Project Status



Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/10/2024

Project Features


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David Andika Spring is vulnerable to contamination and in disrepair, but for the 350 people who rely on it for daily water, there is no other viable water source in their area to choose from.

"The water is dirty and not safe for human consumption. Cases of typhoid have been reported in several homesteads in this community. Personally, I find it difficult to drink this water," our field officer Jacklyne Chelagat said.

Sixty-year-old farmer Julius Ndumbu, shown below at the spring, shared, "Waterborne diseases [such as] typhoid are like part and parcel of my family. The disease has formed a merry-go-round in my home, moving from one person to the other. [I] am a troubled man, drained both emotionally and economically."

The spring faces several issues. The stairs and spring floor are crumbling, and the area is overgrown. The collection box does not drain properly, and stagnant water collects at the drawing point, making it difficult to get water with ease. The overflow of water makes the surrounding area very muddy and slippery challenging access for water users.

To top it all off, the water point is also overcrowded and costing community members valuable time, which they can not afford to lose.

"During the drought season, this is the only spring that serves all homesteads in our village. At such a time, I rush to the spring hurriedly hoping to fetch water and rush to school. Unfortunately, with the state of our spring, I spend so much time and go to school late," said 15-year-old Daisy, shown below.

"Having listened to community members and seeing how they access their water. It's enough evidence to show that this community is needy and in dire need of our support," concluded Jacklyne.

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 and More

To hold training, 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.

The training will focus on improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits in this community. 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


May, 2023: Bulupi Community Spring Protection Complete!

Bulupi Community now has access to clean water! Thanks to your donation, we transformed David Andika Spring into a flowing source of naturally filtered water. We also installed a chlorine dispenser to provide added protection and 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 safe and clean water will go a long way in increasing my lifespan. I anticipate good health and massive development in the community. Apart from consuming clean and safe water, I have acquired new skills on soap making. My husband and I are planning on how to raise capital to start making soap and selling it to learning institutions and dispensaries around," said 59-year-old farmer Gladys Nechesa.

Gladys at the spring.

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

"[I] am in grade seven, and for the last week, I have been at home due to being sick [with] diarrhea and [a] lack of school fees. Access to clean water will put a stop to the frequent diarrhea. [And] on the other hand, the skills acquired on soap making by my grandparents (during the training) will help [them] earn money to cater for my school fees," said 13-year-old Belinda P.

Belinda collecting water.

Belinda continued, "[The] protection of this spring will address my needs appropriately [and] this water point will increase my class attendance and curb the rate of absenteeism that [I experienced] previously. Now I will comfortably attend all my class lessons, and this will automatically improve my academic 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 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 truck 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.

Beginning excavation.

To ensure community members could still access water throughout the construction process, we also dug temporary channels around the construction site from the spring's eye. 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, 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, which prevents cross-contamination.

Setting the collection pipe.

If we place the discharge pipe too high above the spring's eye, back pressure 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 the 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.

Building the walls to protect the access point.

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 close all other exits to force water through only the discharge pipe.

Boys watch the artisan backfill the spring box.

We filled 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 thick plastic 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. 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 completed spring.

The 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.

"Implementing [the] spring project in this community was smooth and easy. Women came up in large numbers to assist in cooking meals for the artisans, [and the] contribution of local materials was easily mobilized. Men came up in large numbers to assist the skilled artisan. [The] entire implementation period was fun, and community members didn't want us to leave," said field officer Jacklyne Chelagat.

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.

Community members happy for clean water!

"[The] community members all assembled at the spring site. Each gave positive sentiments on how lucky they were to have access to clean and safe water. They prayed for [all who helped with the project] to have a long life," Jacklyne said.

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 families and friends.

When the day arrived, facilitators Jacklyne and Davis deployed to the site to lead the event. 20 people attended the training, including 15 women and five men. We held the training under some shade trees at a community member's home.

We covered several topics, including community participation in the project; leadership and governance; personal, dental, and environmental hygiene; water handling and treatment; spring maintenance; the importance of primary health care and disease prevention; family planning; soapmaking; how to make and use handwashing stations; and the ten steps of handwashing.

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.

Learning how to wash hands properly.

The leadership session was a favorite amongst training participants. The majority of the group advocated for the village elder to be part of the water user committee leadership since she is the only one who can punish spring offenders and ensure that spring maintenance is handled smoothly.

Community members were interested in learning to make soap.

"[In] the last 64 years I have lived, I have never had a chance to access adequate information on hygiene and sanitation. I have never paid attention to my body hygiene, oral hygiene, and handwashing. This kind of training will go a long way in improving my health standards, as I have learned how well to improve on my sanitation and hygiene standards," said farmer and newly elected chairman of the water user committee Ernust Daudi.

Conclusion

This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members. 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!




April, 2023: Bulupi Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Bulupi 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!




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Project Type

Springs are water sources that come from deep underground, where the water is filtered through natural layers until it is clean enough to drink. Once the water pushes through the surface of the Earth, however, outside elements like waste and runoff can contaminate the water quickly. We protect spring sources from contamination with a simple waterproof cement structure surrounding layers of clay, stone, and soil. This construction channels the spring’s water through a discharge pipe, making water collection easier, faster, and cleaner. Each spring protection also includes a chlorine dispenser at the waterpoint so community members can be assured that the water they are drinking is entirely safe. Learn more here!


Contributors

Honoring Tauqir Hussain’s Life
29 individual donor(s)