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The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Drinking Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Elizabeth Carrying Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Elizabeth Drinking Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Elizabeth Fetching Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Elizabeth J
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Fetching Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Fetching Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Fetching Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Fetching Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Fetching Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Posing At The Water Point
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Sharon At Water Point
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Sipping Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Thumbs Up
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Celebrations
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Celebrations
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Celebrations
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Celebrations
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Celebrations
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Celebrations
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Celebrations
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Happiness
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Sharon
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Initial Site Measurement
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Excavation
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Excavation
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Drainage Channel Opening
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Slab Setting
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Slab Setting
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Slab Marking
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Bricksetting
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Bricksetting
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Brickwork
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Brickwork
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Brickwork
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Brickwork
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Brickwork
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Diversion Channel
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Pipe Setting
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Pipe Setting
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Staircase Construction
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Stone Pitching
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Stone Pitching
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Plastering
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Plastering
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Plaque Inscription
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Tile Setting
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Backfilling
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Backfilling
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Backfilling
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Grass Planting
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Cut Off Drainage
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Fencing
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Fencing
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Fencing
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Flowing
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Point
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Prayers
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Handwashing
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Handwashing
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Handwashing
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Handwashing
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Onsite Training
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Onsite Training
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Oral Hygiene
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Oral Hygiene
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Soapmaking
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Soapmaking
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Soapmaking
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Soapmaking
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Soapmaking
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Training In Progress
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Training In Progress
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Handling
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Handling
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Handling
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Treatment Sodis
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Treatment Sodis
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Treatment Sodis
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Dishrack
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Dishrack
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Elizabeth Jacob
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Fetching Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Fetching Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Fetching Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Fetching Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Fetching Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Firewood Inside Kitchen
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Heading Home
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Inside Kitchen
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Latrine
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Latrine
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Maize Plantation
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Outside Kitchen
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Scooping Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Scooping Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Sharon J
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Spring Landscape
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Spring Landscape
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Starting Journey Back
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Uphill
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Source
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Storage Containers
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Source
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Carrying Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Clothesline
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Feeding The Cow
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Heading Home
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Scooping Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Scooping Water
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Sharon J
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Spring Landscape
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Source
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Water Source
The Water Project: Shitirira Community 3 -  Bathing Shelter

Project Status



Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 245 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features


Click icons to learn about each feature.



Some of Shitirira Community’s 245 people live an hour’s walk away from John Murumba Spring, which is their only option for water. With multiple trips’ worth of water needed each day, community members can waste an inordinate amount of time just getting the water they need to drink and accomplish daily tasks like cooking and cleaning.

During the daytime, the spring becomes crowded with many community members jostling for a place to scoop water. This is because John Murumba Spring is the only water point around that continues flowing through the dry season. So although the water is open to the elements (and any/all forms of contamination), it is still high in demand.

After all the time wasted in getting to the spring and waiting to draw water, the water still makes Shitirira Community members sick. The most prevalent illness in Shitirira is typhoid.

“In my own family, my husband has been taking medicine for typhoid [for] almost one year now without recovering,” said Elizabeth J., 46, a local businesswoman (pictured above, in her kitchen.) “He is not recovering. We are using a lot of money on medication.”

And in this community, Elizabeth’s story isn’t unique. Nearly every community member we spoke with mentioned being unable to afford the high costs of medication. Most community members earn meager incomes through farming and raising dairy cows. Not enough for them to pay for a spring protection on their own.

“I just feel bad when I go to [the] unprotected spring to draw water,” said Elizabeth’s daughter, Sharon, who is 16 (pictured below at the spring). “The spring is open to contamination. Everyone comes with his or her container and immerses [it] inside the water, thus contaminating the water, making it unsuitable for human consumption.

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


11/01/2022: Shitirira Community Spring Protection Complete!

Shitirira Community now has access to clean water! We transformed John Murumba 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.

"This water point will undoubtedly promote my access to clean, safe drinking water. This will therefore go a long way in ensuring that my family and I live a healthy life," said 48-year-old farmer Elizabeth J.

Elizabeth collecting water.

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

"I can now take a sigh of relief. People will not be dipping their dirty containers in the water anymore. With this water point done, I will be able to live a healthy life devoid of any water-related illnesses. This will help me concentrate on the other aspects of life," said 16-year-old Sharon K.

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.

Backfilling the reservoir box with stones.

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.

Planting grass.

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 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.

The dedication was marked by ululations (long, wavering, high-pitched vocal sounds) from the community members, especially the women who have been suffering to access water. The celebration culminated in a shared community meal at the Water User Committee chairman’s home.

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 Elvis and Samuel deployed to the site to lead the event. 20 people attended the training, including 13 women and seven men. We held the training under a tree at the homestead of one of the water users.

Opening prayer.

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.

Onsite training at the spring.

"The training was extremely valuable to me and to the community as a whole. Especially from the hygiene discussions, we have learned a lot [and] the impact of this new knowledge will sure be long-term. Going forward, the teachings we received in the area of hygiene, both personal and environmental, will be followed for our own good. This will ultimately lead to the general improvement of the hygiene and sanitation levels of our immediate environment," said Elizabeth J.

Soap-making session.

Participants were fascinated by the fact that one can make soap in the comfort of their home during the soap-making training session. They were attentive and actively took part in the process. Their zeal to learn was motivated by the soaring retail prices of soap and the poor quality of liquid soap being offered in the market.

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!


The Water Project : kenya22098-0-fetching-water-7


09/14/2022: Shitirira Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Shitirira 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!


The Water Project : 1kenya22098-scooping-water-7


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 - St. Therese Foundation