Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 348 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/01/2024

Project Features

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Thomas Spring is located in Makhumbi sub-location in Malava sub-county. It serves some 348 people in the community.

For this community, a normal day starts by getting up early in the morning, at about 6am, and going to their farms.

If they are not tilling their lands in preparation for planting, they are harvesting the ready produce from the farms. After which, the food is stored for future use or taken to the markets to be sold.

Many people in this community engage in small-scale dairy farming, poultry keeping, and cash crop farming tea and sugar cane plantations to make a small income. Though the income from the sale of these crops is low, the community members adjust their budgets so as to meet their daily family needs and hence keep life going.

They also grow bananas and practice subsistence farming of vegetables, maize, beans, groundnuts and other crops meant for eating.


Thomas Spring is an unprotected water source less than a mile away from most of its users. Due to the fact that many of the people are low earners, efforts made in the past to try and protect this spring did not bear any fruits.

People use jugs to draw water and pour them into the containers then carry it home for various uses. The water is stored at home in plastic containers, often without lids.

The water is contaminated by surface runoff from nearby farms. The water gets turbid after a few scoops and some people come from their farms with dirty hands and legs to clean themselves in the spring.

As a result, many people suffer from stomachache, diarrhea, and fever. When they go to get tested, they are diagnosed with the waterborne disease typhoid.


Fewer than half of households have latrines. The few that exist are often semi-permanent in nature, with floors made of wood, walls of mud, roofs of old iron sheets, and doors made of old rags. In some cases, the doors are made of old iron sheets.

Other latrines are improvized - spots that utilize brushes and plants to establish a private place for people to relieve themselves.

Most homesteads have clotheslines and dish racks. People throw the garbage into the banana plantation to compost into manure.

They were excited about the idea of improvising hand washing stations and are eager to learn more about hygiene and sanitation.

Here’s what we’re going to do about it:


Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least two days. This training will ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance. The facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation), CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development), group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring. One of the most important topics 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’s consumed. Handwashing will also be a big topic.

Training will also result in the formation of a committee that will oversee operations and maintenance at the spring. They 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. The fence will keep out destructive animals, and the drainage will keep the area’s mosquito population at a minimum.

Sanitation Platforms

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrine floors.

Training will also inform the community and selected families on what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, such as bricks, clean sand, hardcore, and ballast. The five families chosen for sanitation platforms must prepare by sinking a pit for the sanitation platforms to be placed over. All community members must work together to make sure that accommodations and food are always provided for the work teams.

Spring Protection

Protecting the spring will ensure that the water is safe, adequate and secure. 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 predominantly a female role, done by both women and young girls. Protecting the spring and offering training and support will, therefore, help empower the female members of the community by giving them more time and efforts to engage and invest in income-generating activities.

Project Updates

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Musiachi Community, Thomas Spring

Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.

Reviewing prevention reminders chart

We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to rural communities like Musiachi, Kenya.

Trainer Betty setts up a tippy tap handwashing station

We trained more than 15 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

Handwashing session with Trainer Shigali

We covered essential hygiene lessons:

- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station

- Proper handwashing technique

- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing

- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.

Everyone practices the 10 steps of handwashing

We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:

- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19

- What social distancing is and how to practice it

- How to cough into an elbow

- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.

- How to make and properly wear a facemask.

Handwashing volunteer

During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point, along with a sign with reminders of what we covered.

Homemade mask tutorial

Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.


We continue to stay in touch with this community as the pandemic progresses. We want to ensure their water point remains functional and their community stays informed about the virus.

Community members pose with their COVID-19 informational pamphlets at the end of the training

Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.

October, 2019: Giving Update: Musiachi Community, Thomas Spring

A year ago, your generous donation helped Musiachi Community in Kenya access clean water.

There’s an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water at Thomas Spring in Musiachi. Month after month, their giving supports ongoing sustainability programs that help this community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Read more…

October, 2018: Musiachi Community Project Complete

Musiachi Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Thomas Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of water thanks to your donation. The spring is protected from contamination, five sanitation platforms have been provided for the community, and training has been done on sanitation and hygiene.

Spring Protection

"We used to spend a lot of time removing mud and dirt from our water, especially when it rained," recalled Mr. Gideon Mutiso.

