Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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Imbinga Community's greatest challenge is to access clean and safe drinking water, a product currently unavailable from their main water source called Nanjendo Spring. People here wake up in the morning's wee hours to go to the spring as early as 6:00 am. For security reasons, people do not go before 6:00 am (or after 6:00 pm) to ensure they are always there in full daylight.

To fetch water, community members must carefully dip small jugs or bowls into the spring to pour into their larger jerrycans; the water is too shallow to submerge their whole container. The more people who fetch water in the same time period, the more mud gets stirred up in the water. People then have to wait even longer for the mud to settle before they can begin fetching again. The process is time-consuming and frustrating, and the containers themselves contaminate the water as they carry and dirt or bacteria from the jugs and people's hands into the water.

Time lost at the spring causes delays in the morning activities, including farming, making and eating breakfast, and going to school and work. The morning delays set the schedule for what else will have to be sacrificed that day, especially if more water is needed in the afternoon or evening.

Since Nanjendo Spring is unprotected and located on a gradual slope, it is prone to contamination from the rains' surface runoff. The runoff carries soil, farm chemicals, animal waste, and other toxins straight into the drinking water. During the rainy season, the water gets so dirty at Nanjendo Spring that the community members have to look elsewhere for water. Some families resort to using small rain tanks in their homes, though not everyone can afford a storage container to act as a tank. Even those families with rain tanks often use the water up before the rains can replenish it anyway. Otherwise, everyone must walk to Arunga Spring, wasting a lot of extra time walking to a completely different part of the village.

Time wastage is at the top of the list of community' members challenges with having to use Arunga Spring since it is not their closest water point. Anyone who typically uses Nanjendo Spring has to wait for all of the usual users of Arunga Spring to draw water first. Conflicts often arise between these community groups as everyone wants to fetch water quickly and go home to start other work. Quarrels also develop within households as children and women face delays in doing their chores and family care work.

"In our family, it's the role of boys to graze and water the animals. The most difficult task is watering our animals as we have 8 cows that drink a lot of water. In most cases, whenever the water gets contaminated [at Nanjendo Spring], and there was no rain, I have to walk to Arunga Spring. I make close to 10 trips a day, and at the end of the day, I am exhausted," said young teenager Denis.

Accessibility is also a challenge at Nanjendo Spring. Whenever community members fetch water, they have to balance while squatting on top of a few rocks carefully they placed to help them stay out of the water. But the rocks, and the surrounding area, are slippery, so many people end up with their feet in the water anyway. This contaminates the water further with whatever soil and bacteria were on their feet and shoes. Because it is open, animals can walk straight through the water while drinking directly from the spring, all while leaving their waste in the area.

"I've been married and in this community for over 13 years, and my greatest and most difficult task is ensuring that my family has safe and clean drinking water," said Gorreti Mbuyachi, a farmer and mother in Imbinga.

"Most of the time, our water gets contaminated, and I have to waste time going to the next nearest protected spring to access clean and safe drinking water. This, in most cases, delays all my daily activities and thus leaves me frustrated. I hope that our spring will be protected so that we can use this time for farming."

Waterborne outbreaks have always been a challenge among families who depend on Nanjendo Spring for water. Children under 5 are the most susceptible to water-related diseases, receiving frequent diagnoses of stomachaches, diarrhea, and coughs due to their dirty water source. Sicknesses force families to use their resources to pay for medicine and care when it could have been spent on their businesses or children's school fees. Time lost to being sick also means less productive time at work for adults and in school for children.

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

October, 2021: Nanjendo Spring Project Complete!

Imbinga Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Nanjendo 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.

"Initially a lot of money was used on medication treating waterborne diseases but now our spring is well protected and sure there will be no issues of contamination and outbreak of waterborne diseases," said Dinah Auma, a 36-year-old farmer.

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

"With clean water within my reach, I will be able to help my parents improve sanitation standards at home and at school," said 12-year-old Brian W.

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 had 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! Locals lent their strength to the artisans 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, which is 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 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 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 community members were very happy and promised to take good care of the spring so that they can continue accessing clean and safe water.

"I have four children who are in the pre-primary section, every day I am forced to give them extra masks for them to be retained at school. I have spent a lot of money buying masks but from now, I will make my own masks which can be washed and used again unlike the ones I have been using which are not washable," said 66-year-old Loice Amukanga, the treasurer of the water committee.

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.

When the day arrived, facilitators, Stella Inganji, Christine Kayi, and Betty Muhongo deployed to the site to lead the event. Eighteen (18) people attended the training, including community-based leaders. We held the training under a shade tree at Mr. Nanjendo's compound.

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 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.

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.

"The training has been so educative to me and the entire community. There are very simple things that I had ignored like washing hands with soap and running water. I am among those people who put water in a basin and ask my family to wash their hands."

He continued, "I am going to share this information with everyone I will meet and together we shall grow," Jackson Mukose, a 56-year-old farmer and a water user committee member.

When an issue arises concerning the spring, 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!

September, 2021: Nanjendo Spring Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Imbinga Community drains people’s 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: Feeling Good!

February, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Imbinga Community 3.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Imbinga 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 we protected Nanjendo Spring in Imbinga Community, people would have to scoop up water from the spring cup by cup, often stirring up sediment and muck as they did. Fetching water took a long time, and the end product was often full of particles. All of this culminated in frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases and a lack of time and energy for important daily tasks.

"The water was dirty, especially during the day," said 13-year-old Brian O. "Many people drew water, and in the long run, [the] water was dirty. On other occasions, birds and other animals could drink from the source."

But now that the water in Imbinga is clean and easy to collect, these problems are no longer a concern for its people.

"[Collecting water] is very easy," Brian said, smiling. "I just take a container, fetch water quickly, and run home. These stairs are good, and [it] makes me feel [good] to come here frequently to fetch water."

Brian's family has used this water to improve their household hygiene, which equates to a better quality of life for everyone. And, thankfully, they still remember the soap-making lesson from the hygiene training!

"We use this water to make soap sometimes with my mother," Brian said. "This water has saved our time due to easier access. It has helped me to do my cleanliness easier and efficiently."

Brian, right, with other boys 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 Imbinga 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 Imbinga 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.


18 individual donor(s)