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: 11/03/2022

Project Features


Click icons to learn about each feature.



Lutali village sits near the border of the Nandi Escarpment along the edge of the Rift Valley of Western Kenya. The area is cool and beautiful, containing traditional homes made of mud walls, grass-thatched roofs, and occasional cement homes.

Community members rely majorly on farming for their livelihood, and thankfully the area receives enough rainfall to favor the growth of different types of crops. Sugarcane is grown as a cash crop, and maize, beans, groundnuts, cassava, and sweet potatoes are grown for subsistence. Animals like goats, sheep, and cows are kept to help provide milk for family use and sell.

Mulanda Chibole spring, the water source for this community of 140, is in a hilly and rocky area surrounded by a sugarcane and arrowroot (white, powdery starch) plantation. It is an open water source that is unsafe for consumption because of contamination from people, animals, and nearby runoff.

"I personally have spent a lot of my resources seeking medication on water-borne diseases either for me or my kids. It has been attributed to using fetched water from our water point for drinking," said Martin Chibole, farmer, 42.

Located far away from residential homes and farming plots, people have to walk long distances to access the water. Once they reach the water, it is hard for users to collect because they must scoop it with a small container which is tiresome and time-consuming.

"Fetching water here is very hectic because you have to step in water even when it is so cold in the morning. When you have put on sandals, you have to remove it before fetching water. Besides that, scooping water carefully using a smaller container is so tiresome," said Sharlyne M., age 11.

The area experiences acute water crises during drought periods when community members have to wake up very early in the morning to evade long queues. Because this area is rocky, digging wells is a great challenge. Community members can only fully rely on the spring.

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


04/14/2022: Lutali Community 3 Spring Protection Complete!

Lutali Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Mulanda Chibole 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.

"Access to reliable, safe water from this water point will translate to good health, not only to me alone but also to members of my family who depend on me," said 62-year-old Chrishom Mulanda, a retired police officer. "It also translates to no wastage of resources on medication because we are accessing safe water free from disease-causing microorganisms."

Chrishom at the spring.

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

Linet at the newly protected spring.

"Access to water will help me concentrate on my studies because I will not be missing school as a result of water-related ailments," said 13-year-old Linet N. "I will be having enough time for studies and this will translate [to] good performance."

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 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 Jonathan Mutai, Rose Serete, and Nelly Chebet deployed to the site to lead the event. 20 people attended the training, including 15 women and five men. We had more people attend than we expected, given that the training was held on a market day. The high attendance demonstrated the community members' commitment to improving their health in the future.

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.

A participant uses a newly built tippy-tap handwashing station.

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.

"Training was of great value to me because I learned how face masks [are] made locally," said Linet. "It very easy as well as cheap because you only need a piece of cotton fabric to make it. More so, it's economical as it is reused after washing it."

Lutali's community members liked the section of training that covered soap-making the best. Our field agents said you could have heard a pin drop when the facilitator introduced the topic. It was something that community members had not come across before. They recognized that soap-making could help them generate income. They asked plenty of questions about both the ingredients and the process.

"The training come at the right time," said Chrishom. "I have been thinking of business ideas which can make me busy in my retirement as well as getting something small to put on the table. The knowledge will help me generate income through making and selling liquid soap. If not, definitely I [will] have to be selling soap reagents to my community."

Another topic that Lutali enjoyed was dental hygiene, during which they teased one community member by volunteering him to demonstrate brushing his teeth for the group. He shyly admitted to the training facilitators that he had never purchased a toothbrush or toothpaste in his life and had never brushed his teeth before. So facilitators showed him the correct method, and everyone learned something in the process.

A community member demonstrates brushing teeth with a branch from a toothbrush tree.

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: Lutali Community 3 Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Lutali Community 3 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 Videos


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

Erick's Hope