"We can now drink clean water and this gives me a sense of pride within. This spring is now accessible and all our worries about contamination have been eliminated."

Construction Process:

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, and gravel. Community members also hosted our artisans for the duration of construction. They helped our artisan with some of his manual labor and were very dedicated to the work.

Men taking charge of delivering sand to the spring construction site.

The spring area was excavated with jembes, hoes, and spades to create space for setting the foundation of polyethylene, wire mesh, and concrete.

After the base had been set, both wing walls and the headwall were set in place using brickwork. The discharge pipe was fixed low in place through the headwall to direct the water from the reservoir to the drawing area.

As the wing walls and headwall cured, the stairs were set and ceramic tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. This protects the concrete from the erosive force of the falling water and beautifies the spring. The process of plastering the headwall and wing walls on both sides reinforces the brickwork and prevents water from the reservoir from seeping through the walls and allows pressure to build in the collection box to push water up through the discharge pipe.

The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination.

The concrete dried over the course of five days. With this spring now handed over to the community, we will continue to follow up with the water user committee to make sure everything runs smoothly. The water committee has already put up a spring around the area to protect their water source from unnecessary damage caused by wild animals and other things.

A through-the-fence view of happy community members at their protected spring.

Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed and make wonderful, easy to clean latrine floors. These five families are happy about this milestone of having a latrine of their own. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

New Knowledge

During our construction supervision, we informed community member Mrs. Ruth Elijah about the need for hygiene and sanitation training. We talked with her and found that Saturday would be an ideal day. She promised to spread the word to her neighbors and beyond. Being a woman of her word, attendance was far more than we expected.

A good number of men over age 50 showed up, which was an exciting thing. Women normally far exceed the men during training because women are traditionally seen as most responsible for water and cleaning chores around the home. We were humbled to have men there who listened intently and were willing to learn.

We covered several topics including but not limited to leadership and governance (participants started a water and sanitation committee); operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; the spread of disease and prevention. We also covered water treatment methods, personal care like handwashing, environmental hygiene, and hygiene promotion. These participants will become ambassadors of healthy living among their own families and their greater community.

Handwashing demonstration

Mrs. Ruth Elijah had a few moments of regretting her role as training host. When talking about certain topics, the trainer would often ask her to demonstrate what she does around her home. When talking about dental hygiene, she volunteered to get her toothbrush and toothpaste to show us how to brush teeth.

However, we had to point out that her toothbrush was way too old to continue using. She handled the information with grace and considered it a good learning opportunity.

"This training will help me to be clean from head to toe," Mrs. Lilian Ochutsi said.

"I'm confident that I will raise a healthy generation which practices good hygiene and drinks clean water!"

September, 2018: Musiachi Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Thomas Spring is making people in Musiachi Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know your community through the narrative 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 Videos

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!

Giving Update: Musiachi Community, Thomas Spring

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Musiachi 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!

Thomas Spring in Musiachi has been providing improved water quantity and quality for human consumption for community members here ever since its protection last year. The water is now easily accessible even during the rainy season due to the installation of a discharge pipe and stairs that prevent the risk of slipping and falling. 

The community members are very proud of their water because the discharge remained constant even during the prolonged drought, one of the harshest on record in Kenya. Community members are planning to plant a live fence around the spring because the dried tree branches are not long-lasting, and they wish to maintain and protect their spring diligently.

Juma Ambundo, a 56-year-old community member who uses Thomas Spring, reflected on the changes in his community since this project's completion last year.

(To hear Juma, check out his video on the "photos" tab of this project page!)

"Since the spring was protected last year, we now drink clean water. During the rainy seasons [before protection], we had to pull out mud from the spring before accessing the water. Our women and children used to suffer from diarrhea and stomachache but now we hardly hear them complaining. The training that was conducted in the community empowered the chairman [of the water committee] with authority to punish naughty children who used to [relieve] themselves in sugarcane and maize plantations. This has reduced the rate of open defecation in the community."

9-year-old Austine Amumbwe shared what these changes have meant for him as a child in his village:

"I no longer see fetching water as a punishment. The discharge pipe has made it easy, quick, and enjoyable for us. My mother does not even have to ask me to get water because I voluntarily take my container and get her water."

Austine waves from the spring

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 Musiachi 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 Musiachi 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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