Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/08/2023

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Typhoid and cholera have had devastating effects on the 210 people in Ebuhayi Community. Community members told us that there is usually at least one person in every household infected with typhoid or cholera, which are both expensive to treat.

To combat this, villagers have tried to implement things they've heard will help, like handwashing stations and sturdy slab latrines. They also take great care when they fetch water to wait until the dirt and muck have settled to the bottom of the spring, leading to long lines and wait times for the people waiting for their turn to fetch water.

Florence W., a local student (pictured above at the spring), explained that fetching water after school takes her so long that she often doesn't have time to study. "Going to the spring to fetch water every day in the evening after school has been a challenge to me. [I] am forced not to study back at home, and [this] has greatly impacted negatively in my examinations."

But unfortunately, none of the measures Ebuhayo's people have taken will help while their water source is open and contaminated. On the surface of the water, green algae grows. People share the open source with wandering animals. And the fertilizer from the surrounding farmland seeps into the spring every time it rains.

It's no wonder people here try to be careful when fetching water.

"Collecting water from this spring is involving, hectic, and has led to time wastage, especially for the elderly persons like me," said Charles Makhokha (pictured above), who owns the land on which the spring flows.

A protected spring with a discharge pipe will not only solve the community members' problems with water-related illnesses, but it will save them the time of having to scoop the water so carefully. They will have more time and money to better their futures.

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

May, 2022: Ebuhayi Community Spring Protection Complete!

Ebuhayi Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Charles Makhokha 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.

Farmer Esther Nanzala said, "Access to clean water is going to change the face of my family because we are going to stay healthy, living free from disease."

Esther (on the far right) with others smiling at the spring.

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

Florence collecting water.

"Initially, I have been on and off school after taking water from this spring. [I] am now safe because all the routes of contamination are stopped and my parents will use the money that was spent on medication to do other things that will develop our family," said Florence W.

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.

Building the foundation.

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.

Setting the discharge pipe.

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.

Creating the rub walls.

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.

Setting the spring floor tiles.

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.

Backfilling the reservoir box.

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 transplant grass.

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.

Completed spring.

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. After the project was completed, community members showed their joy by singing praises that glorified God. The staff in charge of the project really appreciated the teamwork the community showed during implementation and asked them to continue with the same spirit.

Celebrating the protected spring.

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 Amos Emisiko, Erick Wagaka, and Mildred Mboha deployed to the site to lead the event. 16 people attended the training, including 14 women and two men. We held the training under a tree that provided shade and enough space for training.

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.

Group discussion.

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.

Soap-making session led by Field Officer, Rose.

Our field officer, Rose Serete, reported that our team did not expect the high number that turned out because the rains had just started and most community members were busy on their farms. But because community members had longed for such a training for some time, all households sent representatives to the training, making it successful.

Rose shared, "I strongly believe that the community members will take good care of the spring and it will serve them well."

Learning proper handwashing.

A memorable topic of discussion during the training was water handling and storage. A facilitator asked participants what kind of containers they use for drawing water, and they answered jerricans, cooking pots, and buckets. The facilitator advised them to make sure they clean containers inside and out in order to keep the water clean for consumption. She also added that containers should have lids in order to prevent germs from entering the water.

Learning proper water handling and storage.

Charles Makokha, a village elder and the spring's namesake, was elected the chairman of the new water user committee. He shared, "The training was valuable to me because I have learned a lot about dental hygiene. I used to brush my teeth using a chewed stick and soap, not knowing that it was dangerous for my health because the soap has some chemicals which are harmful to my health."

Charles at the spring.

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!

April, 2022: Ebuhayi Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Ebuhayi 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

Protected Spring

In many communities, natural springs exist as water flows from cracks in rocky ground or the side of a hill.  Springs provide reliable water but that doesn’t mean safe. When left open they become contaminated by surface contamination, animal and human waste and rain runoff. The solution is to protect the source. First, you excavate around the exact source area of the spring. Then, you build a protective reservoir for water flow, which pours through a reinforced pipe in a concrete headwall to a paved collection area. Safe water typically flows year-round and there is very limited ongoing maintenance needed!


1 individual donor(s)