Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 140 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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The 140 community members living in Indoli desperately want their primary water source, Kalerwa Spring, protected. They have received many promises in the past from aspiring politicians. Still, when election season is over, those promises evaporate into thin air until election time comes again several years later. Community members have grown frustrated and weary.

The desire to protect their water source is understandable, considering how difficult it is to access and how much wasted time is consumed by people simply trying to get the water they need to survive. Even with the risks, people must still descend the stony, steep hill daily to collect water. It is especially challenging after night falls, but most community members collect water then because they spend their days cultivating food on their farms.

"I have fallen several times while fetching water here. Balancing on the stones is very dangerous as they are slippery," said 35-year-old business lady Phoebe Ong'anyo (seen below).

Fetching water is not only dangerous, but it is also a long and tedious process.

Once people safely reach the waterpoint, they must wait in long lines before collecting water while balancing on wet rocks in a small, muddy pool. The water flows slowly, and the improvised collection pipe is not situated correctly. The too-short pipe sticks out from a bank of dirt and does not sit far enough above the ground, meaning most people's collection containers will not fit. Therefore, people must slowly transfer water into their larger jugs bit by bit using a smaller container. And finally, once their container is full, they carefully climb back up the steep hill to make the trip home, carrying the heavy jug.

"Fetching water is difficult because it takes a lot of time to fill up a container," said 13-year-old Elvis O., shown below carrying water home.

Unfortunately, the water people spend so much effort and time collecting is contaminated. People report suffering from water-related illnesses like typhoid, costing them their health, time, and resources which they can't afford to waste.

"The community is therefore pleading that they are considered for their spring to be protected as this will save them both time and resources," said our field officer Protus Ekesa.

The proposed project will help the community gain easier access to safer water and hopefully restore faith in people truly wanting to help.

The Proposed Solution, Determined Together...

At The Water Project, everyone has a part in conversations and solutions. We operate in transparency, believing it benefits everyone. We expect reliability from one another as well as our water solutions. Everyone involved makes this possible through hard work and dedication.

In a joint discovery process, community members determine their most advantageous water solution alongside our technical experts. Read more specifics about this solution on the What We're Building tab of this project page. Then, community members lend their support by collecting needed construction materials (sometimes for months ahead of time!), providing labor alongside our artisans, sheltering and feeding the builders, and supplying additional resources.

Water Access for Everyone

This water project is one piece in a large puzzle. In Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Uganda, we're working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources that guarantee public access now and in the future within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. One day, we hope to report that this has been achieved!

Training on Health, Hygiene & More

With the community's input, we've identified topics where training will increase positive health outcomes at personal, household, and community levels. We'll coordinate with them to find the best training date. Some examples of what we train communities on are:

  • Improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits
  • Safe water handling, storage & treatment
  • Disease prevention and proper handwashing
  • Income-generation
  • Community leadership, governance, & election of a water committee
  • Operation and maintenance of the water point

Chlorine Dispensers

Installing chlorine dispensers is an important piece of our spring protection projects. Protecting a spring provides community members with an improved water source, but it doesn’t prevent contamination once the water is collected and stored. For example, if the water is clean and the container is dirty, the water will become contaminated.

We ensure that each chlorine dispenser is filled with diluted chlorine on a consistent schedule so that people can add pre-measured drops to each container of water they collect. That way, community members can feel even more confident in the quality of their water.

Project Updates

May, 2024: Indoli Community Spring Protection Complete!

Indoli 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.

"As a farmer, I'm very glad for the spring protection and will have [an] easier time and effort in farming and livestock keeping. I will improve my produce due to the easy access to water, and my children will not fail to attend school because of a stomach upset or being infected with illnesses like dysentery or typhoid," shared 37-year-old farmer Javan Kalerwa.


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

"My parents are growing old and they were not that able to come to the spring with ease, that's why they used to send me to the spring. With this spring protection, they will be able to access the water source. I was always going to school late just because I went to the source and found [the] water was not clean (unsettled), making me wait for it to settle to be able to fetch the water. [I went] to school late or even missed school because of waterborne illnesses. With the spring protection, it will help me get to school and the teacher will have [an] easier time teaching," stated 13-year-old Everlyn.


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 gathering materials.

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.

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 planting grass.

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.

The protected 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.

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, Joyce Naliaka, Adelaide Nasimiyu, Joy Ongeri, Faith Muthama, and Mercy Wamalwa deployed to the site to lead the event. 18 people attended the training, including 12 women and 6 men.

Making soap during the training.

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.

Dental hygiene lesson.

Field officer Joy Ongeri shared that the Indoli Community was most engaged in the topic of dental hygiene. "The participants were able to engage on how often they should brush their teeth, what alternative they can use if they don't have money to buy toothbrushes and toothpaste, and also what can cause bad breath even after brushing their teeth."

We asked Pamela Odinga, a training participant and the treasurer of the water user committee what stood out to her from the training. She said, "The oral hygiene topic, where I was able to know how frequently I should brush my teeth and how to do it. The training was able to touch on important issues, like site management where they should keep the water source clean and not wash or do their laundry near the spring. [Also],  soapmaking, [which] the community was very eager to know and take part in because it may earn some income for themselves and also how to keep themselves clean most especially their bodies, clothes, and undergarments."

Pamela (blue dress) participates in the training on proper handwashing.


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!

April, 2024: Indoli Community Spring Protection Underway!

The lack of adequate water in the Indoli 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!


North Dunedin Baptist Church
52 individual donor(s)