Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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"I have a big problem getting clean water, especially when there is a crowd or a queue at the spring. I take some time to allow the water to settle down and become clearer before I draw it. In addition, I waste a lot of time at the spring", explained Mr. Moses Musambai, a 42-year-old businessperson and landowner of Musambai Spring.

Musambai Spring is the primary source of water for 350 people in Isanjiro Community, but it is not serving the community members well. The spring water is dirty and difficult to access. To draw water from the unprotected spring, people have to step into the pooled water below the spring's source, trying their best to balance on slippery rocks and bricks that they use to try to stay above the water.

To aid in fetching water, community members tried to improvise a discharge pipe by inserting a plastic pipe between rocks and the earth near the spring's source. But the pipe is cracked and dirty, missing a lot of the spring's output and contaminating the water that it catches. It is also very low to the ground, so community members still have to use a small jug or bowl to fill from the pipe first, then pour into their larger jerrycans.

This process is time-consuming, tiring, and frustrating. As lines and crowds develop, tension builds over who is taking too long at the spring, even though everyone is trying their best to hurry. Time lost at the spring means delays throughout the rest of the day's activities, hurting adults and children alike in their endeavors.

"When I go to the unprotected spring to draw water, I encounter long queues which make me spend a lot of time at the spring. I first allow the adults to get water first before I do," said primary school-aged Vivian, citing a common rule of respect in her community between children and elders.

With the threat of COVID-19 looming too, the crowds are particularly worrisome to community members, yet unavoidable if they are to reserve their spot in line to fetch water.

The environment of the unprotected spring not very clean. There is a poor drainage system that causes the pooled water below the pipe and provides habitat for mosquitoes, which often harbor harmful diseases including malaria.

The most frequent cases of waterborne diseases among community members include typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea. Time lost at the spring is compounded by time lost when people become sick from the spring water. Families are draining their financial resources trying to pay for medication and hospital visits to treat their water-related illnesses, and they miss out on even more work and school time.

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.

Project Updates

April, 2021: Musambai Spring Project Complete!

Isanjiro Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Musambai Spring into a flowing source of water, thanks to your donation. Our team protected the spring and trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices, including COVID-19 prevention.

Community members celebrate the completed spring.

"I am so glad because I now take clean and safe water from the spring. It is easier now to fetch water from the protected spring because there are stairs. There will be no queueing at the protected spring, which will save my time. Also, I will use the water to water my crops," said Alice Nyongesa, a farmer in the community.

"The water is now safe for consumption and consequently my health status will greatly improve. The water will be used to water the crops," said Moses Kavusia, the elected Treasurer of the water user committee.

A woman fetches water from the protected spring.

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

"The water is reliable, safe, and of good quality. Accessibility was guaranteed, and this will enable me to have enough time for other on-farm and off-farm activities, said a young Mercy.

"Now that the schools are opened, I will spend less time fetching water after school and do my homework on time, which will improve my performance at school."

Mercy fetches water.

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.

Community members deliver materials to the spring work site.

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.

Laying 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.


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. This allows room for the average jerrycan (a 20-liter container) to sit beneath the pipe without making contact.

Rub wall work

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.

Pipe setting

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.

Backfilling with clay

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 beautifying the spring and facilitating easy cleaning of the spring floor.

Backfilling with clay and large stones

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.

Backfilling with soil

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.

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.


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.

Entrance to the protected spring

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

Due to the ongoing challenges and restrictions amidst the pandemic, we worked with 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 representative group of community members to attend training, who will relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends. When the day arrived, facilitators Amos Emisiko and Mary Afandi deployed to the site to lead the event.

Community members spread out at training to observe physical distancing.

The village elder was the one who mobilized the community members to attend the training. 19 people attended, including community-based leaders. We held the training outside near the spring, with part of the training done at the protected spring.

Demonstrating how to build a leaky tin handwashing station

Perhaps the most crucial 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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

A girl demonstrates how to properly put on and wear a mask.

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

Site management training at the spring

"The training increased the importance of matters related to personal hygiene and sanitation to me. It is very important to observe cleanliness, as it is always stated that cleanliness is next to godliness," said Mary Obaire, the elected Chair of the water user committee.

Moses Kavusia, the elected Treasurer of the committee, said that mask-making was the most helpful part of the training. "The facilitator taught us how to make masks for our families, especially for our children who go to school, using a piece of clean cloth, needle, and thread, instead of buying them. This is a good idea to me."

Moses Kavusia

"When you visit every homestead, there is an improvised handwashing station. At this time of COVID-19, we really avoid crowds in our community," Moses noted.

A woman collects water from the protected 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 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!

April, 2021: Musambai Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Musambai Spring is making people in Isanjiro, 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: People Enjoy Fetching Water

April, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Isanjiro 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!

Last year, we protected Musambai Spring in Isanjiro.

We asked Brandly N., 12, what it was like to collect water before completing the spring protection. "As a child, I encountered many challenges concerning access to clean, safe water. Much [of the] time [I] spent collecting water, [there was] overcrowding of people at the source. The access point was slippery. Some people couldn't find it easy to fetch water," he said.

Since protecting the spring, things have been different for Brandly and others in the community.

Brandly said, "Access [to] water is easier. People enjoy fetching water through [the] pipe, which is safe and faster compared to [the] past. The source is well maintained. Contamination cannot occur. [The] access point is clearer and well protected, which enables everyone to access [it]."

It is easier for Brandly to collect water, so he has also found more time to focus on other important tasks like learning and achieving his academic dreams.

Brandly washing his hands.

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 Isanjiro 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 Isanjiro 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.


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