Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/13/2023

Project Features

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Kimang'eti is a cosmopolitan community; many people from different parts of the country have come together and are living in harmony here, thus encouraging peace for they all depend on each other. Most community members in this area do agribusiness where many are planting crops to sell in the market for their livelihood. Local crops include maize, vegetables, sweet potatoes, and cassavas. Many families pay their children's school fees with money that comes from their farm produce.

For the 210 people in Kimang'eti who depend on Kimang'eti Spring for all of their daily water needs, every day is a challenge for the spring cannot produce clean or safe water. The water is open to all sources of contamination, and it looks like a just small puddle or stream carved out into a muddy terrace. To draw water, community members must first submerge their containers into the shallow spring. Then, they must use either a jug or a small plastic can (which typically have their own algae and dirt in them) to scoop water from the ground and pour it into their containers.

The entire process is time-consuming and frustrating, and each person stirs up mud in the water no matter how careful they are. Though people try to wait to let the water settle between users, most people need to fetch water at the same time in the morning, afternoon, and evening, so they can only wait so long. Time lost to fetching water means delayed work at home, on the farm, and at school for kids. The crowds at the spring are especially concerning during the pandemic, when community members are trying to avoid groups and limit their time spent in public.

Another challenge community members report is the high rate of water-related illnesses due to drinking the spring's contaminated water. People most commonly contract diarrhea, typhoid, and cholera from drinking the contaminated spring water. Recently, community members said, they even found a fecal deposit right next to where they draw water. This was a clear indicator that the water was unsafe for drinking, in addition to the other contaminants already in it such as farm chemicals, animal waste, and soil washed in with runoff from the rains. They often find animals drinking straight from the source as well.

But the community members do not have an alternative water source within walking distance, so they must fetch water regardless of its poor quality.

"The water would be good but the environment is very dirty. This affects me in a way that if the water is not boiled or treated, then I have to buy [water or treatment methods]. This is an extra budget cost which strains my finances," said 32-year-old farmer and mother Agnes.

"The dirty water I take from the water point causes me to diarrhea and I end up missing school most of the days as I am always in and out of the hospital for treatment," teenager Brenda added.

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 the 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. Our trainers then instruct them on how to build superstructures over their new platforms. These 5 sanitation platforms will serve as examples for the rest of the community to replicate.

All community members must work together to make sure that they continuously provide accommodations and food for the work teams throughout all stages of spring and sanitation platform construction.

Project Updates

February, 2021: Kimang'eti Spring Project Complete!

Kimang'eti Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Kimang'eti 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.

Two boys celebrate the completed spring by offering each other a drink.

"The easy access to this water point will help me greatly in successful farming, and it will help me to be financially stable. Also, the many waterborne diseases that have been experienced in the past years will not recur," said Redemta Mutsotso, a farmer in the community.

"With the pipes fixed, it will enable me to pump water to the farm, making my produce yield highly. My goal is to supply vegetables to all vendors in the market within a few months. And so with this water, I will achieve it."

Redempta at the spring

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

"This water point will impact my life very positively. My health will not be at risk of contracting waterborne diseases, for it's now protected. I will have enough time to do my homework and have extra time to look for money to support myself in schooling," said young teenager Baron.

Baron celebrates the spring.

"One of the things I used to do for survival was selling water to the people at the market. Since the water point has been completed, this work will be easy and very fast, making me go many times."

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.

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.

Casting the 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.

Brickwork begins

Next, we began one of the most crucial spring protection steps to ensure a fully functional water point: setting the discharge pipe, or, in this case, two pipes due to the spring's naturally high yield. The discharge pipes have 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 pipes and the spring floor to allow room for the average jerrycan (a 20-liter container) to sit beneath the pipes without making contact.

Setting the discharge pipes

If the discharge pipes 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 pipes 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 stone pitching of the rub walls

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.


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.

Setting the tiles

As the headwall and wing walls were curing, 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 also beautifying the spring and facilitating easy cleaning of the spring floor.

Community members carry large stones to the spring for backfilling.

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 pipes only.

Fitting the tarp over the backfilled stones

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.

Fencing in the spring and planting grass

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.

Celebrating the completed spring

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.

A woman shows how much water is now at their disposal.

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 continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors, and for other families to replicate the design after having helped construct these examples.

Redempta poses on a 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, facilitators Jemmimah Khasoha and Patience Njeri Wanyonyi deployed to the site to lead the event.

Teaching the ten steps of handwashing

14 people attended training, including community-based leaders and members of the local self-help group. We held the training at the spring, where it was cool and quiet. The trees planted in the area provided shade, and so people did not suffer from sunburn. Since many of the participants are small-business owners with shops in the market, we thought their attendance was encouraging since they had to close their businesses to attend. Many people might think this would not be worth the sales loss, so we were honored to have those who saw it well attended.

Handwashing demonstration

Perhaps the most important topic of the day was our session on COVID-19 prevention and control. 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 virus 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.

Homemade mask-making tutorial

The session on COVID-19 also became our most memorable. Many community members commented that since the pandemic began, they have never had an opportunity of people coming to teach them about it. From our team's observation, many were interested in mask making since they said it would immediately bear fruits. They will save the money used to buy masks now and then, attendees said. Being a rule in the country for everyone to wear a mask, they all were attentive and keen, which made the training successful.

Demonstrating how to safely put on and take off a mask.

"The training was very valuable for I learned how to protect myself and others from contracting the virus," said 30-year-old Redemta Mutsotso, whose peers elected her as Secretary of their new water user committee.

"The topics that were taught came in a timely fashion. I learned new handwashing techniques, making masks, and why we need to keep social distance, thus avoiding crowds. I have learned that you can use leaky tins to wash your hands, and this is very affordable."

Air drying demonstration after handwashing to ensure hands stay clean.

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.

Pointing out parts of the spring during the site management session.

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.

"Since we closed schools and have been staying at home, I have never attended such teachings that have empowered me," said young teenager Baron, referring to Kenya's long coronavirus-related school closures only recently reversed.

The training has been of great importance because I have learned in-depth about my personal hygiene and sanitation. This is the knowledge that will help me all the days of my life. I have also learned about COVID-19 in detail, and this has broadened my view of why I should be on the watch out and take the measures seriously to prevent the spread," Baron said.

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. Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2021: Kimang'eti Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Kimang'eti Spring is making people in the village of Kimang'eti, Kenya 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: Quick and Safe Water Access!

February, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kimang'eti 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!

Farmer Grace Kwamboka, 42, described collecting water before the spring was protected last year. "Fetching water was a challenge, especially for expectant mothers and old-age people. Contamination of [the] water was caused by frequent fetch[ing] and [the] high population of community members."

But now, after the spring protection, Grace has access to safe, clean water. She said, "People are really happy for the project. We can fetch water through the pipe within a short time. No more queuing and also contamination of the source is well safeguarded. Stairs have helped for easy access without any hindrance. The hygiene standards have really improved. People can live a healthy life."

Grace splashing water at the protected spring.

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 Kimang'eti 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 Kimang'eti 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.


Navias Family Foundation
Hilton Family
10 individual donor(s)