Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 175 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/08/2024

Project Features

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Mukangu Village is very rural, highly vegetated, and the buildings are predominantly semi-permanent with mud walls and iron sheet roofs with a few permanent houses. Farming and manual labor are the most common livelihoods here. As we entered the village and walked through different homesteads, we saw women working in the farms and children shelling maize. Sugarcane farming is also practiced at a small scale within some homesteads.

Mr. Aggrey Lusimba and his wife, Mrs. Selestine Lusimba, are one such household that owns a sugarcane plantation that is almost ready for harvesting. They are also the landowners of the area where Metah Spring is located.

Metah Spring is not very far away from most of the 175 people in Mukangu who use it, since the spring is centrally located. The path to the source is a bit steep and difficult to access during the rainy season as it gets slippery. The water quality seems poor as it has a lot of green algae inside the water. It is also not very clear due to the fact that it is open to contaminants from both humans and animals. We would drink this water only if it had undergone water purification like boiling or treatment, reported our teams.

Some community members in Mukangu do boil the water from Metah Spring before drinking it, while the others take it as it is. This latter group believes in a Kiswahili saying, "Maji haina roho mbaya." This is translated as "Water has no bad omen," meaning water naturally should be safe to drink.

There are, however, several known negative consequences of lacking safe water in this community.

"We are only at the mercy of God as the water we take is dirty and we often get sick," said Ruth Shikanga, a farmer in the village.

"We have had outbreaks of water-related diseases as a result of drinking this dirty water. Thank you for considering us [for spring protection]. We are happy that, finally, we shall now drink safe and clean water."

The most common diseases in Mukangu include malaria and other water-related infections, which are in part due to the unsafe water from unprotected Metah Spring.

"I've been married in this community for more than 15 years and at no point did anyone ever think about improving our water source," said Selestine Lusimba, the landowner of Metah Spring in tandem with her husband, Aggrey Lusimba.

"We drank dirty water year in year out. I am so glad that finally, God has answered our prayers."

This community does seem enlightened on some sanitation and hygiene issues. For one, as we walked through homesteads we saw 3 different leaky tins for handwashing around the latrines and each homestead had a dish rack. The greatest area that needs improvement is water handling, including how to prevent contamination from the point of collection to storage and use.

A day in Mukangu starts in the morning with normal morning chores, cleaning the house and the compound, taking breakfast, going to fetch water, and going to work on the farm with activities like plowing, planting, weeding, and harvesting. Later in the day, women prepare lunch for the young ones who go to school at Bukhaywa Primary School. In the evenings some will take maize cereals to the mill for flour, buy food in the market, and prepare supper for the night.

Right now in Makunga it is maize harvesting season, therefore in most homes, you will see the women and children occupied with shelling and drying off the maize. Others are already preparing their plantations for the second planting season. In the second planting season, most people will be planting beans, groundnuts, and vegetables for selling in Kakamega Town.

In this community, people identify strongly with their different cultures. The predominant sub-tribe of Luhya here are the Isukhas. Every Saturday morning in this community is a special day when all the daily activities are put aside between 5:00 am to 11:00 am when the whole village gathers to witness the bullfighting, a special tradition for Isukhas.

All activities stop as men, women, and children gather to see the fight between their bulls. We understand this community calendar and we intend to plan our training on days when the community is not engaged in such an activity as we know that no one will attend the training if it is scheduled on a bullfighting day.

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.


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 facilitator plans to 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. 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.

Project Updates

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Mukangu Community, Metah 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 Jacky makes a leaky tin

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 Mukangu, Kenya.

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 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.

Practicing handwashing steps

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.

All ages can learn handwashing

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 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.


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, 2020: Mukangu Community, Metah Spring Project Complete!

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

Mukangu Community now has access to clean water! Metah 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.

At Metah Spring, Dreams of Clean Water Run in the Family

This spring was named Metah after the late mother of Mr. Aggrey Lusimba, the spring's landowner. The name was written in memory of this late mother who pioneered to ensure that her family accessed clean and safe drinking water.

"Though she died before seeing her dream come true, but truly wherever she is she is singing and thanking God that her dream has finally been realized," said one of the key figures in this project.

Mr. Aggrey Lusimba

Mr. Lusimba elaborated on how Mama Metah would walk miles and miles, office to office, seeking help to have clean water in her community. This was prompted by the attack she had of typhoid that nearly cost her her life. She had to be hospitalized at the County Referral Hospital of Kakamega for treatment and spent close to Ksh 12,000 ($120) which was a lot of money that would have otherwise been used for undertaking other productive activities.

At one point, she made everyone laugh when she stated that she was going to write a proposal of spring protection to the president of Kenya as she believed it was the government's role to ensure that its people accessed clean and safe drinking water.

Rebecca Metah stands proudly with the spring (under construction at the time) that shares her namesake, her grandmother

"My name is Rebecca Metah, and I was named after my grandmother. She was called Metah. She was the pioneer of safe and clean drinking water in this community. She went to be with the Lord and may her soul rest in peace. She walked from office to office seeking help regarding the protection of our spring. From the chief's office to the District Commissioner's office, and all her efforts were futile. She walked with a 1-page proposal that was done by my elder brother Kusimba."

"Today in my life is the greatest day as I took over her name and I also inherited her passion for safe, clean water in this community. I had planned that once I start working I will use my salary to improve our spring. Thanks to your team and all of you who have worked tirelessly to ensure that we have safe clean drinking water," concluded Metah.

