Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 12/14/2023

Project Features

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When we arrived in Ewamakhumbi Village, we met Robert Maina Mukungu at his homestead. Robert led us down a slope to his farmland where Mukungu Spring is located, near Ewamakhumbi Primary School. As it is currently rainy season in Western Kenya, the weather was cool and cloudy that morning. It was a beautiful day.

The land in Ewamakhumbi is relatively flat with fertile soil and a favorable climate that supports farming and other activities. The lands are green with vegetation. Farming is the most economic activity practiced here, with farmers growing crops like maize, vegetables, sweet potatoes, yams, and sugarcane. These crops are used for food at homes and excess is sold to the nearest market to improve their livelihoods.

The young men have their own small businesses like bodaboda (motorbike taxis) and construction work. The road to the village is relatively good which supports the movement of goods and other products to the various markets in the area. Bullfighting is a special traditional activity here, and we could spot huge bulls feeding around the village. These bulls are highly treasured since the activity brings a lot of money to the owners.

The community members wake up at 6:00 am every morning. Each person has their own responsibility as the mother prepares the children for school, and the father gets ready to engage in work at the farms or the market depending on their profession. Whether it is planting or harvesting season, the community members work hard all through the year to ensure survival. The day ends at 5:00 pm depending on the day's activities, except for the women who continue to cook dinner for their families.

Mukungu Spring serves more than 200 people in Ewamakhumbi. The landowner, Mr. Robert Mukungu, is very friendly and willing for anyone to access the water point. The spring is not affected by the dry season and has a lot of water. The spring has been in existence and has never gone dry for as long as the oldest person in the village can remember.

The water from Mukungu Spring, however, is not safe for consumption since it is open to all sorts of contaminants. These include contamination from people bathing and stepping into the water while fetching it. Because the spring is also located within Robert's farm, when it rains there are chemical fertilizers that drain into the unprotected spring. This dirty water is making people here sick with typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea.

"We assume the water is clean considering it is clear and we also sieve it before drinking, but we have cases where people are infected by...diseases due to using contaminated water," explained Robert.

Once at Mukungu Spring, people collect water by using a jug to scoop water into larger containers, which are filled one by one. This can take quite a bit of time. This also causes contamination since people must dip their hands and containers directly into the water to fetch it. Without easy access to clean water, good hygiene practices such as bathing twice a day and washing clothes daily are sacrificed.

"We ensure that our houses are clean by sweeping and cleaning the environment around [them]," said John Akaliche, a businessman and young father in the village.

"We try as much as possible to avoid open defecation in order to prevent [the] outbreak of hygiene and sanitation diseases."

But they struggle to do so when not all homes have latrines. For those that do, there is currently no handwashing or water and soap available to do so after every use.

With teamwork and determination, the people of Ewamakhumbi showed us they are ready to embrace the protection of Mukungu Spring, expressing their thanks to God for remembering their prayers for help.

What we can do:

Spring Protection

Protecting the spring will help provide access to cleaner and safer water. 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.


Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least 2 days. This training will ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance. The facilitators will use Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST), Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), 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 is consumed. We will also emphasize the importance of handwashing.

Training will result in the formation of a committee that will oversee the operations and maintenance of 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 channels. 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 5 families that should benefit from new concrete latrine floors called sanitation platforms. Training will inform the community and selected families on what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, including bricks, clean sand, and gravel. The 5 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. The families will then be asked to complete their latrines by constructing a superstructure over their platforms. These 5 sanitation platforms will then serve as examples for the rest of the community to replicate on their own.

Project Updates

July, 2020: Ewamakhumbi Community, Mukungu Spring Project Complete!

Please note, all photos in this report were taken before social distancing recommendations went into effect.

Ewamakhumbi Community now has access to clean water! Mukungu Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of water thanks to your donation. We protected the spring, constructed 5 sanitation platforms for different households in the community, and we trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices.

Women celebrate the completed spring

"The members of Mukungu Spring have been the best when it came to material mobilization and community engagement," said Georgina Kamau, the Lead Field Officer for this project.

"They made the construction process very smooth for the artisan. Supervision was also easy as well. The members were very dedicated to getting clean and safe drinking water. They continue to return their gratitude for the project and hope to get more initiatives in their community."

