Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 200 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/07/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Please note: original photos were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The people of Eshiakhulo B Community have suffered a great deal for a long time due to a lack of clean water. 200 community members rely on Temesi Spring for all of their daily water needs, and yet it is not safe for consumption. People here are frequent visitors to the health centers where they are diagnosed with typhoid, amoeba, and diarrhea, especially among children.

We connected with the community using Temesi Spring through Peter Temesi, the spring's landowner. Peter had visited Kweyu Spring, which we recently protected, and requested an intervention at Temesi Spring. After confirming the spring's eligibility for protection using our rigorous pre-assessment, Peter confirmed that his community had already mobilized the locally available materials needed for construction. They were ready to help themselves get clean, safe water.

Temesi Spring sits open to contamination from the environment, animals, and people. Community members report encountering insects and frogs in the water - sometimes even some dead ones - while the living ones will jump into their containers as they try to fetch water. The terrain leading to the spring gets slippery with mud when it rains, sometimes causing falls, spilled water, and injuries.

"The water is dirty, muddy, and the rough terrain causes us to fall down when fetching water. It's a very bad experience for me. I always accompany my siblings to fetch water because I fear that they will fall down," reported teenager Evans.

The makeshift discharge pipe the community put directly into the earth inevitably allows some water to escape around the pipe's edges, so it takes a while to fetch water. Hence, there is often overcrowding at the spring while people wait their turn. In an effort to save time, some people will cut the line and try to fetch water from above the pipe, dirtying the water in the pipe for the next person until the sand and dirt settles once again.

The crowds are worst in the mornings, when most people need to fetch water to start their day. This is especially troubling during the pandemic, exactly when people are trying to avoid crowds and limit their time in public. Disagreements and conflict between families are common due to heightened frustrations at the spring.

"Time wasted in fetching water - especially in the morning - affects me. Some people prefer to fetch the water from the backfilling, hence making the water coming through the pipe dirty. So we have to stop and wait for them to finish, then allow it to settle before we can fetch again," said 32-year-old Cecilia Martin.

The people of Eshiakhulo B Community are farmers. They farm maize, beans, and sugarcane, along with local vegetables. They are also fish farmers, breeding fish in ponds fed by water from Temesi Spring. Some people farm for others to earn their income, while others are employed as teachers and health workers. There are small-scale businesses, and boda boda riders (motorcycle taxis) too. The entire community is hard-working, but they need clean water to be able to focus on their good health, work, and school.

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.

Sanitation Platforms

At the end of training, participants will select 5 families that should benefit from new concrete latrine floors called sanitation platforms. Training will inform the community and selected families on what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, including bricks, clean sand, and gravel. The 5 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. The families will then be asked to complete their latrines by constructing a superstructure over their platforms. These 5 sanitation platforms will then serve as examples for the rest of the community to replicate.

Project Updates

January, 2021: Eshiakhulo B Community, Temesi Spring Project Complete!

Eshiakhulo B Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Temesi Spring into a flowing source of water thanks to your donation. Our team protected the spring, constructed five sanitation platforms for different households in the community, and trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices, including COVID-19 prevention.

Protected Temesi Spring

"I am a delighted man. I have tried to protect the spring but could not manage it. The open water was causing sickness in my home and my family. Now that it has been protected, I know my health and that of my family will improve," said Livingston Temesi, a farmer, small-scale trader, and the spring's landowner.

"One major goal is that through the water user committee that we have formed, we will use the water point to unify us and come up with activities that will bring change to us as a community. I will use the water for irrigation and plant local vegetables and yams for use and a business. I will also use it for baking bricks, which I will sell and make to earn an income."

Children were just as excited as the adults about the new water point.

"The springs looks very beautiful, and the stairway will make it easy to fetch water and go back home with ease. I will have enough time to finish my chores early, and once I get back to school, I can fetch water in my uniform without fear of falling and getting dirty," said the young teenager and primary school student Jackline.

Jackline and Tyson leaving the spring with ease using the new stairs

"One noticeable thing about the protection of Temesi Spring is the unity among the water users," explained Team Leader Emmay Nambuye.

