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: 05/07/2024

Project Features

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The consequences of drinking contaminated water have kept the people of Elusolokho in poverty for decades. For this small but tight-knit community of 175 people, water is a daily struggle that takes up so much of their time and energy.

Nancy Keya, 39 (in the below photo), who grows vegetables and sells them at a local market, explained how water has been a problem the entire time she's lived in Elusolokho. "[I] have been married to this area now over ten years, and all these years, my experience with the water has not been easy. At [one] point, I was forced to stay home just to take care of my mother-in-law after [she drank] the water without treating [it]."

Looking at Makuba Spring, it doesn't seem so bad. There is a discharge pipe and the area is relatively flat and well-kept. But it lies at the base of a slope abutting extensive farmland, and when the spring discharge area was constructed, there was no proper drainage installed.

Drainage is necessary to carry surface water away from the better-filtered water that is carried to the eye of the spring. The lack of drainage means anything that seeps into the ground—excrement, fertilizer, garbage, and more—flows directly into the water coming from Makuba's pipe. Subsequently, the people here are often sick with stomachaches, diarrhea, and typhoid.

To combat this, Elusolokho's people come to collect water first thing in the morning, when they believe the water is cleaner and less likely to hurt them. But sadly, no matter how early they fill their jerrycans, water from the spring as it currently is will cause water-related disease.

"[I] am still in school and [for some time [I] have been coming to fetch water early in the morning before it gets too dirty," said 16-year-old Ann E (in the below photo). "This has not been easy because sometimes I get late [to] school and end up being punished, or even just miss school completely."

With a cleaner source of water, the people of Elusolokho will no longer have to miss school or work due to water-related illnesses. Instead, they will plan out their days without worrying about falling sick and have both time (and hopefully money!) to spare.

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: Elusolokho Community Spring Protection Complete!

Elusolokho Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Makuba 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.

"For so long, we have been trying to protect our water point so as to have clean and safe water, but it was hard," said 40-year-old Nancy Keya, whom we interviewed during our first visit to Elusolokho. "Now that we can access reliable and safe water, it will minimize waterborne diseases in this community."

Nancy fills her jerrycan at the new spring.

"As you can see, [I] am a farmer, and I plant and sell vegetables daily, so [I] am going to direct water to my farm to help water my plants," Nancy said. "Secondly, this waterpoint has made us community members come together and work as a team."

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

"I love helping my parents with house chores while at home, so with reliable and safe water, I will no longer get sick as before, and also, l will help my parents fetch water on time," said nine-year-old Kyler.

Kyler at the spring.

"We have been wasting a lot of time coming to fetch water, but now we will use less time," Kyler continued. "I will also have time for my homework, studying, and also playing with my friends."

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.

A community member hands our artisan a stone.

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.

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.

"When we completed the water point, community members came, and one of them prayed and dedicated the water point to serve them [well]," said our field officer, Stella. "They were glad and happy for their spring to be protected and promised to maintain it."

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, facilitators Stella and Betty deployed to the site to lead the event. 17 people attended the training, including 15 women and two 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.

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 community members were most interested in learning proper dental hygiene, as many of them have been suffering from bleeding gums and tooth decay. Our facilitators demonstrated the proper method for them, and participants were excited to learn how to prevent future issues. Our facilitators also learned that many of the community members were buying poor quality toothpaste from the local market and asked them to buy better toothpaste when they could afford it.

The community also enjoyed learning soap-making, which they had stopped buying because it has been very expensive in Kenya recently. But with easy-to-find materials to make their own, they showed interest not only in making soap for their own households, but in selling extra to local businesses, schools, and churches.


"This training has equipped me with new knowledge, especially during the lesson on dental hygiene," said 40-year-old Anne Waithera, the secretary of the new water user committee. "I have been doing it the wrong way, but now I know I need to brush in a circular motion after every meal. I have also had an opportunity to learn how to make liquid soap that we have been purchasing every time. From today, I will be making my own soap."


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: Elusolokho Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Elusolokho 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: Water Accessible Whenever it is Needed!

April, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Elusolokho 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!

Eunice Makuba, 62, recalled what life was like in the Elusolokho Community before her community’s spring was protected last year.

“Before the completion of the project, it was hard for me to carry water from the spring because the place was slippery and steep. This was more common, especially during the rainy season,” said Eunice.

Collecting water is now easier for Eunice and the other community members in Elusolokho.

“After the completion of the project it is easy for me to access water from the protected spring. In addition, I don't use any container to fetch water because there is already a pipe. I don't waste time at the spring because there is no queuing at the protected spring," continued Eunice.

Having ready access to water from the spring has made a difference for Eunice, giving her the confidence that she can collect water whenever she needs it.

Eunice collecting clean water.

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 Elusolokho 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 Elusolokho 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.


18 individual donor(s)