event. 19 people attended the training, including 11 women and eight men. We held the training outside under a shady tree.

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.

"We will ensure that every household has a hand washing station which will enable them to wash hands frequently," said Christopher Lumbasi, a farmer and the spring's namesake. "We will also not forget to put on our masks because it is one of the ways to protect ourselves."

Christopher at the training.

Environmental hygiene was the most memorable topic in Sundulo. The participants admitted they had not kept their environment clean and habitable. They promised to keep their compounds clean by changing habits ad ensuring that each household has a latrine, dish rack, clothesline, and compost pit.

"The training has helped me to learn a lot concerning general sanitation and hygiene," said 56-year-old Mary Lukecho, who was elected as the water user committee secretary. "The knowledge I have received has made me understand the true meaning of sanitation and hygiene and how important it is in our daily lives."

Mary at the spring.

When we took participants down to the spring and explained how to properly maintain the area, community members talked about how they had been praying every day to get someone to help them protect the spring because they had suffered for so long. Now that the spring is protected, they will not allow anybody to mess with the water point. They promised to take care of the spring like they would a small baby.

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: Sundulo Community 2 Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Sundulo 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

Project Sponsor - Scandinavians for Life
1 individual donor(s)