Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 110 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/04/2024

Project Features

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The community of Echibiywa relies on the unprotected Kwadoya spring for their daily water, but the spring is far away, difficult to access, and overcrowded. And the water collected from it is not safe for drinking, but without another source, the 110 people using it have no other choice.

"Currently, the spring is not in good working condition. The headwall has cracks, the staircase is damaged, and the collection area [is] flooded. The backfilled area is eroded, and water [is] oozing above the headwall," reported our field officer Samuel Samidi. "The current state has led to a collection of contaminated water, time wastage, and injuries while fetching water."

"Direct consumption of the spring waters without treatment will lead to one contracting infection such as typhoid, cholera, sore throat, and other water-related diseases," said Samuel.

"Most of the time, I fetch water in the evening as it is most convenient for me. Just after school, I drop my bag in my room and then get jerrycans to go fetch water. [I] am able to make several trips to the water point, going even into the early night hours," said seven-year-old Rose M., shown below collecting water from the spring.

"I do fetch water for use at home by my mother as she is not able to access the water point because the stairs have been damaged. Most often, I am not able to complete my school home assignments in time, forcing my teachers to be on my neck," continued Rose.

"During the dry season, most water points in the community do run dry. The only spring left functioning is Kwadoya. This is the most challenging period in accessing water in the spring. The spring does get congested, and this has always promoted time wastage," said Joyce Osoti, shown below with her son, walking home from the spring after collecting water.

"Being a business lady, on various occasions, I [have been] forced to get to my business in the late hours of the day, as much time was wasted fetching water," Joyce continued.

Protection of the water point will allow for the collection of clean, safe water at any time. Access will be easier, and the discharge speed will increase, reducing time wastage and overcrowding.

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 training, we work closely with both community leaders and the local government. 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.

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

November, 2023: Echibiywa Community Spring Protection Complete!

Echibiywa Community now has access to clean water! Thanks to your donation, we transformed their spring into a flowing source of naturally filtered water. We also installed a chlorine dispenser to provide added protection and trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these components will unlock the opportunity for community members to live better, healthier lives.

"All persons have a right to access to clean, safe water. Protection of the spring will allow for [the] collection of clean, safe water; hence, the community members [are] assured of good health. Cases of infections such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and other water-related diseases will be a long gone history. This will lead to a healthy, [and] in return, a wealthy community," said 22-year-old teacher Pricilla Mideva.

Pricilla splashing clean water!

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

"Clean water is needed in day-to-day life. A shortage of it does destabilize a community. Before [the] protection of the spring, we had a shortage in [the] supply of clean water in our households. This was especially during the drought season as the spring did face congestion," said 15-year-old Sarah I.

Sarah (right) and her friend celebrating!

"People are now able to access clean and safe water throughout the day regardless of time without worrying about congestion at the water point. The levels of hygiene and sanitation will drastically improve, leading to a healthy community. Water being available, I will be able to wash my school uniforms, bathe, and clean my room every day to keep it clean. This has made me feel fresh and confident wherever I go. I also enjoy sufficient time for my studies. This will help [me] improve my academics," concluded Sarah.

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 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 truck 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 around the construction site from the spring's eye. 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, 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, which prevents cross-contamination.

Laying the foundation.

If we place the discharge pipe too high above the spring's eye, back pressure 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 the 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 close all other exits to force water through only the discharge pipe.

We filled 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 thick plastic 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. 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 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.

"After [the] successful completion of the spring, the community members who were actively involved eagerly awaited handing over. The village elder who was present thanked every participant for their efforts towards the success of the facility [and] later closed with a thanksgiving prayer," said field officer Rachael Dorcus.

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 families and friends.

When the day arrived, facilitators Rachael and Samuel deployed to the site to lead the event. 15 people attended the training, including 11 women and 4 men. We held the training under a mango tree.

We covered several topics, including community participation in the project; leadership and governance; personal, dental, and environmental hygiene; water handling and treatment; spring maintenance; the importance of primary health care and disease prevention; family planning; soapmaking; how to make and use handwashing stations; and the ten 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. 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.

Learning to make soap.

"The facilitator helped the participants understand various parts of the protected spring [and] their functions. This was vital since it enabled them to understand the importance of spring maintenance and for [the] future sustainability of the same. Participants were happy to learn that every part played a major role in spring functionality," said field officer Rachael.


"Sanitation and Hygiene are key to [the] growth of a community. Echibiywa community does face challenges in [the] provision of proper sanitation and hygiene for the entire population. This has left members at risk for diseases related to water, sanitation, and hygiene. Today's training has been [very] much enriching and will help our members in maintaining health, promoting personal, domestic, environmental, water and food hygiene practices, hence preventing transmission of diseases in the community," said 31-year-old business lady Pauline Otenyo.


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members. 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 and there is guaranteed public access in the future. 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 Kenya, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, we're working toward complete coverage. That means 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!

September, 2023: Echibiywa Community Spring Protection Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Echibiywa Community costs people time, energy, and health every single day. Clean water scarcity contributes to community instability and diminishes individuals’ personal progress.

But thanks to your recent generosity, things will soon improve here. We are now working to install a reliable water point and improve hygiene standards. We look forward to sharing inspiring news in the near future!

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!


9 individual donor(s)