Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 240 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/09/2024

Project Features

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The Luyeshe community is located in the deep rural areas of Malava sub-county. The area is mostly covered in green, as evidenced by the tree coverage and the large sugarcane and maize plantations. The area is generally flat with gradual slopes sinking to streams that criss-cross the land. Luyeshe Village is made of a group of people that are closely knit. This is evidenced by how the community members construct their homesteads; they build the close to each other and are located close to the access road on the same end of their farms.

240 people here depend on unprotected Khausi Spring for all of their daily water needs. Walking to the spring, I met several women laughing and really having a good time catching up with each other. Upon inquiry, Sir John Kukali Khausi, the spring's landowner, let me know that here is where information gets spread as this spring's location is a shortcut to other households and acts as a central point in this community. Whenever they meet, some information will be passed to the other guaranteed even if it is two people.

I would not drink the water coming directly from the spring as it is clearly dirty. The spring boasts of more leaves and bird droppings than the ground beside it. The spring also has many users who pose a risk in transmitting diseases as they dip their containers - and sometimes their hands and feet accidentally - into the water.

Most people have hectic daily schedules, limiting their time to fetch water, yet the task must be prioritized. However, most of the time, there are large crowds at the spring since everyone needs water to go about their day. This dictates that the earlier someone arrives at the spring, the less time they spend there. This forces some women to be up as early as 4:00 am to try to get to the spring first before others have fetched water, which increasingly churns up the mud and rotting debris from the bottom. Otherwise, time lost at the spring means less time for the rest of their work and activities throughout the day.

"The people that use this water point are many. There are times one can come here and stay for hours, making you do away with some of the day's duties. One is forced to come here with many jerrYcans to avoid coming back again, which is often very tiresome and difficult," explained teenager Sharon.

The reported health consequences of drinking water from Khausi Spring include typhoid and stomach upsets. Apart from bad health, community members also spoke of the financial strain of medicine and hospital visits for these illnesses.

"We depend on the sun to disinfect this water for drinking, which usually takes a lot of time and requires watching. Sometimes that doesn't work, and we end up having very bad illnesses, spend too much money treating them, and end up missing our daily activities," said Mr. Khausi.

When people fall ill after drinking the spring water, adults miss out on even more productive time while children have to stay home from school, falling behind in their lessons.

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 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 the 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 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

March, 2021: Khausi Spring Project Complete!

Luyeshe Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Khausi 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.

Edwin enjoying the clean water.

"People will no longer seek medication. Hence the little amount they own will empower them economically and even improve hygiene standards," said Jacob Khausi, referring to the illnesses people used to contract from the unprotected spring's contaminated water.

"This water point will help me in my plans, especially agriculture, irrigating my vegetables in the lower stream during the dry season. Also, it will help me draw water easily for my animals which are my main source of income. Access to the water point won't be a problem. The much time I used to spend here, I will use for other engagements."

Ma Laban happy fetching water from the protected spring.

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

"I don't need to waste time again drawing water because this flow is simple and continuous. I will wash my clothes and school uniforms weekly, even mid-week, and have time for personal studies. My goal number one is passing exams with flying colors. I will have time for personal studies because carrying out my daily chores like washing and fetching water will be easier," said Betty, a young primary school-aged student in the community.

Betty at the spring

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.

All ages contributed to the local materials collection.

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.

Women drop off lunch for the construction 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.

Many community members helped out at the spring each day of construction.

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.

Madam Miriam shoveling concrete for the spring's foundation.

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.

Bricklaying over the concrete foundation

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.

Setting the pipe

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.

Working on stone pitching

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.


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.

Setting 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.

Backfilling with large 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 soil layer. We piled enough soil on top to create a slight mound to compensate for the backfill’s future settlement.

Erecting the fence

Community members transplanted grass onto the backfilled soil to help prevent erosion. Finally, the collection area was fenced in 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.

Esther washing her hands at the spring.

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 Amos Emisiko and Ian Nakitare deployed to the site to lead the event.

Trainer Ian shows community members how to build and use a tippy tap handwashing station.

18 people attended the training, including community-based leaders. We held the training outside within Jacob Khausi's homestead under the Cyprus trees, which provided a cool breeze and a good training environment.

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.

Demonstrating the ten steps of handwashing.

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.

Everyone practices using the elbow for safer coughs and sneezes.

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.

"The training will help me change things I have been doing wrong and also help my family emulate the teachings. The new way of toothbrushing and handwashing are economical and are the key points that I have learned," said Jacob Khausi.

Jacob Khausi addresses the group at training.

"The teachings I got here. First, I am going to put them into practice, then teach others. I believe if I follow the stated measures of combating COVID-19, it will also help us combat other diseases such as diarrhea," said Nancy Chami.

Nancy Chami on the steps to the spring.

"We have always been washing our hands using leaky tin taps which we mounted near our latrines, wearing masks, avoiding crowded places such markets, and keeping social distance. We should observe other measures such as contactless greetings, sneezing into our elbows, and eating food rich in minerals that boost the immune system," Nancy said, noting some of the precautionary steps she would take up after training.

"We are worried because of how the virus spreads quickly, but every problem has a solution, and we have solutions to this. We need to observe the measures, and we will overcome this," Nancy added.

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!

February, 2021: Khausi Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Khausi Spring is making people in Luyeshe, 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: Simple and Easy Access to Water!

April, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Luyeshe 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!

Farmer Eliud Khausi, 40, shared what life was like before the community spring in Luyeshe was protected last year.

"It used to be a hassle because we used to go far to get water for drinking. The water itself was a small stream passing by downhill. We also had to carry a jug to this place to use to fetch this water."

But since Khausi Spring was protected things have changed. The power of clean water, as shared by Eliud, can be transformational for a community.

He continued, "It is simple and easy. If you have to get water for any use, just walk down with your jerrican and fetch. Right now we can safely drink this water with no issues. We even have a chlorine dispenser."

"My wife, who comes here often, says that home chores can now be done with ease. I have noticed that the children take less time to prepare in the morning. Also, I have noticed that we do not have any waterborne diseases in my neighbourhood."

Eliud at the spring with a young boy from the community, Solomon.

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 Luyeshe 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 Luyeshe 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.


Berns Team Blessings
Christopher and Kirsten Parker Charitable Fund
2 individual donor(s)