Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 200 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/08/2024

Project Features

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The 200 community members living in the community of Tengeti face each day knowing the water they collect and consume from their local spring, although plentiful, is making them sick, but they have no other alternative.

"Our only source of water has brought sorrow instead of joy because I have been visiting the hospital on a monthly basis. This is because my two sons were very sick and they were admitted at the hospital two weeks ago. They were put on medication for five days because they had typhoid and amebiasis (an intestinal illness caused by microscopic parasites)," said 53-year-old farmer Nancy Wafula, shown below carrying water away from the spring. "I thank God they are fine now, but [I] am worried we are still drinking water from the same spring."

With the spring being the only water source, there is overcrowding and long queues to collect water, especially during the dry season when the water flow slows. Some community members wake up as early as 6 am to fetch water, hoping they will not have to wait as long and can focus on their other daily tasks.

"Tengeti A spring was constructed by the community members through the help of a well-wisher twenty years ago. As time went by, the community members realized that some spring eyes were not captured, and this has been a challenge to the water users. The water coming from all around the spring and under the spring wall has weakened the structure over the years. There are visible cracks that the community members have tried to repair but in vain," said our field officer Olivia Bomji.

"The community members also tried to repair the stairs because it was very slippery, and people were falling while carrying water. Although they tried to repair [them], it won't last long because it is already chipping out," Olivia continued.

The spring eyes not captured during construction affect the quality of water community members can fetch because that water mixes with the water coming from the pipes. The dirty water causes itchiness, and community members have reported that drinking the water causes frequent stomach pain and coughs, especially during the rainy season.

"I have been so sick lately, and I feel weak. [I] am so sad that what brings life can take life so easily. I say this because we have water, but it is contaminated. I pray that one day our water will be protected well and typhoid will go away," said 10-year-old Flavian W., shown below collecting water.

By protecting this spring, community members like Nancy and Flavian will be able to access clean and safe water without costly consequences.

"I hope protecting this spring afresh will bring joy to me as a mother," concluded Nancy.

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 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.

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

March, 2023: Tengeti Community Spring Protection Complete!

Tengeti Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Tengeti A 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.

"As a mother, I will no longer worry about the health of my children again because all the spring eyes that were open were captured, and clean water is flowing now," said 53-year-old farmer Mary Wafula.

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

"Stepping on dirty stagnant water at the collection point is in the past now. Apart from that, [I] am sure I will no longer get sick because I will become more stronger because of drinking clean water," said 10-year-old Flavian W. "I will be able to play with my friends after school and do my homework on time which I never did because I used to be sick and weak all the time."

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.

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.

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 Olivia, Jemmimah, and Joel deployed to the site to lead the event. 48 people attended the training, including 19 women and 29 men. We held the training outside at Mr. Wanjalas's homestead.

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 most memorable topic was soap making. Considering the current high price of bar soap, the participants were ready to learn how to make liquid soap for themselves instead of buying a bar of soap at 200 Kenyan shillings. They were so attentive, and they kept asking questions so that they didn't miss a point on how to make soap. The women promised to make soap for washing and cleaning utensils," said our field officer Olivia Bomji.

"The training was so valuable to me because I learned that it is very important to keep our environment clean and habitable. [I] am sure that my family and I will be able to put in practice what we have learned, and we will be able to live a healthy way," said 56-year-old farmer and chairman of the water user committee Francis Wanjala.


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: Tengeti Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Tengeti 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!

Charles has Found Peace!

May, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Tengeti 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!

Your gift last year unlocked Charles' potential for a brighter future. Since then, he and his community of 200 residents have had clean, reliable water. Your contribution has made a significant impact. Thank you for making a difference!

"There is peace that comes with it. You are not worried about water or the food being prepared using clean water. We live a healthier life as a result of consuming safe water and improving sanitation activities," said Charles.

"The spring is very close to my home, and it is very clean. At my age, I can easily get water from this water point and feed my cows without bothering anyone. Immediately after construction, we were facilitated with [a] chlorine dispenser. We are now able to treat water before consumption. This has made us have access to more clean water," he continued.

The protected spring, a year later.

Before the Spring's Protection

Like many men in Kenya, 65-year-old Charles feels the burden of ensuring his family has access to the water they need to meet their daily needs. Before the protection of the spring last year, that burden was often heavier because of contaminated water and a spring that was difficult to access.

Before the spring was protected.

Drinking the water had severe consequences. Many in his community suffered from waterborne diseases that created health problems and affected their daily lives. The spring's limited accessibility meant people wasted time trying to collect sufficient water to meet their needs. Collecting water sapped their physical and emotional energy, creating roadblocks and sometimes preventing them from earning a livable income. This negatively impacted their ability to care for their families. Charles, in particular, was very worried for his family's safety.

"The spring was constructed [a] long time [ago] when I was still a child. The spring got damaged over time, water flooded the collection area, and more spring eyes oozed from the backfilled area. The spring was in [a] terrible state. The spring was swampy. We believed the water we consumed was not safe. We couldn't send children to fetch water because [the] collection area was flooded," shared Charles.

Since the Spring's Protection

Your generous gift last year was much more than a simple donation; it was a powerful statement about your commitment to this community and Charles and his family's future. By supporting the protection of the spring, you made clean water an everyday reality for him, fostering hope for a brighter future.

Reliable, clean water lays the groundwork for improved health, education, and economic possibilities, allowing people like Charles to thrive. We frequently hear from those we interview that "water is life!"

Charles drinking clean water.

When asked what training topics have most impacted his life in the last year, Charles shared, "Soapmaking stood out during the training as it was a new skill I got. I had viewed soap making as a complex process, only to learn it's a simple skill one can learn and run with."

Having experienced this spring as a young child and seeing it once protected but fall apart in time, Charles was eager to ensure that didn't happen again.

"I have contacts for field officers who were in charge during construction. If an issue develops on this water point, I always call them for advice or clarification. [For] issues like drainage opening and cleanliness, we do them without contacting them. We have a water user committee in place, which I lead, and we work together to ensure the spring is properly functional," he gushed.

Charles' Future is Looking Bright!

You made a difference for Charles and the rest of his community a year ago. This is just the first chapter of their story, as access to clean water continues to improve their lives!

Charles caring for his livestock.

At The Water Project, we value sustainability and want to ensure that people like Charles continue to thrive. We commit to monitoring this spring to ensure the water is always flowing and safe to consume. We inspect the system hardware, track water availability, conduct sanitary inspections, and collect water quality samples to identify risks. We work with our team on the ground to resolve them.

You gave Charles a crucial tool for achieving his dreams: access to clean water. Together, we can excitedly expect that with this precious resource, his enthusiasm and courage will help him fulfill his dreams.

"My future is now. My family and community have access to clean water. This has been my dream. I have a legacy of enabling my grandchildren to have access to clean water," concluded Charles.

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 Tengeti 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 Tengeti 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.


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