Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 244 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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The 244 community members who live in Eshiakhulo rely on Omusotsi Spring as their primary water source, but the water source is unprotected, its water is questionable, and it is nearly impossible to access when it rains.

"I have been forced to buy water twice when I came and found the water mixed with runoff and had no drinking water in the house," said 42-year-old farmer Ann Mukasia, shown below collecting water.

It is obvious that an attempt was made to protect the water point in the past, but it does not meet safety standards. And although the community does its best to keep the area clean and the grass cut back, there are still several issues with the structure itself.

There is a crumbling cement retaining wall, and the water collection pipe is missing entirely. The spring box floods, especially during the rainy season, because there are no drainage channels to prevent runoff from overtaking the area. And there are no stairs to ease access or side walls to keep debris and animals out.

To collect water, individuals place their buckets against the wall under the hole where a pipe should be to collect the trickle of water flowing out of the wall. It is a ridiculously slow process that wastes everyone's time and energy for very little return.

And sadly, those who consume the water experience vomiting, fever, and diarrhea regularly. But without an alternative solution, the only other choice is to buy water which most cannot afford.

"I woke up one day with [a] fever after drinking this water, and I didn't go to school," said 13-year-old Ian O., shown below carrying water.

With proper spring protection, community members should be able to safely and efficiently collect water and drink the water without the worry of becoming ill. And then, hopefully, they will have the time and energy to use to improve their daily lives.

"They will be grateful after the protection of the water point as they want to concentrate on other house chores, farms, and even their small-scale businesses," concluded our field officer, Protus.

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, COVID-19, 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. We will also have a dedicated session on COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention best practices.

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

April, 2024: Eshiakhulo Community Spring Protection Complete!

Eshiakhulo 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.

"Reliable and safe water will help me and my family live healthy and happily. Being a peasant farmer, I'll be able to do my work on the farm and get enough food for my family and [a] surplus for selling. I plan to advance in farming both in farm and livestock and grow economically since I have access to clean and reliable water," said 49-year-old farmer Ann Mukasia.

Ann at the protected spring.

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

"I have a dream of being a teacher in [the] future. Therefore, easy access to clean water will make me healthy, so I'll always be in school. Improving my performance will enable me [to] achieve my goal and dream," said 15-year-old Cynthia.


"It has become easy to access [water], and it has given me time to study, and I believe I will improve my performance. Lastly, it has led to reduced injuries because of [the] staircase, unlike the previous situation where the place was so slippery and during [the] rainy season it was really hard for us to access water," concluded Cynthia.

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 participate in 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 it. These help 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.

Starting the foundation.

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 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.

Fencing the protected spring.

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.

The completed protected spring.

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, Faith, Joy, Elvin, Mercy, and Jacqueline deployed to the site to lead the event. Fifteen people attended the training, including seven women and eight men. We were fortunate enough to have the serene shade of trees as our training ground.

Learning to make soap.

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.

"When the participants were asked how often they wash their blankets, [the] men quickly responded and said their blankets are washed once a year. The trainer sought to know the reasons which led to blankets being washed once a year. The women responded and said it's because men never provide soap for washing, also, leaving them with so many responsibilities. Men did not accept defeat in the argument; they answered and said women claim that when they wash blankets often, they will get torn. The trainer encouraged them to wash the blankets often since it's part of personal hygiene," Field Officer Jacqueline Kangu said.


"I've learned that there's power in unity and that when united, nothing can be too hard for us. I've also learned to ensure that I maintain hygiene to keep away all sorts of diseases. This will enable me to engage in income-generating activities, which will help me grow economically," said 49-year-old farmer Everline Luchera.


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!

February, 2024: Eshiakhulo Community Spring Protection Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Eshiakhulo 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 with community members 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!


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1 individual donor(s)