Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/04/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

350 people living in Musichula do not have clean water. They must leave their homes just to find dirty water that they bring back for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. There's so much water in the environment, but it's all open to contamination.

Their main water source has been given the name Marko Spring. It is located down a steep slope that gets muddy and dangerous when it rains.

"We have suffered in this area trying to find someone to protect this spring for us because the water we are drinking is not safe," said Mrs. Awinja.

"The spring has a lot of water that at one time a child of about 10 years drowned while trying to fetch it."

This water gets people sick and they spend too much of the little money they have to find treatment. When they're sick they miss out on the day's work on the farm, making it extremely difficult to put dinner on the table for the family.

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.

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

Not every family has a latrine because they're sharing with a neighbor. The latrines we observed are made of mud. "Latrines in this community are not to the standard. It renders us vulnerable to infections. It would be better if we get cement floor latrines that can be cleaned regularly," said Mr. Mwalia.

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should most 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: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Simon Mulongo Musungu

This post is part of a new series by The Water Project meant to highlight the perspectives and experiences of the people we serve and how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting them. We invite you to read more of their stories here.

68-year-old farmer Simon Mulongo Musungu lives in Busichula, Kenya, where he relies on protected Marko Spring for his daily water needs.

Simon greeted Lynah outside his home in Busichula.

Our team recently visited Busichula to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point. Shortly after, we returned to check in on the community, offer a COVID-19 refresher training, and ask how the pandemic is affecting their lives.

It was during this most recent visit that Simon, who also serves as the Committee Advisor to the Marko Spring Water User Committee, shared his story of how the coronavirus has impacted his life.

Programs Officer Lynah Akuku met Simon outside his home to conduct the interview. Both Lynah and Simon observed social distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. The following is Simon's story, in his own words.

"Since the installation of Marko Spring, the number of people using the water at the spring has increased, but luckily the spring has 3 pipes, so crowding is not there as before. Having a clean water point has helped me a lot because now l can access safe, clean drinking water without fear of getting infected by the coronavirus.

Simon fetches water from Marko Spring.

COVID-19 has impacted my family in a big way. Now, my children and grandchildren are not going to school, and they can't access the internet where they can learn from because I cannot afford it. Those who are working - they are not able to go to work, thus making it difficult to provide food for their families. Some have lost their jobs, and I have other children who are working in various counties away from Kakamega County; they cannot come home because of restrictions in movement, making me miss them.

Simon (left) with his son (third from left) and 2 grandchildren at home

I used to sell cows by being the middle man between the buyer and the seller, and I would get a little commission. I would get the type of cows requested from people's homes and bring them to the cattle market during market days. Now since the pandemic, I cannot move about to undertake my job because of restrictions. The market where this used to happen has also been closed down. Now it is difficult for me to provide for the family.

Simon actively participates in the COVID-19 refresher training held on the day of his interview.

After the COVID-19 training from your team, l have been observing the 1-meter rule when fetching water at the spring, unlike before. Even when going to the spring, I have to wear a mask because I will meet people there.

Community members observe social distancing while lining up behind Simon to fetch water at Marko Spring.

Measures that I have taken to stop the spread of the virus are observing social distancing in any social gathering; making sure I wash hands as many times as I can with water and soap; wearing of masks whenever I leave my home, but If I have nothing to do I stay at home. As a community, we are avoiding crowds, and if we attend burials, we only stay for half an hour and leave as this is the government policy.

Simon washes his hands using the leaky tin handwashing point he installed outside his home.

I desire that schools will reopen because the students are already losing a lot while at home. However, I would propose that when schools open, students and teachers should report to the schools that are closest to them and avoid traveling to their current schools if they are already outside their respective counties to avoid the spread of the virus since numbers [of cases] keep on increasing daily."

Simon shows his homemade mask.

When asked where he receives information on the coronavirus, Simon listed the radio, television, word of mouth, loudspeaker/megaphone announcements, the training he attended from our team, and through short messages by phone, which are being sent by some mobile subscribers.

