Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 370 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/11/2024

Project Features

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It was partially sunny in the morning when we first visited Ebutindi, with thick clouds covering the sky that warmed the earth below. We really enjoyed doing our baseline survey during this weather.

Ebutindi is a very remote place with a good road network that connects neighboring schools and health centers and also helps farmers to ferry their goods to the markets. The place is very peaceful with just a little noise from motorbikes carrying people to the market as well as other destinations. The place looks very green because of tree plantations and farms. The crops grown here are vegetables of every kind, bananas, arrowroots, and sugarcane. The majority of people live in houses made of mud walls, iron sheet roofs, and wooden doors.

Community members wake up as early as 6 in the morning, eat their breakfast, and go to their farms for the day's farming activities. The day normally ends in the evening when community members head back to their homes to eat dinner and rest. Farmers engage in tilling their land, planting, and harvesting ready crops.

All of the day's activities are made much more difficult without the presence of safe, clean drinking water. The main water source is Tondolo Spring, which is entirely unprotected and therefore open to contamination. There are solid materials floating in the water, mud stirs up as people fetch water, and algae is growing on the surface. Containers are dunked under the surface with care to avoid any debris.

People do their best to avoid the dirty spring by putting barrels and containers outside during a rainy day. But it doesn't always rain, making Tondolo Spring especially busy when there's no rainwater left. If no action is taken, the 370 community members will continue to suffer from waterborne diseases that put lives at risk.

"Sometimes we as a community are left with no option but to consume whatever the available water regardless of the condition, either safe or unsafe as long as we get something to quench our thirst. When people expose themselves to drinking unsafe water, they contract diseases that are very dangerous to the health," said Mrs. Dishon.

What we can do:

"Though many people have clotheslines, some of them don't understand the meaning of using them which lead to people drying their clothes on the ground, on the roofs, and on the flowers. Some of our community members have latrines that are not yet completed as they are built halfway which makes the users not to be very comfortable accessing it," Mrs. Dishon explained.

Spring Protection

We will protect the spring to ensure that the water is safe, adequate, and secure. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water. There will be stairs down to the collection point and a pipe that can easily fill water containers. 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.


Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least two days. This training will ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance. The facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation), CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development), group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring. One of the most important topics 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’s consumed.

Training will also result in the formation of a committee that will oversee operations and maintenance at the spring. They 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. The fence will keep out destructive animals, and the drainage will keep the area’s mosquito population at a minimum.

Sanitation Platforms

The pit latrines in the community are made of mud which makes them hard to keep clean.

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should most benefit from new cement latrine floors.

Training will also inform the community and selected families on what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, such as bricks, clean sand, hardcore, and ballast. The five families chosen for sanitation platforms must prepare by sinking a pit for the sanitation platforms to be placed over. All community members must work together to make sure that accommodations and food are always provided for the work teams.

Project Updates

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ebutindi Community, Tondolo Spring

Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.

Trainer Laura passes out informational pamphlets on COVID-19

We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to rural communities like Ebutindi, Kenya.

We trained more than 26 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

Laura emphasizes using soap of any kind in handwashing

We covered essential hygiene lessons:

- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station

- Proper handwashing technique

- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing

- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.

We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:

- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19

- What social distancing is and how to practice it

- How to cough into an elbow

- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.

- How to make and properly wear a facemask.

The Community Health Volunteer demonstrates the 10 steps of handwashing

During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point, along with a sign with reminders of what we covered.

Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.

Everyone practices the 10 steps of handwashing

We continue to stay in touch with this community as the pandemic progresses. We want to ensure their water point remains functional and their community stays informed about the virus.

Installing the prevention reminders chart at the spring

Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.

December, 2019: Ebutindi Community, Tondolo Spring Project Complete!

Ebutindi Community now has access to clean water! Tondolo Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of water thanks to your donation. We protected the spring, provided 5 sanitation platforms to different households in the community, and we trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices.

Community members smiles at the newly completed spring

"I am so happy because now I can have access to clean water," said farmer Rebecca Salome.

"Before you could come to the spring and you might even find human waste in the water. This made it impossible to go and use this water. Another thing is that we suffered a lot with waterborne diseases like typhoid and diarrhea. Since the spring is now protected, I am happy because I will now have access to clean and safe water."

Spring Protection

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, including bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, stones, and fencing poles. Accommodations and meals were provided for the artisan, too.

Community members bringing bricks to the spring construction site

The Process

Women and men lent their strength to the artisan to help him with manual labor. There was a small delay at the start of the construction because on the originally planned start date the community ended up having a funeral and it was the burial day. They requested the burial to be completed before beginning the project since according to their traditions that they cannot bury stones and a person at the same time. We were happy to grant them the extra time, and after the burial construction the work kicked off the following morning without any further delays.

