Project Status



Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 280 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/16/2023

Project Features


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All 280 people of Lutonyi village depend on Mmasi Lusinde Spring.

Some community members wear tall boots to fetch water because people must stand in the murky water while they fill a container. During the rainy season, the surrounding area becomes muddy and slippery, causing fetchers to fall. During the dry season, the water slows to a trickle. Either way, fetching water eats up time the community members can't spare.

"Every day, I have to be up as early as 4 a.m. so I can avoid the long queue at the water point," said local farmer Christine Agasa, 49 (pictured above). "But even then, I find people who are already there, and so I have to wait 'til my turn comes. This is usually a very rigorous and tiresome experience."

And for children who fetch water before leaving for school, this everyday delay has consequences beyond just wasted time. "Sometimes I have to be up as early as 5am so as to be at the water point early enough to get water for my use before I leave for school," said Eric W., 18 (pictured above). "Sometimes, I find a lot of people waiting. This, in turn, causes me to be late for school and leads to me being punished."

If time wastage were the spring's only problem, it would be bad enough. But the water at this open source is also contaminated, leaving the people who drink it sick with typhoid, bilharzia, and chronic diarrhea. For a community whose roads become impassable during the rainy season, these sicknesses can have tragic consequences for those who can't travel for treatment.

With a protected spring, people will have an easier time accessing the spring, which will reduce the time they have to wait for water each day. Drinking clean water will lower or eradicate water-related illness and free up their energy for more productive things than staying alive or standing in line.

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


10/05/2022: Lutonyi Community Spring Protection Complete!

Lutonyi Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Mmasi Lusinde 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.

"Since [the] time spent at the spring to fetch water at the spring has been reduced, I will get time to work on the farm and also look for paid work to support my family financially," said 25-year-old farmer Eric Musambai.

Eric.

Eric continued: "Stairs have been installed on both sides of the protected spring, which has solved the problem of congestion and falls at the spring. I don't have to step in the mud while fetching water. Typhoid and diarrhea will no longer affect us because water is clean and free from contamination."

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

"This water point is very clean, which gives me an assurance that the discharging water is clean, too. This will improve our hygienic conditions and drastically lower cases of water-related illnesses, which [affected] my school attendance negatively," said 12-year-old Faith L.

Faith collects water.

Faith continued: "It is my responsibility as a girl to assist my mother to fetch water every morning and evening. It used to be tiresome to wait in the queue for my turn to fetch water, but now that our spring is protected, it is faster than before. No more getting late for school and in the evenings, I go fetch water and still finish my homework on time."

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

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 their local field officers to fetch water.

We officially handed the spring over to Lutonyi community members in the presence of the community administrator and the village elder signifying the community's ownership of the water point.  Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

Field officer Christine, right, shakes hands with community members to hand over the spring.

Training on Health, Hygiene, 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 and relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

When the day arrived, facilitators Christine, Rose, and Mildred deployed to the site to lead the event. 20 people attended the training, including 13 women and seven men. We held the training at community member Mr. Msambayi's homestead under some shade trees.

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.

Training participants.

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.

Esborn (black and white shirt) takes notes during training.

"It gives me so much joy to know that we are not only beneficiaries of a professionally protected spring but also of [the] knowledge about proper hygiene and sanitation. Knowledge on [my] personal, environmental, and water hygiene will reduce cases of diseases like malaria, diarrhea, typhoid, H-pylori, and bilharzia," said 57-year-old farmer Esborn Msambayi. "This will improve our economic growth through making soap for home use and for sale."

Operation and maintenance of the water point was one of the most memorable training sessions. The trainers highlighted the rules and regulations that govern the operation and maintenance of the spring, and the community administrator and village elder spoke up to encourage community members to follow the rules.

Operation and maintenance of the spring session.

Conclusion

This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members themselves. 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 their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In our target areas, we’re working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!




08/08/2022: Lutonyi Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Lutonyi 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

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 Underwriter - TGB Caring with Crypto