Simon puts on his mask.

"The most helpful part l have received through your team's COVID -19 sensitization is to be careful how l carry myself when moving in and outside the compound, making sure to adhere to the precautions. I had construction in my compound, and l emphasized to the workers to adhere to precautions such as maintaining social distance, wearing masks at all times, avoiding handshaking, and washing hands at all times. All this knowledge I received from the sensitization by The Water Project."

Simon wearing his mask

"Before the COVID-19 sensitization, Busichula community members were not serious about the coronavirus, and they were doing things normally. But after the sensitization from our organization, they have observed precautions for their own safety. For example, washing hands, avoiding handshaking, observing the 1-meter rule, and avoiding social gatherings like funerals. They were so excited, and they thanked us for creating awareness for them." - Programs Officer Lynah Akuku

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Busichula Community, Marko 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.

Team Leader Emmah (center) heads the 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 Busichula, Kenya.

Background: Community members observe social distancing as a requirement of attending training; Foreground: a man clears the spring's drainage channel

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.

Trainer Protus fills the leaky tin handwashing station with water

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.

Trainer Lynnah demonstrates 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.

A community member washes her hands

During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point. 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.

Making sure to get under the fingernails during handwashing

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.

Trainers demonstrate social distancing while fetching water 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.

February, 2020: Busichula Community, Marko Spring Project Complete!

Busichula Community now has access to clean water! Marko 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.

Community members enjoying the new spring

Spring Protection

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, too.

Kids help carry rocks to the spring construction site

At first, there were some delays in gathering the required materials from the community as the spring has a big catchment area that needed a lot of large stones for the backfilling process, but through a lot of hard work and determination, the community was finally able to gather them together.

Adults carry the larger rocks to the construction site

They had to carry each stone to the construction site by hand, just like the rest of the materials, but they persisted to get the job done.

The Process

Women and men lent their strength to the artisan to help him with manual labor. The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of thick plastic tarp, wire mesh, and concrete. After the base had been set, both wing walls and the headwall were set in place using brickwork. The discharge pipes - 2 in this case due to the spring's naturally high yield - were fixed low in place through the headwall to direct the water from the reservoir to the drawing area.

Artisan measures first brickwork over spring's concrete foundation

As the wing walls and headwall were curing, the stairs were set and ceramic tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipes. 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 pipes.

Cementing the discharge pipes into the headwall

The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a thick plastic tarp to prevent potential sources of contamination. The only ongoing challenge during construction was the ongoing short rainy season, as it rained every day from 1:00 pm until evening. This also caused some delays to the work, but the artisan and his work team were used to the weather pattern and were able to plan around it to get their work done on time.

Artisan plasters the rub walls

It took about 2 weeks of patience for the concrete to dry. 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.

"How wonderful a day it was," reflected Field Officer Lynnah Akuku, the lead field officer for this project. During the handing over of the project to the community, Marko Spring members gathered together with happy faces, thanking our team for protecting their spring.

Officially handing over Marko Spring to Busichula community members

They expressed that they used to take unclean water but now that the spring is protected, they will be able to access clean water within just a few minutes. They also expressed their hope that now, premature death due to waterborne diseases will be a thing of the past. The community members were very happy, singing all sorts of wonderful songs and dancing while continuing to thank the organization so much. (To hear them for yourself, check out the video on the Photos tab of this project page!)

Celebrating the new spring

"Thank you The Water Project for the good work and for remembering us. May God bless you so much wherever you go," said village advisor Hillary Harambee.

A woman gives thumbs up for clean water from Marko Spring

"Before the protection of the spring, we were fetching unsafe water for drinking because the spring was open," reflected community member and farmer Mr. Stephen Shihemi.

"After the completion of the spring, I came here and l was very impressed with what l saw. The spring has a new look and it is easy to access quality, clean, and safe water for drinking. I thank The Water Project so much for remembering us," he said.

Women join hands over clean, accessible water

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.

