Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 150 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/09/2024

Project Features

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Yakobo Spring is the only source of water for 150 people in Indulusia, where the community depends on farming as their livelihood. The area is well vegetated with sugarcane, maize, bananas, sweet potatoes, and vegetables. The topography is hilly and sloping, making the area unique.

Community members here must fetch water every morning, noontime, and evening. If they cannot get clean water during these hours due to long lines or because the water is extra dirty from others fetching it, they are forced to return some other time. All of this time lost at the spring disrupts their other daily activities because they have to priortize getting water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.

Sometimes at the spring, women will fight a lot because each of them needs to fetch water quickly, but the space is small and this leads to conflict. The large crowds and long lines at the spring are especially concerning during the pandemic, when community members are trying to avoid groups and limit their time spent in public.

Because the spring is open, the immediate area is very muddy and a small stream forms from the spring's runoff. Consequently, mothers are too scared to send their youngest children to fetch water for fear they will fall inside the water or get stuck in the mud and drown. That puts even more burden on the women and the older children to fetch water, who miss out on productive work time and school and homework time, respectively.

"It's very difficult for us children to access the spring, especially during rainy season. The unprotected spring surroundings become so muddy and slippery, making it difficult to carry water and resulting in some of us breaking the containers because of falling while carrying water from the spring," reported young primary student Alfred.

The water source has a lot of water with high discharge but the spring is open and therefore prone to contamination. Toxins in the water range from dirty surface runoff that carries farm chemicals and animal waste, to mud, bacteria, parasites, and algae. When it rains, the amount of mud in the water increases, forcing community members to try to clean out what they can around the spring area. They then have to wait even longer between users to fetch it, but they can't afford the time needed to truly let the water settle.

To aid water collection at the spring, the community improvised a plastic discharge pipe that they inserted directly into the earth. Because of its lightweight nature, the pipe is often washed away by the spring's high yield, and at the worst times, cracked or damaged. It is difficult to continue paying for replacements, so sometimes they have to make do without it.

Community members report regular water-related illnesses after consuming the spring water.

"Because the spring is unprotected, we have really suffered from cough and typhoid for a long time. We are tired of drinking water from an open place because anybody can do anything evil to contaminate the water, but now that Yakobo spring will be protected soon, we will be able to access clean and safe water for drinking," said a hopeful Jane Isaiah, a 38-year-old farmer and mother in Indulusia.

The adults told us of their children who were coughing a lot, forcing them to visit the hospital frequently. They said they are praying that after the spring protection, they will no longer visit the hospital and they will be able to use the money that once went to hospital bills and medication for other essential needs.

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

December, 2020: Indulusia Community, Yakobo Spring Project Complete!

Indulusia Community now has access to clean water! Yakobo Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of water thanks to your donation. We 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.

Community members share their thanks at the spring.

"My life has been changed because I will be drinking clean water that is not contaminated. My grandchildren will no longer visit the hospitals because of waterborne diseases; rather, they will enjoy living a healthy life while drinking clean and safe water," said farmer Mr. Jacob Lumbasi.

Mr. Jacob Lumbasi with Mr. Isaiah Jacob at the spring

"All the time that we used to spend queueing for water will no longer be there. The community members will enjoy fetching water without fighting, and I know that there will no longer be conflicts, and that will be a great achievement on our side."

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

"In fact, my life has changed as a child because fetching water will be easy as 'A-B-C.' I am saying that because using a scooping jug was so hard and exhausting, but now I am guaranteed clean and safe water - any day, any time, directly from the pipe," said the young teenager and primary school student Damara.

"I am very sure that I will no longer fall sick because of waterborne diseases like I used to; rather, I will enjoy fetching clean water. I will concentrate more on my school work because there will be no time to waste at the spring. After all, it is now protected, and it takes seconds to fill a container."

This project reached completion due to the tremendous amount of support and engagement from Indulusia community members. During the construction process, both young and old, mothers and fathers worked extra hard to ensure that our artisan had all the required locally available materials at all times. They also pitched in a lot of time, hours, and energy in their physical labor.

Additionally, the County Assembly's local Member helped the community transport large stones to the spring that they could not source from within their village. The representative also distributed masks to the participants during the training and congratulated remarks at the ceremony's handing.

Preparing for Spring Protection

Community members worked together to source and carried 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 the 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. Everyone traveled to and from the work site each day throughout the construction process, so individual households provided meals throughout the day to sustain the workers.