Community members were excited to access clean and safe drinking water for the first time from Mukungu Spring.

"The protected spring will make fetching water fun and easy for me since the place is now clean and easy to access," said 34-year-old farmer Mildred Ingavi.

"We have been experiencing cold and flu from time to time and spending money on drugs, but this will stop since the water is now protected from contamination," said 68-year-old farmer Aggrey Musungu.

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 stones to break them down into gravel. Because people have to carry most items by hand, the materials collection process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.

When everything was prepared, we sent a lorry to the community to deliver the rest of the construction materials including the cement, plastic tarps, and hardware. Then, our artisan and field officers deployed to the spring to begin work. While the field officers traveled to and from the site each day throughout the construction process, the artisan remained in the community. To accommodate him, individual households provided meals and a place to sleep each night.

The last step before construction commenced was taking a water sample from the unprotected spring. We sent the sample to a government laboratory for testing to identify the kinds of contaminants in the water before its protection. These often include fertilizers and pesticides from farms, animal and human feces, and any number of harmful bacteria. We then shared the test results with the community to identify extra steps they could take to help ensure the spring’s water remains clean and safe after protection.

From Open Source to Protected Spring: A Step-by-Step Process

At last, it was time to dig in at the spring! Women and men lent their strength to the artisan each day to help with the manual labor. First, we cleared and excavated the spring area. We dug a drainage channel below the spring and several surface runoff diversion channels above and around the spring. These help to divert the environmental contaminants identified in the pre-construction water quality test.

Excavation begins

To ensure community members could still fetch water throughout the construction process, we also dug temporary diversion channels from the spring’s eye around the construction site. This allowed water to flow without severely disrupting community members’ water needs or construction work.

Crabs found living in the spring during excavation - visual proof of animal contamination

Excavation created space for setting the spring’s foundation made of thick plastic tarp, wire mesh, concrete, and waterproof cement. After setting the base, we started brickwork to build the headwall, wing walls, and the stairs.

Waiting for concrete foundation to set to begin brickwork

Next, we began one of the most crucial steps of spring protection to ensure a fully functional water point: setting the discharge pipe. Mukungu Spring had such a naturally high yield that we decided to install 2 discharge pipes to maximize efficieny and output at the spring.

Wall construction

The discharge pipes have to be set low enough in place in the headwall so that the water level inside never rises above the spring’s eye, yet high enough to leave 18-20 inches between the pipe and the spring floor to allow room for the average jerrycan (a 20-liter container) to sit beneath the pipe without making contact.

Setting the pipes

If the discharge pipe were placed too high above the spring’s eye, too much backpressure could force the flow to emerge elsewhere. Too low, and community members would not be able to easily access the water. We embedded the pipe using clay (or mortar when the clay is in short supply) and placed it at a slight incline to ensure water flows in the right direction.

Stone pitching

In coordination with brickwork, we pitched medium to large stones on both sides of the spring’s drainage channel. We then cemented and plastered each stone group into place, forming the rub walls. These help to discourage people and animals from trying to stand on that area, which could cause soil erosion and thus a clogged drainage area.

Plasterwork on the interior of the headwall

With brickwork and stone pitching completed, we turned to cement and plaster both sides of the headwall and wing walls. This reinforces the brickwork and prevents water in the reservoir from seeping through the walls. In turn, this builds enough pressure in the reservoir box to push water out through the discharge pipe.


As the headwall and wing walls were curing, we cemented and plastered the stairs and installed 4 tiles beneath the discharge pipes. The tiles protect the concrete from the erosive force of the falling water, beautify the spring, and facilitate easy cleaning of the spring floor.

Backfilling with clay

With the tiles in place, we transitioned to the final stages of construction - backfilling the reservoir box. First, we cleared the collection box of any debris that may have fallen in since its construction such as dead leaves or other items. Then we redirected the temporary diversion channels back into the reservoir box, channeling water into this area for the first time. We closed off all of the other exits to start forcing the water through the discharge pipe only.

Backfilling with stones

With much help from the community, we filled up the reservoir area with the clean and large stones they gathered, arranging them in layers like a well-fitting puzzle. We covered the stones with a thick plastic tarp to minimize potential sources of contamination from aboveground, followed by a layer of soil. We piled enough soil on top to create a slight mound to compensate for the backfill’s future settlement.

