Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 280 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/02/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Maria Spring is located in Mungaha B Community of Kakamega County. The people of this community are blessed with many acres of land, so farming is the main activity carried out.

A normal day begins early in the morning around 6:00 am. Students are seen all over the roads rushing to schools - this is a good indicator that education is highly valued. Women are seen taking their containers to the spring to get water as the male counterparts ensure the cattle are directed to their grazing areas.

The people of this community make their livelihoods from casual labor and vegetable farming. What makes this community special is that they border the Lusumu River. This river provides water which is used for irrigation and so they never lack food, especially vegetables.

Despite the community having the river as a natural resource, it is also a risk for the community members in the rainy season. The water overflows and floods their crops causing destruction. Accidents are also rampant for the children who swim in this river. Those who do not know how to swim easily drown.


A student from St. Kizito Lusumu approached the field officer after attending one of our trainings at her school. After listening keenly during the introduction, she heard the officer explain the main focus areas of our work. This is when she remembered life back at home - how they hustle to get clean water.

The water is gathered from an open spring which does have stones that prevent people from stepping into the water and making it dirty. They use mostly jugs to get the water and then pour it into larger 20-liter jerrican. Those containers are then used to carry the water back to their homes.

Some come with sieves to keep visible particles and dirt out of the collected water. The gathered water is stored in plastic containers for up to 1-2 days and used for a variety of things from drinking to cooking to cleaning.

The poverty level in the community is high and this is why they cannot afford large storage containers, making them go to the spring more than once a day. The time wasted traveling back and forth to fetch the water negatively affects the community, especially the women who generally have to get the water for their households.

The current water source is likely contaminated since it is directly open to all kind of bacteria and any other pollutants.

The community's safe water shortage fosters waterborne diseases like typhoid which makes the community members sick. Another effect is school absenteeism. Many children miss school due to poor health caused by the unclean water.

"Our grandparents have used this spring the way it is and up to now, we are still following as we suffer waterborne diseases. The most painful part is when we see our young children suffer diarrhea and we do not know where to get help," Beatrice Maende, a local businesswoman, said.


More than three-quarters of households have latrines. The condition of the latrines is not very good. Most are in poor shape, with walls made of rusted iron sheets. The doors are made of sugar sacks which flutter around when there is a strong wind.

Garbage is disposed of in a compost pit where plastic bags are burnt.

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

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Mungaha B Community, Maria 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.

A woman shows the COVID-19 informational pamphlet she received at training

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 Mungaha B, Kenya.

We trained more than 22 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.

Making a leaky tin demonstration

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.

Demonstrating a functional leaky tin

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.


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.

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.

Homemade face mask tutorial

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.

Installing the prevention remidners chart at the spring

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: Mungaha B Community, Maria Spring

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

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

November, 2018: Mungaha B Community Project Complete

Mungaha B Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Maria 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.

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was organized as community members were preparing to host our artisan for construction. Our field officer, Jemmimah Khasoha, frequently visited the community and communicated with them on the importance of good hygiene and the need for training. She made sure to invite everyone who uses Maria Spring.

Community members opted to meet in the shade of a tree right by the spring.

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.

Jemmimah demonstrates how to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

People loved talking more about personal hygiene, particularly about brushing teeth. One of the ladies said she hadn't brushed her teeth for a year. All she does is rinse her mouth out with water after a meal. For her, learning about the need for a cleansing agent like toothpaste was very impactful.

Discussion on toothbrushing

"Despite giving us clean and safe water, you have also given us sanitation platforms and additional training. Knowledge and information are power and a tool to success," Rose Nafumwa said.

"I am very grateful for the training, especially the topic on hygiene and sanitation, for I have been ignorant on issues that have affected my life personally. Now, I am informed and am in a better position to live a happy, healthy life and also impact change in the life of others."

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.

Spring Protection

Construction at Maria Spring was successful and water is now flowing from the discharge pipe.

The group was active and very cooperative throughout the entire process. Immediately after backfilling the spring, the community members planted grass and trees to prevent erosion.

"You are God-sent angels. Many have had false promises of protecting this spring and all have been in vain," Margaret Musioma recalled.

"We really thank God who brought you here for we are really saved. The joy we have for clean water is like that of a mother for having the safe delivery of her first baby. We promise to take good care of this so as it can serve us and even our great-grandchildren."

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.

A woman carrying bricks down to where the artisan is working.

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

Our artisan leveling the ground for a solid cement foundation.

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.

Community members planting grass behind their spring - the finishing touches for this project!

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.

September, 2018: Mungaha B Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Maria Spring is making people in Mungaha B 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 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: Mungaha B Community, Maria Spring

October, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Mungaha B Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Violet Khanal. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mungaha B 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!

Field Officer Laura Alulu recently returned from a visit to Maria Spring in Mungaha B, and shared the following reflection:

"Life for the community members of Maria Spring has really changed in the past year. This can be seen from the reception which they showed me when I visited the spring, and one looking at the facial expressions would definitely see this joy of having clean and plenty of water.

No more fights at the water point as many women could line up for [a] long [time] and quarrel over others making the water dirty. So far, they have really tried to maintain the project. The drainage is well kept, the surrounding environment is also maintained. This group is lucky to have a spring with very good discharge. So far the ones maintaining [it] are really doing a good job."

During her visit, Field Officer Laura interviewed several community members to learn more about how their lives have been impacted by the spring's protection. Violet Khanal, a young man in Mungaha B, reflected with maturity on how this project has changed his community.

Khanal at the spring

"Community members are now in peace. This stands out because women no longer quarrel over water issues. The village elders used to solve so many cases that resulted from the water point, but since [the] implementation of this water point life has really remained peaceful. The community members enjoy good health since there are no more cases of waterborne diseases. The men can easily help out their wives to fetch water since it has become easier while collecting and saves a lot of time."

Dunstone Ochinji gives a thumbs up at the spring

7-year-old Dunstone Ochanji was not to be left out in sharing his thoughts at the spring, as he splashed and played in the flowing water.

"Since the project was completed last year, fetching water has really become easier for the children. One simply needs to go and place the water container under the pipe and it fills so fast."

Charles Mutwaro fetches water

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 Mungaha B 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 Mungaha B 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.


St. Therese Foundation