Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 175 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/02/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Ngovilo Spring is located in a rural area of Bukhankunga Community. There are a lot of indigenous trees around and lots of sugarcane and maize farmlands. The buildings are made of either mud or grass thatching with very few semi-permanent structures around. It is a peaceful community of 175 people who are often found busy on their farms.

Most of these people are small-scale farmers. A few of the men work as boda boda (motorbike taxi) drivers. An average day starts at 6am. The women wake up and prepare the children for school. After that, they prepare breakfast and set the table. They rush to Ngovilo Spring and fetch water.

The water source is located in a busy area of the community. The water is contaminated by nearby households and farms. We noticed sugarcane farming up the slope which opens the spring to contamination when it rains. The water gathers around the collection point for people to gather each day.

Access is challenging because of the bushy environment that has been allowed to crowd the water source. People fill their containers with water from an old pipe that is rusted and rotted due to contaminants from the fertilizers around the farms that surround the spring.

As a result, the water is unsafe for consumption.

"I'm worried for my children because the water from the spring is not safe for them to drink," said Phylis Nyongesa to us during a visit to the spring.

People suffer from waterborne diseases and mosquitoes that cause malaria breed in the stagnant water. Protecting the spring and carrying out training on hygiene and sanitation will help ensure that the water is safe and community members take appropriate steps to not contaminate the source.

After fetching the water, the women come back to sweep the compound and wash clothes. For those who have cows and goats, they go and tie them where they can graze. They then go to work on the family farm until midday when they return home to prepare lunch for the children. After lunch, they go fetch wood and fetch more water to use for bathing and for cooking in the evening. They then prepare dinner around 6pm, the family eats, and then retires to bed.

What we can do:


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

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Bukhakunga Community, Ngovilo 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.

Trainer Georgina passes out informational pamphlets on COVID-19

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 Bukhakunga, Kenya.

We trained more than 17 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.

Trainer Erick in action

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.

A community leader demonstrates 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.

Reviewing the prevention reminders chart

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.

A child shows how to cough and sneeze into the elbow

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 member shows the informational pamphlet

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.

March, 2019: Bukhakunga Community, Ngovilo Spring Project Complete

Bukhakunga Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Ngovilo Spring has been transformed into a flowing, safe 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

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

"Right now I feel safe even drinking the water directly from the spring. Previously, the algae in the water made me reluctant to have the water drawn for consumption," said Mr. Shokomela.

"Thank you for constructing for us the spring to access clean and safe water for drinking. May the good Lord bless you abundantly."

The 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. Both men and women were there with the artisan every day to make sure that work could keep progressing quickly.

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.

Starting on the walls

As the wing walls and headwall cured, the stairs were set and ceramic tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. The ceramic tiles installed under the discharge pipe protect 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 concrete dried over the course of five days, during which a community member wetted the concrete to make sure it would dry without cracking. The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination.

After the completion of the construction work, the community immediately called the field officer and asked if they could start accessing water. We went as a team to meet the community at the spring to do an official handing over ceremony. With this spring now handed over to the community, we will continue to follow up with the water committee to make sure everything runs smoothly.

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

We worked with a local church leader, Pastor Julius, to gather community members for a health training. Pastor Julius went door to door throughout the village to invite people. Being sugarcane harvesting season in the community, we were pleasantly surprised with a good turnout.

Turnout was great!

They learned about:

– Leadership and governance
– Management and maintenance of the spring
– Family planning
– Personal hygiene, including handwashing

As we talked about body hygiene, the women complained that their husbands rarely hand over their clothes to go in the laundry. The training also stressed the need to bathe, and many women were happy to have their husbands hear about the importance of a regular bath. All of the men agreed by the end of the session after hearing that being dirty is causing illness and infection, which in turn costs them money for treatment. This topic was a true eye-opener!

– Dental hygiene

– Waterborne and water-related disease, along with water treatment methods

When talking about water pollution, women discovered that they aren't keeping their water clean as they transport it and store it back home. Their water containers don't have covers, they linger with their water on the way back home - sitting on the containers without covers talking to each other - and lastly the same cup they use to fetch water in the house from the container is used for direct drinking.

"You know, it was said that the little things we tend to ignore are the very things that end up hurting us. We have learned that most of them are affecting our health and causing us illnesses. Thank you for reaching out to communities with such information," said Mrs. Nandi.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

February, 2019: Bukhakunga Community, Ngovilo Spring Project Underway

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

Get to know this 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 news of success!

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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