Children help bring stones to the spring construction site

The last step before construction commenced was taking a water sample from the unprotected spring. We sent the sample to a government laboratory for testing to identify the kinds of contaminants in the water before its protection. These often include fertilizers and pesticides from farms, animal and human feces, and any number of harmful bacteria. We then shared the test results with the community to identify extra steps they could take to help ensure the spring’s water remains clean and safe after protection.

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—this help to divert the environmental contaminants identified in the pre-construction water quality test.


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.

Bricklaying on 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.

Setting the discharge pipes

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 due to the spring's naturally high yield. The discharge pipes have to be set low enough in place 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.

Stairs construction

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 stone pitching to form a rub wall

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 cement and plaster both sides of the headwall and wing walls. This reinforces the brickwork and prevents water in the reservoir from seeping through the walls. In turn, this builds enough pressure in the reservoir box to push water out through the discharge pipe.

Backfilling with large stones

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, beautify the spring, and facilitate easy cleaning of the spring floor.

Fitting the tarp

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.

Backfilling with soil and site clearance

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.


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.

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 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.

The local Member of the County Assembly attended the training and also participated in the handing-over ceremony. He addressed the community members and ushered in their official ownership of the new water point. The community members were so happy and very eager to use the spring.

Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been completed and handed 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.

Kids give thumbs up for a new sanitation platform

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

A woman stands with her family's 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 administrator and deputy chair of the spring, Mr. Isaiah Jacob, we found the community’s preferred date for training while considering other events in the community calendar,r such as the agricultural season and the national coronavirus-related curfew. We requested a select yet representative group of community members to attend training,relayingy the information learned to the rest of their family and friends. When the day arrived, facilitators Olivia Bomj, Mary Afandi, and Samuel Simidi deployed to the site to lead the event.

Physical distancing check at training

42 people attended training, including representatives from local leadership and the local Member of County Assembly. We held the training under a tree near the spring,g which was conducive to physical distancing and water needs during the event.

Trainer Samuel helps a man wash his hands using a leaky tin

Perhaps the most important topic of the day was our session on COVID-19 prevention and specific guidance in line with national and international standards. There has been tension and panic about the coronavirus in Kenya, so this was a session everyone eagerly participated in, the trainers noted. We covered:

- 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

- How to make and properly wear a facemask

Following the ten steps of handwashing

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.

Homemade cloth face mask tutorial

"The training made me understand more about COVID-19 and its prevention. My way of thinking has changed, and now I understand why I should keep my family and those around me safe from COVID-19 because it's a very dangerous viral disease," said Mr. Joshua Shimaka, a farmer in the community.

"Truly speaking, we did nothing rather than staying at home" before the training, but "we will ensure that every household in our community has a handwashing station, wears masks when going out, and keeps social distance when visiting crowds," Joshua added.

The local Member of County Assembly passes out masks to community members at training.

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. During the leadership and governance session, we held an election for the newly formed water user committee's leaders.

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.

All eyes on Trainer Samuel

The most memorable topic was spring maintenance. The community members admitted that since they previously lacked access to clean and safe water, they came to learn the saying, "A person will never know the worth of water until they lack clean water." Community members said they would treasure Yakobo Spring because it is the most valuable resource that they depend on. They promised to maintain it well and keep it clean so that it will serve future generations well.

The second most memorable topic was dental hygiene. Some community members admitted that they had not brushed their teeth for a very long time because they did not know it was necessary for good oral and overall health. The group wanted to learn as much detail as possible in this session, and they promised to start educating their families more on the topic.

"Training has been so valuable, especially to me, because I was the village elder in this community for 30 years, but I never attended such training. I am happy that my family and the whole community have learned many important water, sanitation, and hygiene points. This training has made me understand why I should put more effort into my personal and general hygiene," said water user Chair Mr. Jacob Lumbasi.

Community members along with Field Officer Olivia Bomji (center) and Team Leader Catherine Chepkemoi (right) share their thanks 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!

November, 2020: Indulusia Community, Yakobo Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Yakobo Spring is making people in Indulusia 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!

A Year Later: Water Access Makes Life Better!

January, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Indulusia 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!

Martha N., 14, shared what it was like collecting water before the spring was protected. "It was too hard to access the water when it rained. The place was steep and slippery, which was risky to the community members [who] could fall down after collecting water from the spring."

Now that she has spent the last year enjoying the protected spring, she commented, "After completion of the spring, it is easy to access the protected spring. We don't queue at the spring and I take [a] short time to fetch water. This gives me sufficient time to be involved in other economic activities, thus improving my livelihood."

She also shared how it has impacted her daily hygiene and academic experience. "I take baths daily because I have a lot of water. Academically I have improved because I do homework on time. I no longer waste my valuable time at the 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 Indulusia 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 Indulusia 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.