Excavation of the spring

The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of thick plastic tarp, wire mesh, and concrete. After the base had been set, both wing walls and the headwall were set in place using brickwork. The discharge pipe was fixed low in place through the headwall to direct the water from the reservoir to the drawing area.

Building the spring walls brick by brick

As the wing walls and headwall were curing, the stairs were set and ceramic tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. This protects the concrete from the erosive force of the falling water and beautifies the spring. The process of plastering the headwall and wing walls on both sides reinforces the brickwork and prevents water from the reservoir from seeping through the walls and allows pressure to build in the collection box to push water up through the discharge pipe.

Cementing the stairs

The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a thick plastic tarp to prevent potential sources of contamination. It took about 2 weeks of patience for the concrete to dry.

Completed Tondolo Spring

As soon as it was ready, people got the okay from our field officers to begin fetching clean water. We met them there to celebrate this momentous occasion.

(To see the gathering for yourself, check out the video on the Photos tab of this project page!)

A dedication ceremony was held at the spring, conducted with the leadership of team director Catherine Chepkemoi. The session was good and enjoyable. Women, men, and children danced and sung with happiness and were very grateful to the St. Therese Foundation for supporting this project. Afterward, the community members were left to enjoy the water.

Thank you St. Therese Foundation!

"We are blessed to be considered as beneficiaries of this project. Our women will now access clean water, and children won't have difficulties in fetching water. Our community is blessed," said community member and farmer Mr. Reuben Kutieto.

"We have been waiting for such a project for a very long time since in the neighborhood, there is a spring that was protected by the community itself, though this was not well done. Our spring looks so good right now. We are so happy and we thank God for The Water Project for implementing this project."

Like mother like son, enjoying the spring water

Sanitation Platforms

All 5 sanitation platforms have been installed. These 5 families are happy about this milestone of having a private latrine of their own and are optimistic that people will no longer leave waste outdoors. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

Proud new sanitation platform owner

New Knowledge

Rebecca Kutieto, the Village Elder, was tasked with organizing the training. She gave us the community’s preferred date for training, for she was very much aware of the community calendar when it comes to planting season and other big events.

SOme 20 people attended training, which was the expected turnout. One of the main factors that helped with attendance was the good weather as it was cool and this enabled the majority of the participants, even the mothers with young children, to come.

Secondly, schools had closed, so no one was in a hurry to go back home to make lunch for the school-going children. Also, the venue was not far from the spring and near the homesteads of most participants, making it easily accessible and central to those interested in attending. Participation was strong all day.

A reaction to the discussion during training

We covered several topics including leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; and the prevention and spread of disease. We also covered water treatment methods, personal care like handwashing, environmental hygiene, hygiene promotion, and many other things.

Handwashing practice

The hygiene and sanitation session was particularly special due to the sincerity of the participants. They were willing to volunteer answers not being afraid that they might be wrong, stating how they normally do their cleaning. Later on, when the facilitator was able to elaborate the correct way of doing things like tooth brushing and handwashing, the participants accepted the new information humbly and gladly, demonstrating their dedication to learning and to improving their health and hygiene.

Taking notes during a training session

During the leadership and governance session, the participants were to elect their own leaders for their water user committee to help oversee and manage the spring. We discussed the qualities of good leaders, as well as the roles and responsibilities of each position such as Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and others.

After this, the participants were keen to single out who they wanted as leaders. What made this special was the fact that some proposed names were instantly rejected. This showed that the participants categorically knew the kind of leaders they wanted and who would be fit to serve their community well. This ended our day on a very strong and positive note.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

November, 2019: Ebutindi Community, Tondolo Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Tondolo Spring is making people in Ebutindi Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with news of success!

Project Videos

Project Photos

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!

Giving Update: Ebutindi Community, Tondolo Spring

February, 2021

A year ago, your generous donation helped Ebutindi Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Milcah Okisa. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Ebutindi Community.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ebutindi Community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

"Before protection, the area surrounding the spring was filthy with garbage and the passageway was muddy. There was long grass all over and shrubs surrounding the spring, therefore mosquitoes always bit people when they went to fetch water. This made malaria so prevalent in this village."

"Today, people get to the spring with ease since the road leading to the spring now has good drainage that we made to direct stormwater to the nearby trench. People no longer slide and fall when they go to fetch water."

"Staircases were also built at the entrance to the spring and this has made it comfortable to get to the drawing area. In addition to that, nobody is bitten by mosquitoes when they go to fetch water."

"Young men in this village now draw water from this source to sell to hotel owners at Essunza Market. They have many customers, unlike before, when the hotel owners could not allow them to sell their unsafe water from the unprotected Tondolo spring. This has improved the livelihood in this area."

A water vendor fills up his jerrycan before bringing it to sell in town.

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ebutindi Community maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Ebutindi Community – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


St. Therese Foundation