Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 200 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/04/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The water in Echiviywa is not only dangerous to drink untreated, but it's hazardous to fetch as well. This leaves the 200 people of Echiviywa Community without a safe source of water with which to perform their everyday activities.

In sub-Saharan Africa, it is usually the women and children's task to fetch water for their families. But in Echiviywa, mothers can't send their children until they've grown sure of their feet because the water point is difficult to navigate.

"Accessing the water point is [a] challenge due to [the] lack of stairs and proper construction," said 53-year-old farmer Beatrice Khasila. "People fall here while trying to get water."

"I wish to have a spring with [an] access entrance," said 10-year-old Reagan S (shown fetching water in the photo below). "I always have to fold my trousers or shorts in order to get down to fetch water."

Although someone has installed a discharge pipe at the water source, the spring itself is contaminated. Seeing as the area is surrounded by maize plantations using fertilizers that would be harmful to humans, this has had a detrimental effect on the community members' health. And even though the water looks clear, when our field officers filled a glass from the discharge pipe, the glass was swimming with sediment and soil - and that's only what's visible to the naked eye.

"We have experienced stormwater carrying dirt and soil to the spring," Beatrice (in the above photo) continued. "We fetch this water for home use, but it is always contaminated."

Protecting the spring will ease both of these problems. With stairs to the spring and a level platform to stand on, young children and the community's elderly will be able to fetch their own water without having to recruit help. And properly filtered water will protect Echiviywa's people from ingesting harmful pathogens and contaminants that will only hurt their health in the long run.

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 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. 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

January, 2023: Echiviywa Community Spring Protection Complete!

Echiviywa Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Echiviywa 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.

"The impact [of this water] has already been felt. I can see how my sons are happy to easily fetch water and carry it, and that is joy in my heart," said 32-year-old farmer Sarah Lihabi.

Sarah collecting water.

"You and your team visited this place before and saw how hard the accessibility was," Sarah continued. "The water coming through the pipe was little. That means I have already achieved something. Going forward, [I] am minimizing time at the water point and maximizing [time] at my farm and other engagements. With the kind of step we have taken to control stormwater uphill, I believe our health will improve because the water is pure."

Children were just as excited as adults about the new water point.

"I will use less energy to get water and will be faster when [I] am sent to. I will have more time to play and read rather than spending all [my] time getting water," said ten-year-old Sammy O.


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.

Setting the discharge pipe.

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.

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 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.

Transplanting grass.

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.

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 Amos, Samuel, Mildred, and Shighali deployed to the site to lead the event. 14 women attended the training. We held the training under some trees for shade.

Proper 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.

Learning to make soap.

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 training was beyond my imagination. I thought it would be a short meeting touching [on a] few issues. I have learned a lot on hygiene, water treatment, and added something on soap making that I had forgotten," said 52-year-old farmer and water user committee treasurer Beatrice Khasila.


During the leadership session, participants were impressed with the speech of one community member, Damara. She noted that appointing leaders should be based on the merits of work, age, family, reliability, and respect, and that equal representation amongst family members was important. After she shared her wisdom, the group decided to elect her to the Water User Committee.

The training participants.


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!

November, 2022: Echiviywa Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Echiviywa 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: "I'm elated to say the least!"

March, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Echiviywa 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!

Fifty-six-year-old farmer Beatrice Khasalia recalled what life was like in the Echiviywa Community before her community's spring was protected last year.

"It was a tedious and dangerous exercise fetching water from the spring before its protection. Walking down the steep access path wasn't an easy thing. It was really tough due to my advanced age, and sometimes, I would sit by the spring with an empty jerrican, hoping that children from the neighborhood would come to my rescue. Even when they did, it wasn't for free," said Beatrice.

"The waterpoint was an open deep hole that would be completely covered in mud every time it rained. This left us with the herculean task of excavating the spring eye to access water. In most cases, the water was too dirty to even be considered for washing clothes, let alone drinking. A lot of my time was wasted at the unprotected spring, and I often felt like my life was stuck. Waterborne diseases were very common, and personally, I was diagnosed with typhoid on numerous occasions," Beatrice continued.

Collecting water is now much different for Beatrice and the other community members in Echiviywa.

Beatrice collecting water.

"I'm elated, to say the least! My life has simply turned upside down for the better. The deep hole I used to scoop water from is now clean and safe. The stairs have made it easier to access the water point without worrying about breaking my back! I no longer worry about catching typhoid or other waterborne disease. Nowadays, it takes me much less time to go to the spring, and I don't even need to send anyone to fetch water for me. [The] protection of this spring is the best thing that ever happened to me and my neighbors. I can only speak blessings upon everyone involved in ensuring we have access to clean and safe water," exclaimed Beatrice.

Having ready access to water from the spring has allowed Beatrice to collect water when needed and experience better health so she can dream about making improvements in the future.

"My health and personal hygiene have greatly improved. I can now save the money that would have been spent on medication and use it to start an income-generating project like brick making or expand my farming activities," declared Beatrice.

Beatrice fills her water containers at home.

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 Echiviywa 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 Echiviywa 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.


17 individual donor(s)