Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 140 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/03/2024

Project Features

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The hills of the Nandi Escarpment surround the Chiveli community with a cool and wet climate.

Most community members farm crops such as sugarcane, maize, cassava, or sweet potatoes and sell the produce from their land. Those that do not have land for farming do casual labor to make a living.

The Mmula Spring is a stony, bushy area: a habitat for animals like snakes, which pose a risk to those who collect water there.

"Lack of clean water and safety at the spring are the things that one cannot miss. At the spring, it is very risky to send children. Even adults go there, and when they see a scary snake, some fall down to the extent of breaking their containers," Esther Mula (shown below), a local farmer.

The users visit the spring at least four times a day. Some fetch water in the morning and again at noon, while others fetch water in the morning and again in the evening. Community members have improvised (using a banana stalk) a discharge pipe to ease the accessibility of water.

"During school days, it is very difficult to get back to school on time. This is because during lunch breaks, I go home, fetch water for house chores and give some to the animals, and it makes me get back to school late," said Valary A., 15, (shown above).

The reported health effects of water from this contaminated, unprotected spring are waterborne illnesses such as stomachache, especially in young children and the elderly.  Due to the health effects, many families suffer financial crises, and energy is drained taking care of the sick.

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: Chiveli Community Spring Protection Complete!

Chiveli Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Mmula 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.

Happy for clean water!

Farmer and treasurer of the water committee, Peter Chelagat, 45, said, "I will use the water that is easily accessed to increase production on my farm. [I] will not lack vegetables for sale, which in the long run will change my economic status."

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

"I will now spend less time drawing water, hence giving me more time to concentrate on my academics, which, in turn, I believe will bring a big change in my performance," said Sarah N.

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.

A little boy from the community helps to break rock.

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.

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.

Excited about the new spring.

Several community members attended an official dedication. The landowner who gave remarks and officially opened the new waterpoint was among them. The community members happily drank and collected water from the spring and left with big smiles.

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 Joel Shitindo, Amos Emisiko, Beverly Simbili, Christine Mugambi, and Rose Lugali deployed to the site to lead the event. 25 people attended the training, including nineteen women and 6 men. We held the training in the open air.

Practicing handwashing.

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.

A participant demonstrates dental hygiene.

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.

Participants found the soap-making session quite interesting.

Soap-making was the most memorable topic of the day. Community members asked many questions and participated in the soap-making process.


"The training was valuable to me in that I learned a new skill of making soap. After finishing my farm work, I will not waste money on buying soap to wash my clothes and also for washing [my] hands. I will just use my handmade soap," said Peter Chelagat.


Farmer and water committee secretary Ruth Masitsa, 21, was a very active participant in the training. She commented, "The soap-making process has come in handy for I will do it as an income-generating activity. I will use the soap I make to maintain high standards of hygiene in my home."

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!

February, 2022: Chiveli Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Chiveli 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: Easy Water Access!

June, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Chiveli 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!

Martha S., 14, recalled what life was like in Chiveli Community before her community’s spring was protected last year.

"We used to fetch water with a banana trunk attached as the discharge pipe and [it] was very open. There were a lot of stones around the spring that made fetching water difficult," Martha said.

But life is less difficult for Martha and the other community members in Chiveli Community now.

"Getting water has become so easy with the help of the two discharge pipes where we can place two jerricans at a time and get water quickly. In turn, saving a lot of time," she continued.

Having ready access to water from the protected spring has made a difference for Martha, allowing her to collect water efficiently and practice good hygiene.

"I frequently wash my clothes, including the school uniform, thus embracing good hygiene practices," Martha concluded.

Thank you for helping Martha access clean water and to have the ability to practice good hygiene.
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.

Martha Carrying Water From 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 Chiveli 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 Chiveli 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 Underwriter - The Roney Family Foundation
6 individual donor(s)