Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 200 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/04/2024

Project Features

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"The water looks clean, but it has affected my children because they are always sick of typhoid, and this has drained me financially. Protecting the spring will help me to save money for other things. The spring has a lot of water, and my prayer is for it to be protected soon so that we can forget all the conflicts, sicknesses, and accidents that we have been experiencing," said Mrs. Jacklyne Molenje, a 52-year-old farmer and mother in Indulusia. Jacklyne is also part of the family that owns the land where Molenje Spring is located.

Molenje Spring serves 200 people in Indulusia, but the spring does not meet their needs due to its contaminated water and difficult access point. Consuming the spring's unsafe water consistently brings water-related illnesses to community members, especially affecting their children. The rainy season makes contamination and waterborne illnesses worse as the rains pour farm chemicals, animal waste, dirt, and other toxins straight to the surface runoff source.

Because the spring is open, animals often walk straight into the water while drinking from the pipe, leaving their waste around the spring. Some community members wash their clothes near the spring, too. The surrounding area is therefore not hygienic, further putting community members at risk while they fetch water.

The other main challenge at Molenje Spring is difficulty accessing the drawing point. There is standing water several inches deep, leading away from the source, which community members must stand-in for more than 5 minutes per jerrycan they need to fill. A lack of water does not cause their long wait time, but rather due to the small pipe, they have improvised to force water to flow instead of dribbling down the muddy hill. But the pipe does not capture water from all of the spring's eyes, reducing output and slowing community members down.

The time-consuming process of drawing water at the spring is stressful, and tensions run high as people wait in long lines for their turn to fetch water. Community members report frequent fighting at the spring due to the crowding as neighbors complain of one person taking too long or another bumping into the pipe and stirring up mud and sand into the water in the process. People also report frequent cases of children falling and injuring themselves, trying to get in and out of the spring due to the water-logged area.

"Protecting the spring will help us to fetch water easily. This is because we really suffer as children fetching water since the place is hilly and open simultaneously," said teenager Sheila.

"We will no longer get sick. Rather, we will stay healthy because of accessing clean and safe water," Sheila added, reflecting on what might change if Molenje Spring were protected.

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. 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

August, 2021: Molenje Spring Project Complete!

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

"My life and that of my family will change for the better because we will no longer worry about waterborne diseases. This has affected my family for so long, and from today we will stay healthy because access to clean and safe water promotes good health. I will put more effort into other things like soapmaking, which will generate income for my family. I will no longer worry about when to fetch water because clean and safe water is flowing all day, and this brings joy to my heart," said Mrs. Jacklyne Molenje.

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

"Since we have clean and safe water, I will put my effort into improving my grades in school because I will no longer worry about fetching water all the time and queuing for too long," said Sheilah M.

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 rocks 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 the community members prepared everything, 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.

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.

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 at an 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 discourage people and animals from standing in that area, which could cause soil erosion and thus a clogged drainage area.

We then 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.

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 rocks with a thick plastic tarp to minimize potential contamination sources from aboveground, followed by a layer of soil. We piled enough dirt 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.

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.

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 to relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends. We agreed with community members on the exact date that the training was to take place with the help of the area village elder.

When the day arrived, facilitators Olivia Bomji, Samuel Simidi, and Lilian Achieng deployed to the site to lead the event. Fifteen people attended the training, including community-based leaders. We held the training outside Mr. Patrick Molenje's homestead.

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.

Learning to Make Soap

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.

Dental Hygiene Training

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

A memorable topic was spring maintenance. The women promised to take care of the spring as their own kitchen because they suffered for a long time stepping on muddy and dirty water as they fetched water.

"The training was valuable to me because I have learned more on how to protect myself and those around me from COVID-19. With the new knowledge, I will ensure that I educate other women to protect their families by ensuring that they have enough leaky tins in their compounds, wear masks while going out, keep physical distance and avoid crowded places," said Mrs. Jacklyne Molenje.

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!

July, 2021: Molenje Spring Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Indulusia Community drains peoples’ time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community through the introduction and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

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: Unity Amongst the Community!

August, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped Indulusia Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Mukasia. 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 4.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Indulusia 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!

Before we protected Mulenje Spring, it was very difficult for Indulusia's community members to fetch water.

"A small pipe was placed in one of the eyes of the spring," said 29-year-old farmer Gloria. "That being the case, the discharge speed was very low, forcing us to overstay at the spring."

The long time spent fetching water meant people waiting in lines would get impatient with one another, leading to conflicts amongst community members.

"I used to avoid going to the spring because there was a lot of conflicts at the water point in the name of waiting for water to fill up the container," explained 13-year-old Mukasia.

But now, thankfully, all that has changed. No one has to wait in line at the water point, and it takes seconds to fill up a jerrycan.

"Nowadays, it's easy and enjoyable to draw water because it's direct from the pipe," Gloria said. "The discharge is good, and no one has a reason to overstay at the spring. [I] am able to do other duties knowing that I will spend very little time to fill my water containers."

Now, Indulusia's people are enjoying the effects of having clean, accessible water.

"The rate of waterborne diseases has gone down," Gloria said. "The money that was spent on medication is used for other development activities. [I] am now living a healthy life together with my family."

"I enjoy drawing water because it has been made easy," Mukasia concluded. "I make countless trips to the spring since very little time is spent [fetching water], and there is no overcrowding at the water point. There is unity among the community members, and this has been my prayer for a very long time."

Mukasia and Gloria 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 Indulusia 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 Indulusia 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.


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