"They had already established a working committee that mobilized the contribution of the locally available materials from each family for the protection of the spring. This showed the eagerness they had towards having a safe and clean water point."

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 stones to break them down into gravel. Because people have to carry most items by hand, the materials collection process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.

When everything was prepared, we sent a lorry to the community to deliver the rest of the construction materials, including the cement, plastic tarps, and hardware. Then, our artisan and field officers deployed to the spring to begin work. Individual households provided meals throughout each day to sustain the work team.

Delivering large gravel to the spring construction site

From Open Source to Protected Spring: A Step-by-Step Process

At last, it was time to dig in at the spring! Women and men lent their strength to the artisan each day to help with the manual labor. First, we cleared and excavated the spring area. We dug a drainage channel below the spring and several surface runoff diversion channels above and around the spring. These help to divert environmental contaminants carried by the rains away from the spring.

To ensure community members could still fetch water throughout the construction process, we also dug temporary diversion channels from the spring’s eye around the construction site. This allowed water to flow without severely disrupting community members’ water needs or the construction work.

Pouring the spring's foundation

Excavation created space for setting the spring’s foundation made of thick plastic tarp, wire mesh, concrete, and waterproof cement. After setting the base, we started brickwork to build the headwall, wing walls, and stairs.

Bricklaying begins

Next, we began one of the most crucial spring protection steps to ensure a fully functional water point: setting the discharge pipe. The discharge pipe has to be low enough in the headwall so that the water level inside never rises above the spring’s eye, yet high enough to leave eighteen to twenty inches between the pipe and the spring floor to allow room for the average jerrycan (a 20-liter container) to sit beneath the pipe without making contact.

Setting the discharge pipe

If the discharge pipe were placed too high above the spring’s eye, too much backpressure could force the flow 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 a slight incline to ensure water flows in the right direction.

Plastering the rub wall stones into place

In coordination with brickwork, we pitched medium to large stones on both sides of the spring’s drainage channel. We then cemented and plastered each stone group into place, forming the rub walls. These help to discourage people and animals from trying to stand on that area, which could cause soil erosion and thus a clogged drainage area.

Cementing the headwall and wing walls

With brickwork and stone pitching completed, we turned to cementing and plastering 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.

Stairs construction

As the headwall and wing walls were curing, we cemented and plastered the two sets of staircases and installed four tiles beneath the discharge pipe. The tiles protect the concrete from the falling water's erosive force while also beautifying the spring and facilitating easy cleaning of the spring floor.

Placing the tiles

We transitioned to the final stages of construction with the tiles in place - backfilling the reservoir box. First, we cleared the collection box of any debris that may have fallen in since its construction, such as dead leaves or other items. 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 the water through the discharge pipe only.

Passing clumps of clay for reinforcing the interior of the headwall

With much help from the community, we filled up the reservoir area with the clean and large stones they gathered, arranging them in layers like a well-fitting puzzle. We covered the stones with a thick plastic tarp to minimize potential contamination sources from aboveground, followed by a layer of soil. We piled enough soil on top to create a slight mound to compensate for the backfill’s future settlement.

Backfilling in progress

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 since compaction can lead to disturbances in the backfill layers and potentially compromise water quality.

Fencing in the catchment area

The entire construction process took about two weeks of work and patience to allow the cement and plaster to finish curing. As soon as it was ready, people got the okay from our field officers to fetch water.

We officially handed over the spring directly following training to mark the community's ownership of the water point. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day flowing in all directions.

Team Leader Emmah (right foreground) officially hands over Temesi Spring to the community.

The community health volunteer who also represented the village elder accepted the project on behalf of the entire village. Community members expressed their gratitude, happiness, and excitement for the protected spring and broke into celebratory songs. The community had waited a long time for this spring to be protected, they said, and they were filled with joy to see their dream realized.

Chair of the spring's water user committee Lydiah Kweyu gives thumbs up at the newly completed spring.

Sanitation Platforms

We completed all five sanitation platforms and handed them over to their new owners. These five 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 encouraging families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors and other families to replicate the design after having helped construct these examples.

