Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/08/2024

Project Features

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Iyala is green with many trees and farms of sugarcane, maize, and bananas. Most in this community make their income through small-scale farming or businesses. The motorcycles on the main road can be quite noisy even through the trees as they pass by.

Fetching water every day for the 350 people in this community means traveling quite a distance very early in the morning and again late in the evening. When it rains, the road to the spring is slippery, which makes it hard to access, and the water becomes dirty and unusable until it settles.

The spring is open to contamination, which is a risk to the health of those in the community.

"I personally have been suffering on and off. When I went to the hospital, the doctor told me that [I] am using dirty and contaminated water," said Charles Mulare, a 63-year-old farmer.

When children come from school to fetch water from the unprotected spring, they often immerse containers that are not clean into the water. This, along with other contamination, can lead to waterborne diseases. Complaints of stomachaches after drinking from the spring and money spent to treat typhoid are regular occurrences.

"The water is not safe for my health. The water point is contaminated by the not-so-clean containers that the community members use to draw water," said Michelle O., 12.

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, 2022: Iyala Community Spring Protection Complete!

Iyala Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Iyala Spring into a flowing source of naturally filtered water thanks to your donation. Our team also trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these components will unlock the opportunity for community members to live better, healthier lives.

Celebrating clean water.

Farmer Sarah Mindot said, "Many of my problems have been solved through this spring's protection. I can comfortably send my children to fetch water for me, something I could not have done in the past with the fear that they contaminate the water more. I also believe that water-related diseases will come to a stop and my worry over sick children and myself have been deleted."

Sarah celebrating.

Children were just as excited as adults about the new waterpoint.

"With good health resulting from clean water, I'll be able to attend school fully, and that will enable me to perform well in my education," said Lucy N., 14.

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 material-collection process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.

When the community was ready, we sent a lorry to deliver the remaining construction materials, including cement, plastic tarps, and hardware. Then, our construction 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 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 runoff diversion channels above and around the spring. These help to divert surface contaminants away.

To ensure community members could still access water throughout the construction process, we also dug temporary channels from the spring's eye around the construction site. This allowed water to flow without disrupting community members' tasks 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 establishing the base, we started brickwork to build the headwall, wing walls, and stairs.

Once the walls had grown tall enough, we began one of the most crucial steps: setting the discharge pipe. The discharge pipe needs to be positioned low enough in the headwall so the water level never rises above the spring's eye, yet high enough to allow 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, backpressure could force water 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 stones on both sides of the spring's drainage channel. We then cemented and plastered each stone, forming the rub walls. These walls discourage people and animals from standing in that area, which could cause soil erosion and a clogged drainage area.

We then cemented and plastered 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 cured, 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.

The final stage of construction is backfilling the reservoir box behind the discharge pipe. We cleared the collection box of any debris that may have fallen during construction. 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 water through the discharge pipe only.

We filled up the reservoir area with the large, clean stones community members had gathered, arranging them in layers like a well-fitting puzzle. We covered the rocks with a thick plastic tarp to minimize potential contamination sources, then piled enough dirt on top to compensate for future settling.

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. 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 the spring was ready, people got the okay from our field officers to fetch water.

Although there was no official dedication ceremony when the field officer handed over the spring to community members, they danced and sang in celebration.

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

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, Lillian and Beverlyne deployed to the site to lead the event. 21 people attended the training, including fourteen women and 7 men. We held the training under some shade trees at the homestead of a community member.

We covered several topics, including community participation in the project, leadership and governance, personal and environmental hygiene, water handling and treatment, spring maintenance, dental hygiene, the ten steps of handwashing, disease prevention, and how to make and use handwashing stations.

Learning proper handwashing techniques.

During the leadership and governance session, we held an election for the newly formed water user committee leaders, who will oversee the maintenance of the spring. We also brainstormed income-generating activities. Community members can now start a group savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring and a cooperative lending group, enabling them to develop small businesses.

Group discussion.

The most memorable session was project maintenance. Participants suggested that a gate be installed at the spring to bar those who hadn't contributed to the spring's implementation. At first, the group liked the idea but then someone suggested that closing the spring could create enmity prompting vandalization of the fencing wires and damage to the structure. Everyone agreed and decided instead to have a meeting with those who had not taken part in the construction works to reach an amicable understanding.

Children practicing dental hygiene.

"[It] could have been the unprotected water that used to cause me a stomachache. This used to make me miss school and my mum has always worried about my health. I believe with this protected spring and the training my mum received about handling water, I won't experience stomach issues," said Lucy.


Farmer Phillip Ngala said, "The training has been an eye-opener that we all need to come up and work, support, and protect our water sources. It's no longer a woman's thing to fetch water or care for its purity."


He continued, "When the water is dirty by poor handling and storage, it affects the whole family and as a father, the whole burden of treatment falls on me."

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!

March, 2022: Iyala Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Iyala 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: "We Enjoy Coming to This Water Point!"

June, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Iyala 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!

Susan I., 15, recalled what life was like in Iyala Community before her community’s spring was protected last year.

"Fetching water was difficult, especially when it rained. There was water everywhere [in] this place. The source was open, and we fetched using tins. Everyone carried his tin from home, so some were dirty. Some people could wash dirty containers from the source and contaminate the water," said Susan.

But life is much simpler for Susan and the other community members in Iyala now.

"We enjoy coming to this water point. There is a lot of water flowing, so it takes [very] little time to fetch water. [There is] no room for contamination unlike before [when] the water was open for contamination," Susan said.

Having ready access to water from the protected spring has made a difference for Susan, allowing her more time to do other important things.

"We are able to access water within [the] shortest time. This water helps us to continue with our sanitation activities effectively. The water is clean and cold for drinking and is very safe, so I believe our health condition has improved," concluded Susan.

Thank you for helping Susan access clean water and improve her hygiene and sanitation.

Right now, there are others just like her in neighboring communities that desperately need safe water access. Your support will immediately go to work to provide a clean water project - and we can’t wait to introduce you to the next person you’ll help.

Susan (wearing black) with other students 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 Iyala 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 Iyala 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.


Project Sponsor - Columbia Baptist Fellowship