Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 118 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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The 118 community members living in Esiandukusi rely on a local spring to meet their daily water needs. But it presents serious issues even though someone attempted to protect it in the past. The only other alternative is to collect limited rainwater.

"Community members of Eshiandukusi Village have a challenge in access to clean, safe water. Wambaya Spring is in a pathetic state," reported our field officer, Samuel Simidi. "The superstructure is weak, allowing water to ooze at the floor, [and] the collection point is damaged with no staircase. The catchment area is [also] not well protected, allowing water to ooze from the top."

"The surrounding area is filthy. A section of the catchment area is exposed to contaminants, and water is prone to get contaminated, thus making it okay for other duties but not safe for drinking," Samuel continued.

"Direct consumption of contaminated water from this spring does endanger one's health. Cases of typhoid and sore throat challenges have for a long time been registered in this community," he concluded.

"On several occasions, I have fallen victim to sore throat complications. I can say that it's the water we drink from our spring. Whenever I drink untreated water, I fall victim, and I am forced to seek medical attention," said 58-year-old business lady Ziporah Juma, shown above standing in water at the spring needing reconstruction.

"During the drought season, the spring faces congestion, and this always promotes time wastage, thereby affecting planned activities of the day," concluded Ziporah.

"Planning for both school activities and water collection back at home is hectic. Several times, I get worn out, not achieving my target," said 12-year-old Precious N., collecting water below.

"My school performance is something to worry about because of the minimal time I create for studies back home. My dismal performance has been promoted by time wasted collecting water in the spring, especially during drought season when it gets congested."

Protection of the water point will allow accessibility and collection of clean, safe water and reduce time wastage so community members can get back to the important things they need to do each day.

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 community leaders and the local government to approve small groups to attend training. We ask community leaders to invite a representative group of community members to attend training. They 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 personal, household, and community practices to affect change. This training will help ensure participants know what they need about healthy practices and the importance of making the most of their water point.

Our team of facilitators will use various methods to train community members. These methods include participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation, asset-based community development, group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring.

One of the most critical issues we plan to cover is water handling, storage, and treatment. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it is consumed. The community and we firmly 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 conduct a small series of follow-up training before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Training will result in forming 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, 2023: Esiandukusi Community Spring Protection Complete!

Esiandukusi Community now has access to clean water! Thanks to your donation, we transformed Wambaya 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.

"Clean safe, reliable water is a basic human need," said 24-year-old farmer Winnie Munagi. "Water is essential in our day-to-day life, thus we cannot do without. We all need clean, safe water to quench our thirst, wash our clothes, cook, bathe, clean our houses, and for washing our hands. This, we will now do from today. Protection of the spring will allow [us to] improve our hygiene standards, thus [creating] a healthy generation."

Winnie at the new spring.

"Water being clean and sufficient, my hygiene standards will never be compromised in any way," Winnie continued. "I will be able to bathe every day, wash my hands effectively, and always have a taste of clean water, thus not compromising my health."

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

"Clean, safe water has a positive impact in a community," said 16-year-old Desma S. "When a community is able to access clean, safe water for drinking, a healthy generation is raised. Having protected the spring, I will be able to access safe, clean, and sufficient water at any time of need without challenges. I foresee a reduction in sore throat complications and typhoid infections, having always been a victim."

Desma carries water from the spring.

"I am able to access and collect water within the shortest time possible," Desma said. "This will guarantee me time to perform my house chores and also create ample time for my studies. Through this, my performance in school will improve."

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.

Community members help mix cement for the spring's construction.

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.

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.

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 a thick plastic to minimize potential contamination sources, then piled enough dirt on top to compensate for future settling.

Community members help fill the spring box.

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.

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.

"It is always the joy of the community members to see a project of such magnitude being installed [on] their land," said field officer Sam. "From the time of preparation to construction and completion, the community members have shown commitment to the process. They were eager to see [what] the final product [looked] like. On completion day, members gathered in numbers to witness [the] handing-over process. With jerrycans, they wanted to have a first-hand feel of the new spring. The facility was officially handed over to the community through the village elder, who gave his vote of thanks to all who took part in the process, [then] later crowned the session with a word of prayer."

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 Sam and Rose deployed to the site to lead the event. 13 people attended the training, including ten women and three men. We held the training at a community member's homestead under a shady tree.

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 participants were particularly impressed by the lesson on dental hygiene. Our facilitators said they were left with mouths open when they were shown how to properly brush their teeth.

Tooth-brushing lesson.

"Sanitation and hygiene are critical to health, survival, and development," said 50-year-old businessman Saul Ambungo, who was elected as the chairperson of the new water user committee.


"This community does face challenges in providing adequate sanitation for their entire population, leaving members at risk for diseases related to water, sanitation, and hygiene," Saul continued. "[The] training conducted will help in: maintaining health; increasing lifespan; promoting personal, domestic, environmental and food hygiene practices; [and] preventing [the] transmission of diseases."


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. 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!

March, 2023: Esiandukusi Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Esiandukusi 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!


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