Proud new sanitation platform owners

New Knowledge

Village advisor Hillary Harambee was tasked with organizing the training. She gave us the community’s preferred date for training, for she was very much aware of the community calendar when it comes to planting season and other big events.

27 people attended training, which was a great turnout. All of the participants were eager to learn and hear from us. Since the training took place on a Saturday we also had children included in the training and they were so happy for the training and to see spring construction.

(Most of these pupils attend Shiyikha Primary School, so many of the topics were familiar to them already!).

We also had 2 Community Health Volunteers in attendance.

Team Leader Emmah Nambuye Wekesa kicks off training

Since it was a sunny day, the training was conducted near Marko Spring under a tree. The community members were very happy throughout the day. Some members from other communities also attended the training because of what they saw concerning spring protection and they wanted to know more about the project.

We covered several topics including leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; and the prevention and spread of disease. We discussed water treatment methods, personal care like handwashing, environmental hygiene, hygiene promotion, and many other things. Community members also decided to start some income-generating activities that will improve their living standards after brainstorming on the topic.

Children carry grass to be planted at the spring

After training the community members about site management at the spring, the participants together with all of our team members present took the initiative to fence the site around the spring while planting grass over the spring box to avoid erosion. The community members also participated in digging the drainage channel that will divert runoff from above the spring to down below it and into the stream to ensure safe access to the protected water point through all seasons, regardless of the weather. This drainage channel had particular energy behind it as a child had already drowned in the overflowing spring during a previous rainy season. The community was motivated to keep every person who might try to fetch water safe at all times going forward.

Community members help dig the cut-off drainage channels to redirect uphill runoff away from the spring

The participants were particularly excited to know more about handwashing because those who had been practicing it had been doing so without following the steps, and some participants were at first sure that handwashing was not even necessary to one's health. We went over the critical times to wash their hands, such as after visiting the latrine or changing a baby's diaper, before preparing food, and before eating. The community members were very excited to learn new things in this lesson.

Handwashing practical during training

Many said their children are always sick, not knowing that one of the main causes could be because they have not been washing their hands before eating. The group was very excited to learn that handwashing can help reduce illnesses and save money for other things and by doing that, help them to improve their standard of living standard. During the demonstration process, they were so happy practicing and repeating the 10 steps. The entire training group promised to improve on this practice and start washing their hands daily.

A woman washes her container before catching water, a practice we taught during training

"We have been taking water just like that [without worrying about its sanitation] but through this training, it will help us to improve on our sanitation and hygiene behavior. I believe that our lives will change and we will improve our standard of living because of it," said Nancy Naliaka, a businessperson from the community.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

December, 2019: Busichula Community, Marko Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Marko Spring is making people in Busichula 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!

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: Busichula Community, Marko Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Busichula 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!

"The spring is located on a slope and before protection, it was open, thus making it exposed to all forms of contamination, especially from the surface runoff during the rainy seasons. The water was not clean and safe for drinking. It was dangerous and hard to fetch water. Some years back, a ten-year-old child drowned in the spring during the rainy season while trying to fetch water."

"Since the protection of Marko Spring, now I can access clean and safe drinking water easily and fast. Having a clean water point has helped me a lot because now l can access safe, clean drinking water without fear of getting infected by any waterborne diseases like typhoid, unlike before when l used to spend a lot of money on treatment."

"Since the protection of this water point, l have been using this water to brew chang'aa (a homemade spirit) and selling it. Through that, it has helped me to pay school fees for my children, provide food for my family, buy clothes for my family, and l also have managed to start a small business selling cereals. I had planted some vegetables near the water drainage system and l have been using the same water on my farm. After selling those vegetables, l managed to buy two cows. I'm planning to plant more vegetables come October during the short dry season so that l can sell them in January."

"Thank you so much...l have managed to achieve so many things in my life after the community training."

Lydiah washes her hands at home using soap and water from Marko 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 Busichula 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 Busichula 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.


13 individual donor(s)