Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 175 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/05/2024

Project Features

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Patrick Wanami Spring is exposed to all sorts of contaminants, but it is still the primary water source for the 175 community members of Sambuli.

People do not have any other choice than to drink the contaminated water, but of course, in the long run, people's health is affected.

Community members do their best to wake up early in the morning and collect water before it appears dirty, but that is not enough to protect them from unseen contaminants. Most of the community has reported suffering from typhoid and severe stomachaches due to drinking the water.

Collecting water is a challenging and time-consuming practice. Each person must stoop down and patiently scoop the brown, murky water into their jerrican, pouring it one small scoop at a time.

35-year-old farmer Naomi Ariri (shown collecting water below) commented, "Drawing dirty water from the source has been a challenge to my health. Typhoid disease has really affected me, and this has caused me to use a lot of resources to cater for my medication."

The community members in Sambuli are primarily farmers, so not only do their water-related illnesses steal their health and energy, but it is also stealing their resources. When they become ill, they must surrender their limited finances to pay for their medical care while losing valuable time in their fields, reducing their income.

These illnesses also deteriorate children's health and keep them out of school, impacting their academic success and their futures.

"Consuming dirty water from our unprotected spring has frequently led to stomachache problems. I have been forced to stay at home to seek medical attention," shared student Carolyne, age 12, shown scooping water below.

This spring's protection will improve community members' lives by giving back their time, health, study time, and incomes. And hopefully, with those improvements, the entire community will flourish.

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

February, 2023: Sambuli Community Spring Protection Complete!

Sambuli Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Patrick Wanami 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.

"As a leader, [I] am so impressed," said Peter Wanami, the brother of the landowner and a Member of the County Assembly. "I know [the] members of Sambuli community will now be able to get clean and safe water. [I] am sure none of them will come to my office seeking assistance [for] medication of water-related diseases."

Peter carrying water.

"The spring looks smart and decent," Peter continued. "The stairs are so safe, making it even safer to access water. This spring will go a long way in helping me to achieve my goal of ensuring that members of this ward gain access to clean and safe water."

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

"This water point will assist me [in improving] my sanitation and hygiene standards," said ten-year-old Clinton. "Accessing water with ease has motivated me to be clean and wash my uniforms on [a] daily basis, unlike previously when I was cleaning my uniforms twice per week."

Clinton smiles at the spring.

"I will definitely improve my hygiene and sanitation standards," Clinton said. "While in school, I will now be smart and presentable, something that will be able to boost my confidence, leading to better performance in academics."

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

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 their local field officers to fetch water.

Community members gathered for the handing-over ceremony.

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 chairperson of the new water user committee, Patrick Wanami, thanked donors for considering them. Our field officers then thanked community members for their cooperation and for supporting the project. Everyone said a prayer, and the spring was officially handed to the community.

Training on Health, Hygiene, 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 and relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

When the day arrived, facilitator Jacklyne deployed to the site to lead the event. 18 people attended the training, including ten women and eight men.

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.

Building a handwashing station called a tippy tap.

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.

The most memorable topic during the training was dental hygiene. When field officer Jacklyne asked for a volunteer, Patrick Wanami volunteered.

"When he started demonstrating, his mouth was stained with blood as a result of bleeding gums," said Jacklyne. "Whenever he was spitting, it [was] saliva and blood that came out of his mouth. [The community] members were so sympathetic, [and] encouraged him to see a dentist, and this formed the basis of emphasis on proper teeth maintenance."

Patrick Wanami at the spring.

"I have learned a lot [about] sanitation and hygiene," Patrick said. "The training has enabled [me] to learn that my teeth are in a pathetic state. During [the] demonstration, [I] was so shocked when I spit blood. I am now determined to observe dental hygiene and improve the state of my teeth."


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members themselves. 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 their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In our target areas, we’re working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2023: Sambuli Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Sambuli 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!

Clean water brings light into Naomi's life!

April, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Sambuli Community 2.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Sambuli Community 2 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!

Naomi, 12, recalled what life was like in the Sambuli Community before her community's spring was protected last year.

"Our water point was open to all kinds of contamination, so most of [the] time, we were forced to go search for clean water elsewhere, and this was very tiresome. The water was too dirty, which we used for cleaning purposes only," Naomi shared.

Collecting water is now much easier for Naomi and the other community members in Sambuli.

"This [waterpoint] brought light to us, [so] we no longer walk for [long] distances in search of clean water. Also, all our water-related issues have been solved by [having] this waterpoint around, both for domestic and cleaning purposes," she continued.

Having ready access to water from the spring has made a difference for Naomi, allowing her to save time and stay healthy.

"This waterpoint being available and near our homes has saved time used in search of clean water, so [I] am now able to assist my parents with other house chores at home. Also, I used to be sick whenever I took water from the previous unprotected spring, but now I have good health, and [I am] strong [enough] to play with my friends," Naomi concluded.

Naomi collecting

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 Sambuli Community 2 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 Sambuli Community 2 – 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 - Marc Fresa -