How We Protected Metah Spring

When the hardware materials were finally delivered to the community, the excitement amongst the community members could not be contained. Everyone gathered to see the deliveries being made that confirmed and truly marked the beginning of a turning point in their lives to accessing safe drinking water.

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, including bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, stones, and fencing poles. Accommodations and meals were provided for the artisan at Mr. Aggrey Lusimba's home, and women and men lent their strength to the artisan to help with the manual labor, too.

The Process

On the day the artisans arrived, they walked into the compound of Mr. Aggrey Lusimba and they were served with a cup of tea. They then proceeded straight to the spring. First, the spring area was cleared and excavated to create space for setting the foundation of thick plastic tarp, wire mesh, and concrete.  Since the rains had begun, the artisans covered the slab with cement bags and banana leaves and retired to Mr. Lusimba's home where they were sheltered. They were grateful to be served with hot steaming ugali (corn mush) and sukuma wiki (greens).

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.

Artisan sets the discharge pipe into the headwall

As the wing walls and headwall were curing, 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.

Cement work on the walls and stone pitching

The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a thick plastic tarp to prevent potential sources of contamination. Then soil was layered on top of the tarp so that community members could transplant grass to prevent erosion. Finally, the collection area was fenced in. It took about 2 weeks of patience for the concrete to dry.

Adding the thick plastic tarp as a mid-layer in the backfill

As soon as it was ready, people got the okay from our field officers to begin fetching clean water. We met them there to celebrate this momentous occasion. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day flowing in all directions.

Kids get a fresh cup of water from the spring

Sanitation Platforms

All 5 sanitation platforms have been installed. 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.

A new sanitation platform owner

New Knowledge

Village elder, spring landowner, and community pastor all-in-one Mr. Aggrey Lusimba helped organize the training in coordination with our team. As a man who commands respect and has a voice in this community, when he informed the community members about the project they all turned up and participated effectively in the construction and training. 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 this project Karen Maruti deployed to the site with Field Officer Betty Muhongo.

The quorum for the participants was not as expected, however, with just 11 people in attendance at training as the community had lost a dear one who was being removed from the morgue that day and a majority of the people had gone to be with the bereaved family and console them. Because they had awaited this project for so long, however, they agreed that the training should not be postponed but rather have representatives to attend the training as others proceeded to the funeral. We did as requested as forged ahead with the day.

Facilitator Karen opens training

The training was held at Mr. Aggrey Lusimba’s homestead and the practical sessions were conducted at the spring site. On this particular day, the weather was cloudy since it had rained heavily the previous afternoon. As the training came to a close, it started raining heavily again and everyone ran to their homes to take in clothes left outside to dry. Everyone in this training was very active, particularly in the sessions on hygiene, and their level of understanding was good.

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.

Mr. Lusimba's son (also called Mr. Lusimba) demonstrates toothbrushing during the dental hygiene session

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.

Karen covers spring maintenance at the construction site

It was during the discussion on spring maintenance that some of the training participants said they could not forget those who had not contributed toward the project yet. These speakers informed the facilitator that they did not want the non-helpers to fetch water from the spring. The facilitator took this time to emphasize that this water point was being protected only because it had been promised to remain a public water source for all who came upon it, regardless of their position or level of help at the time of construction. The facilitator Karen circled back to their discussion on group dynamics to address the attitudinal and behavioral characteristics this issue brought into play.

Field Officer Betty evaluates an improvised leaky tin for handwashing outside the latrine in Mr. Aggrey Lusimba's homestead

Environmental hygiene was another memorable topic. In part of this session, Karen encouraged everyone to avoid open defecation and to use latrines as it helped both their groundwater supply and their health. At this juncture in the training, the energy was high with everyone excited about the new hygiene concepts learned and discussions ensued amongst them. The woman who owns a sugarcane plantation near the spring asked all those who had been defecating in her sugarcane to stop with immediate effect or else the faces would follow them everywhere they went! At this point, everyone burst out laughing in good fun. This led to a great discussion on the negative consequences of open defecation.

Betty talks about the hygiene benefits of clotheslines using the Lusimba homestead's example

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.

"I am very grateful to you for organizing this training forum. We have had many cases of diarrhea outbreaks in this community in the past and little did my people know that apart from drinking dirty water, poor hygiene practices were also contributory factors. In the chief's barazas (meetings) we get the Community Health Volunteers teaching people matters of hygiene but many a time my people do not attend due to competing tasks. But today, the training has come to my doorstep and I am grateful," shared Mr. Aggrey Lusimba.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

February, 2020: Mukangu Community, Metah Spring Project Underway!

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

Get to know this community through the video, 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 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: Mukangu Community, Metah Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Mukangu Community 4.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mukangu Community 4 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!

"It used to be so stressful using a scooping jug to collect water because it took a lot of time to fill a twenty-liter jerrican."

"The water used to be so dirty and this forced us to sieve the water each and every time, which used to take a lot of time."

"Currently, we are enjoying fetching water from the spring since the water is clean and the place is clean too. Fetching water now takes seconds and this has reduced the queues that we used to encounter before the spring was protected."

"This water point has helped us as a community to bond more. We now work together as a team and we no longer quarrel and fight at the spring, as it used to be."

Rebecca (left) and Field Officer Olivia Bomji 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 Mukangu Community 4 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 Mukangu Community 4 – 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.


Watson Family Charitable Fund
Mitch Brownlie, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
1 individual donor(s)