Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 280 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/04/2024

Project Features

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The Elunyu Community of 280 people relies on the Wilson Nzosi Spring as its primary water source. Other sources, like protected dug wells (without hand pumps) and rainwater collection, are insufficient options as they are seasonal, and do not produce enough water during the dry season.

The spring is not ideal for several reasons, but it is the only choice when community members require water. It is open to contaminants brought by human and animal activities, so the threat of illness is ever-present. People suffer from stomachaches, diarrhea, and typhoid. All fingers point to this water point that the majority rely on for drinking water.

"I have been anxious and worried about possibly getting waterborne diseases. Children do play at the water point. I always leave everything to God, because [I] am a bit limited to provide a better water solution to my family," said Roseline Khaoya (pictured below), a 32-year-old peasant farmer.

Danis K., age 12 (pictured below), shared his experience with getting sick because of unclean water. "I do have recurring stomachaches. During such moments I also vomit a lot. This water could be the reason, because my family depends on it for drinking."

The collection area is very shallow, and people must wade into the water (the same water they are collecting to drink) to crouch down close to the surface. Since there is no discharge pipe, they lay their jugs in the water or use a scooping container to fill it, which is time-consuming and causes further contamination. People prefer collecting water very early in the morning when it has not been disturbed and seems clear, mistakenly thinking it is clean.

The spring is in a low area where rain pours all sorts of pollutants into the water, exacerbated by the soil around being very loose.

The path to the spring is very steep and gets quite slippery, especially when it rains, so at times people have fallen and injured themselves. Often they are in a rush because they have waited in long lines and wasted valuable time due to overcrowding.

This community needs its primary water source, the Wilson Nzosi Spring, protected so it is easier to access, they can be healthier, and they will have more energy to devote to other parts of their lives.

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

July, 2022: Elunyu Community Spring Protection Complete!

Elunyu Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Wilson Ndozi 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.

When we first visited the community, 42-year-old Roselyne Khaoya was worried about giving the spring's water to her children to drink. But now, she can relax.

"The water is now clean, accessible, and easy to draw," Roselyne said. "The water source is now protected, fenced, and secure. Whether it rains or not, the water remains clean and animals cannot interfere with the water source. [I] am now guranteed of clean and safe water. [I] am the one who stays closest to the spring and this water point will help me in improving sanitation and hygiene standards in my home."

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

Niffa splashes water at the protected spring.

"I can now access the water point whether it rains or not," said 12-year-old Niffa M. "With the stairs and the cemented floor, [my] chances of slipping and falling down are now reduced. I can comfortably run and fetch water early in the morning before I leave for school and also go for water after school since it is safe and easy."

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.

Community members bring bricks to the construction site.

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.

Digging a drainage channel.

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.

Building begins.

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. On behalf of the community members, Roselyne thanked everyone for the project and promised that they would implement all the guidelines that were given.

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.

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 to relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

When the day arrived, facilitators Jacklyn and Nelly deployed to the site to lead the event. 17 women attended the training, which we held on Roselyne's compound since her house is centrally located and close to the spring.

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.

Nelly demonstrate the steps of handwashing.

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. Roselyne was elected as the water user committee chairperson since she lives closest to 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.

This group's favorite topic was menstrual hygiene. As there were no men in attendance, community members enjoyed sharing stories and advice amongst themselves and ended up having a lot of laughs.

Training attendees laugh while posing for a group photo.

Another memorable topic was soap-making. The women were very enthusiastic about learning how to do this themselves, with some deciding that they might make soap regularly to sell at the market.

Women stir the soap as it's made.

"There are things I have been taking for granted for a long time," said Lynet Musamba, who was elected as treasurer of the water user committee. "I had never known the damage they were causing to my health. Today, I have been taught so much on how I can adopt better sanitation and hygiene lifestyle."

Lynet splashes water at the spring.


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!

June, 2022: Wilson Nzosi Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Elunyu 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: "Currently, it is easy to fetch water. . ."

October, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Elunyu 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!

Junior B., 10, recalled what life was like in Elunyu Community before his community's spring was protected last year.

"Getting water was very difficult. I could not come to the spring alone. I always [had to have someone] to help me get water. The mud around [the spring] made it so hard for me to fetch water. The one moment I recall is I tried to get water on my own, and I found myself in mud, and I had to be lifted up," said Junior.

But collecting water is much safer and simpler for Junior and the other community members in Elunyu now.

"Currently, it is easy to fetch water, and I don't need anyone to help me get water. The staircase put [in] helps us to avoid falling and getting stuck in [the] mud," said Junior.

Having ready access to water from the spring has made a difference for Junior, allowing him to independently collect water to spend time on other things he should as a little boy.

Junior (left) and another community member at the spring.

Right now, there are others 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.

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 Elunyu 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 Elunyu 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.