Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/04/2024

Project Features

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"My first impression of this water point is that the source is open and contaminated. I would not drink this water," said Field Officer Rose Serete reflecting upon her first visit to evaluate Wanyama Spring.

Wanyama Spring serves 210 people in Indulusia, but their water needs are not fully met due to the spring's contaminated water.

"The water is not clean, and the source is open. We fear [drinking] because children throw dirty containers [into the water]; we are so worried about our health," said 60-year-old Christine Musavi, a farmer in the community.

Because the spring is open, animals often walk right through it and drink from it, leaving their waste in the area as well. Farm chemicals, dirt, and waste end up in the spring due to runoff from the rains. All of these contaminants mean that people spend a lot of time dealing with waterborne diseases. Community members report that diarrhea is one of their top water-related illnesses among families who depend on Wanyama Spring. Time spent at home sick means less time at work and school, and families drain their resources seeking medical attention. The money would have otherwise been better spent on their businesses, farms, and children's school fees.

The spring's poor access is another major issue. Right now, the area around the spring is bushy. Dangerous animals can easily hide in the bushes, making the spring unsafe for unchaperoned children, especially early in the morning or late in the evening. To reach the spring, community members must be careful not to slip on the mud and rocks slick with algae.

"I personally fear going to the spring alone because the area around the spring is so bushy, and bad animals like snakes can harm us," said primary school student Elias.

To aid in fetching water, community members tried to improvise a discharge pipe by lodging a plastic container between rocks, forcing some of the water to flow through the makeshift spout. But the frequent rains often wash away the container, causing people to waste more time while they go back home to look for a replacement jug. The container we saw being used at our last visit was very dirty, full of algae and dirt. This is highly concerning the quality of water passing through the container.

Like any other community, people use water in almost everything they do: in their daily chores, washing clothes, bathing, cleaning dishes, and even irrigation during the dry season. The difficult access and the long time it takes to fetch water at the spring means frequent delays for people - predominantly women - getting back to their work. As a result, certain activities have to be compromised if women are to have any time left to go to work, prepare meals, do some farming, and care for their families.

For example, some people bathe just once a week instead of daily, do dishes just once a day, and rarely do laundry due to the extra time it would take to fetch enough water to accomplish higher personal hygiene standards and care. Of course, people want to maintain the highest health and hygiene standards for themselves and their families, but as long as the spring is difficult to access, they cannot reach their goals.

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. Therefore, protecting the spring and offering training and support will 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 training 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, which 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 to alter their practices at the personal, household, and community levels to affect change. This training will help ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance to make the most of their water points as soon as the water is flowing.

Our team of facilitators will use a variety of methods to train community members. These methods include participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation, asset-based community development, group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations in the spring.

One of the most important issues we plan to cover is handling, storing, and treating water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it is consumed. The community and we 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 training 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 spring's operations and maintenance. 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

June, 2021: Wanyama Spring Project Complete!

Indulusia Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Wanyama 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.

"Now I have trust because this water source is permanent throughout the year, so my family as a whole is going to enjoy a healthy life. Our community is going to grow fast. This is because of clean and safe water for drinking, which will eliminate medical expenses. And, I am going to grow both in business, agriculture, and livestock farming," said water user committee Chair Gladys Mutuya.

Gladys Mutuya enjoys a drink of fresh water from the completed spring.

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

"My life is going to change because my performance in school will improve, and time that was wasted before the spring was implemented shall be recovered in books," explained young teenager Elvis.

"After the project was completed, I have an easy time fetching water. Unlike before, fetching water is simple through the pipe, and I have enough time to do cleanliness at home and play with my friends."

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. 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. Next, 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.

Creating the rub walls with large rocks and raising the spring walls using bricks.

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.

Cementing the stairs

If we place the discharge pipe 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 slightly incline to ensure water flows in the right direction.

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. This helps prevent people and animals from standing on that area, which could cause soil erosion and thus a clogged drainage area.

Plastering the spring walls

We turned to cementing and plastering both sides of the headwall and wing walls with brickwork and stone pitching completed. 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.

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


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.


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.

Setting up the fence

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. To mark the occasion, the Organizing Secretary of the community prayed before community members began fetching the water. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day flowing in all directions.

A community member and Director Catherine Chepkemoi (right) strike a pose at 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 and social events. We requested a representative group of community members to attend training to relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

A facilitator demonstrates the ten steps of handwashing.

When the day arrived, facilitators Rose Serete and Olivia Bomji deployed to the site to lead the event. Twenty people attended the training, including community-based leaders. We held the training near the spring. The venue was tranquil, creating a conducive environment for learning.

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.

Demonstrating how to help a child put on a mask.

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; dental hygiene; the ten steps of handwashing, and how to make and use a tippy tap and leaky tin. In addition, we held an election for the newly formed water user committee leaders during the leadership and governance session.

Community members take notes at training.

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

The most memorable topic was dental hygiene. When the facilitators called on one participant to demonstrate how to brush teeth, the community member put a lot of toothpaste on his toothbrush. When the facilitator asked the community member why he used so much, he answered that he has a big mouth! At this point, the whole group laughed, making the topic so enjoyable.

Dental hygiene demonstration

"The training was very important because we have learned very important things that will help me develop. First, my home is going to improve on hygiene and sanitation standards. Secondly, we are going to improve on our standards of living because I have enough water to run my business," said farmer Christine Musavi.

"The training was valuable and timely. I have learned how to wash my hands and put on a mask. This will help me to manage this pandemic. We are going to wash hands using the ten steps. Also, we shall never use the surgical masks repeatedly as we used to do," said Carolyn Kandi, the elected Secretary of the water user committee.

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!

May, 2021: Wanyama Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Wanyama Spring is making people in Indulusia, 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: All Routes of Contamination Are Blocked!

June, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped Indulusia Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Christine. 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 3.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Indulusia Community 3 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 Wanyama Spring was protected in Christine's community of Indulusia last year, it was difficult to access water that wasn't contaminated.

"I used to dip the container under the water for it to fill," Christine said. "By so doing, a lot of time was wasted waiting for water to clear up before the next person draws water."

But things have changed for her and her fellow community members now that they have access to protected water.

"[I] am able to get water direct from the pipe and this has helped save on time and encourage [me] in other activities of the day," said Christine.

"Before the spring was protected, I used to spend a lot of money on medication treating waterborne diseases. Now that the spring is protected, all routes of contamination are blocked, thus no money is spent on medication. Together with my family we [are] living a healthy life," concluded Christine.

Christine at the spring (with a blue chlorine dispenser in the foreground).

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 3 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 3 – 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.