Fencing and planting grass over the spring

Community members transplanted grass onto the backfilled soil to help prevent erosion. Finally, the collection area was fenced in to discourage any person or animal from walking on it since compaction can lead to disturbances in the backfill layers and potentially compromise water quality.

The entire construction process took about 2 weeks of work and patience to allow the cement and plaster to finish curing. As soon as it was ready, people got the okay from our field officers to begin fetching water. We met them there to celebrate this momentous occasion. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day flowing in all directions.

Sanitation Platforms

All 5 sanitation platforms have been completed and handed over to their new owners. These 5 families are happy about this milestone of having a private latrine of their own and are optimistic that people will no longer leave waste outdoors. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors, and for other families to replicate the design after having helped construct these examples.

Sanitation platform under construction at a family's home

New Knowledge

Community member and spring landowner Robert Maina Mukungu helped organize the training in coordination with our team. Together we found the community’s preferred date for training while considering other events in the community calendar such as the agricultural season and expected gatherings. When the day arrived, Lead Field Officer for the project Facilitator Georgina Kamau along with a small team of facilitators.

A young boy demonstrates proper toothbrushing technique during the dental hygiene session at training

17 people attended training, which was held in Mr. Mukungu's homestead. The attendance was as expected, and everyone was attentive and participatory throughout the day. A balance of genders and ages was represented among the participants. The sun was scorching hot that morning but that did not affect the training session. We met at Mukungu's homestead and set up our spot under tree shade.

At the time of this training, COVID-19 was not yet worldwide and had not arrived on the scene in Kenya, so it was not a topic we covered. Since then, however, we have developed trainings exclusively on COVID-19 prevention and awareness. Keep reading below this report for more photos from the COVID-19 training at Ewamakhumbi, and see how we continue to fight COVID-19 on the frontlines in all of the communities we serve.

All eyes on Trainer Georgina

We covered several topics including community participation in the project; leadership and governance; personal and environmental hygiene; water handling and treatment; operation and maintenance of the spring and sanitation platforms; dental hygiene; the 10 steps of handwashing, and how to make and use a tippy tap and leaky tin. During the leadership and governance session, we held an election for the leaders of the newly formed water user committee.

Handwashing demonstration

We also brainstormed income-generating activities that can be used to start both a community savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring, as well as a cooperative lending group to enable members to develop their own small businesses.

Handwashing demonstration

During the leadership and governance session, the group discussed the importance of unity and togetherness. They decided to form a group which will help improve their lives "because 2 hands are better than 1" and to also help them put down rules and regulations for the spring usage and maintenance. The group was named the Mukungu Community Group. This was the most interactive part of the training in that the members asked many questions regarding the rules and regulations of the spring. This means that they actually wanted to keep the spring functional for the longest time, thought our field officers.

Handwashing volunteer

Trainer Georgina told the group that operation and maintenance of spring is actually quite simple and requires very few skills. They covered how to protect the catchment area from potential contamination, periodic maintenance of the filter package, and cleaning the spring area of leaves and other terrestrial debris.

Operation and maintenance training at the spring

When an issue arises concerning the water project, the water user committee is equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our team of field officers to assist them. In addition, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

June, 2020: Ewamakhumbi Community, Mukungu Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Mukungu Spring is making people in Ewamakhumbi sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install 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

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ewamakhumbi Community, Mukungu 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.

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 Ewamakhumbi, Kenya.

We trained more than 14 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Before there were any reported cases in the area, we worked with trusted community leaders and the Water User Committee to gather community members for the training.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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: Ewamakhumbi Community, Mukungu Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Ewamakhumbi Community 2.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ewamakhumbi Community 2 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!

"Before construction of our spring, we used to fetch dirty water that was contaminated. Whenever we drank the water before treating it, we suffered stomachaches and diarrhea."

"Getting water is now very easy and enjoyable. At times, I just go and spend time cleaning the environment around the spring to ensure it's always clean."

"Our parents no longer spend money on medication treating us from waterborne diseases."

"With clean water at the spring, our health has really improved and when we resume school after COVID-19 our academic performance will be excellent."

Jeremiah with other children at 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 Ewamakhumbi Community 2 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 Ewamakhumbi Community 2 – 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.


Imago Dei Community
13 individual donor(s)