A family stands with their new sanitation platform.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19 and More

Due to the ongoing challenges and restrictions amidst the pandemic, we worked with both local leaders and the national Ministry of Health to gain approval for a small group training about health, hygiene, and COVID-19 prevention.

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 select yet representative group of community members to attend training, relaying the information learned to the rest of their family and friends. When the day arrived, Team Leader Emmah Nambuye deployed to the site with a team of facilitators to lead the event.

Trainer Emmah addresses the group at training.

16 people attended training, including representatives from local leadership, the area's self-help group, and the Community Health Volunteer. Mr. Temesi hosted in his compound since it had enough space for everyone to observe physical distancing, and it was close to the spring.

The Community Health Volunteer leads a discussion at training.

Perhaps the most important topic of the day was our session on COVID-19 prevention. There has been considerable tension and panic about the novel coronavirus throughout Kenya, so this was a session everyone eagerly participated in, the trainers noted.

Trainer Elvine demonstrates the proper steps of effective handwashing.

We covered crucial COVID-19 prevention topics including:

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

- What physical distancing is and how to practice it;

- How to cough and sneeze into the elbow;

- Contactless greetings; and

- How to make and properly wear a facemask.

Trainer Jacky leads the mask-making session.

Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed. We also left behind a rice sack painted with messages of COVID-19 prevention reminders in the local language. We affixed the sign to the spring's fence during training and encouraged community members to use it as a daily reminder to stay cautious both at home and at the spring.

Trainers follow along with the tutorial to make masks that they then hand out to the most active participants at the end of training.

One of the most memorable conversations during the session on COVID-19 was coordinating with the local Community Health Volunteer (CHV). Community members were unaware that their CHV possessed stamped letters that gave special permissions for people to travel to the health clinic outside of curfew hours, if necessary. The CHV explained these letters would help the community members pass through police checkpoints or any other official who might stop them for questioning while breaking curfew.

Chair of the spring Lydiah Kweyu leads a discussion at training.

"The most important information from COVID-19 training is that if proper steps are taken, then I can overcome the virus. I will visit health facilities when I am sick now that I know that I can collect the letter from the CHV. I am also embarking on mask-making. I have eight children, and all of them require masks. Buying masks are expensive, but making them will be manageable for me. Thank you for impacting us," said Everline Amunga, who was elected Treasurer of the spring's water user committee.

Everline gives a big smile and thumbs up at the completed spring.

We covered several other topics, including community participation in the project; leadership and governance; personal and environmental hygiene; water handling and treatment; operation and maintenance of the spring and sanitation platforms; dental hygiene; the ten steps of handwashing, and how to make and use a tippy tap and leaky tin. We held an election for the newly formed water user committee leaders during the leadership and governance session.

Lydiah demonstrates handwashing at training.

We also brainstormed income-generating activities that can be used to start both a community savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring and a cooperative lending group to enable members to develop their own small businesses.

"I did not know that I need to change my water storage pot after every three days by washing it and storing new, clean water. I am not keen, and I have left that responsibility to my 13-year-old who fills it up once it gets finished. Now I know that we have been drinking unclean and unsafe water, I will take up the task henceforth," said Lydiah Kweyu, a farmer and the elected Chair of the spring's water user committee.

"I have also benefitted from the knowledge that I need to observe proper hygiene to stay healthy," Lydiah added.

Trainer Julius and Lydiah affix the rice sack poster with reminders about COVID-19 prevention at the spring.

When an issue arises concerning the water project, 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' team to assist them. We will also continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

December, 2020: Eshiakhulo B Community, Temesi Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Temesi Spring is making people in Eshiakhulo B 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 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!

A Year Later: Hopes of Preserving Clean Water and Better Health!

January, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Eshiakhulo Community 4.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Eshiakhulo Community 4 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 the waterpoint was protected last year Nixon, 14, could not find clean water to collect. He said, "It was dirty and the area was muddy."

But since the spring protection, things have changed. "Now the area looks clean and safe to drink clean water," said Nixon.

Nixon also told us his hopes for the future: "To preserve the waterpoint for the future of our community. [And] to have good health."

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 Eshiakhulo Community 4 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 Eshiakhulo Community 4 – 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.


Project Sponsor - The Virnig Family