Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 105 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/26/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Makhwabuye is a rural yet diverse community that accommodates individuals from various tribes of Kenya who live here in peace. This has made theft cases to be minimal, thus encouraging development within the community. People here have major activities in common. They farm sugarcane, maize, and vegetables. Though their agriculture tends to be on a smaller, subsistence scale, local sales of surplus consistently help families pay for their children's education and other development and business projects. The roads in this area are rocky and not tarmacked. Houses are roofed with iron sheets and are semi-permanent in nature.

Majimazuri Lusala Spring serves 105 people in Makhwabuye. The landscape around the spring is green and vegetated, full of indigenous trees that lend to a cool, beautiful environment with ample fresh air. But the beauty ends at the spring water's edge.

In its current state, Majimazuri Lusala Spring looks like a shallow creek over a sandy, muddy bed of earth. The water is barely a few inches deep. To fetch water, community members must dip small cups into the water to skim from the top of the flowing water. They then pour this water into their larger containers. The more people who try to fetch water at once, or soon after others, the more the dirt and sand get stirred up in the water.

The fetching process at the spring is extremely time-consuming, delaying community members' daily work schedules to everyone's frustration. For those who need to go sell their farm produce early in the morning, they miss out on key business hours from having to fetch water first. Especially during the rainy season, the water is often visibly dirty. This forces people to return home to do other chores first, then come back to the spring to see if any of the muddiness has cleared up. The water only gets dirtier as the day goes on and more people fetch it, so no one is inclined to forego this daily morning task.

"My main problem that I experience when I get to the spring is how to get water. In most cases, I find it difficult - especially when the animals have just come out of the spring," said young adult Shelmith, who is responsible along with her mother and other siblings to fetch water several times every day for their use.

The rainy season only makes the contamination in the spring worse. Surface runoff carries farm chemicals, animal waste, and other toxins directly into the water. Dogs, cows, and other animals drink directly from the source. And people are often slipping into the water as the earth beneath their feet gives way into the soft muddy bank, while children will often play in the water.

Community members say that typhoid and stomachahces (which often end up being related to typhoid) are the most commonly contracted waterborne illnesses among families who depend on Majimazuri Lusala Spring for water.

"Talking of typhoid, it is a real case that I and my 2 children had. While in hospital, we were told that we used dirty water...Tracing where we get water, [the spring] is in a bad state and more education is really needed to help rescue other people," said 33-year-old Chilali Wamalika, who works as a teacher in the area.

These sicknesses are trapping families in cycles of economic instability as a result of having to pay medical bills or trying to purchase water treatment methods from the market. This money was meant to be spent on other crucial needs, like children's school fees, or inputs for farms and businesses.

What We Can Do:

Spring Protection

Protecting the spring will help provide access to cleaner and safer water and reduce the time people have to spend to fetch it. 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.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

To hold trainings during the pandemic, we work closely with both community leaders and the local government to approve small groups to attend training. We ask community leaders to invite a select yet representative group of people to attend training who will then act as ambassadors to the rest of the community to share what they learn. We also communicate our expectations of physical distancing and wearing masks for all who choose to attend.

The training will focus on improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits in this community. We will also have a dedicated session on COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention best practices.

With the community’s input, we will identify key leverage points where they can alter their practices at the personal, household, and community levels to affect change. This training will help to ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance to make the most of their water point as soon as water is flowing.

Our team of facilitators will use a variety of methods to train community members. Some of these methods include participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation, asset-based community development, group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring.

One of the most important issues 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 and the community strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve living standards here, which will help to unlock the potential for these community members to live better, healthier lives.

We will then conduct a small series of follow-up trainings before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Training will result in the formation of a water user committee, elected by their peers, that will oversee the operations and maintenance of the spring. The committee 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 unwanted waste, and the drainage will keep the area’s mosquito population at a minimum.

Project Updates

June, 2021: Majimazuri Lusala Spring Project Complete!

Makhwabuye Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Majimazuri Lusala Spring into a flowing source of water, thanks to your donation. Our team protected the spring and trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices, including COVID-19 prevention.

Women pose and celebrate at the completed spring.

"Access to this water point will impact my life and that of my family positively. This is because the water is now very clean, easily accessed, and the cost of buying treating agents like Waterguard is over. Boiling, at times, is not done, especially during rainy seasons when firewood becomes a challenge. All the cost incurred in the process of making the water clean and safe for use will be channeled to development, thus keeping me and my family safe and healthy," said Shadrack Lusala Mukwe, a businessperson in the community.

"My plans and goals that will be achieved are about farming because now I have enough water which I can easily pump to my piece of land. I will save a lot of time and also will have enough food for my family and the people of the Makhwavuye community."

Children were just as excited as the adults about the new water point.

"Access to safe and clean water will help me save time taken to get to the spring to get water, and also improve my safety. It has been so bad getting water and also carrying it home. The area was muddy and so slippery, but we are happy people, for God has remembered us," said teenager Loice.

"I can now plan my time and studies well. Initially, I could take thirty minutes to get water, but now I use seven minutes. I can proudly say I will achieve my education goal."

"This has been the best community ever that I have worked with," reported the lead Field Officer for the project Jemimah Khasoha. "Their commitment and cooperation were so selfless. Six to eight men were available every day of construction to help in the construction work. This was amazing and made construction very smooth, and the work is perfectly done. The locally available materials were availed wholeheartedly, thus making the work good. It was so nice working with this community."

Preparing for Spring Protection

Community members worked together to source and carried 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 the gravel. Because people have to carry most items by hand, the materials collection process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.

A boy carries a piece of sod to be transplanted at the spring.

When we prepared everything, 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. Individual households provided meals throughout each day to sustain the work team.

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 environmental contaminants carried by the rains away from the spring.


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 the construction work.

Laying the foundation

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 stairs.


Next, we began one of the most crucial spring protection steps to ensure a fully functional water point: setting the discharge pipe. This spring had such a naturally high yield that the artisan decided to install two discharge pipes to match the spring's force. The discharge pipes have to be low enough in the headwall so that the water level inside never rises above the spring’s eye, yet high enough to leave eighteen to twenty inches between the pipes and the spring floor. This allows room for the average jerrycan (a 20-liter container) to sit beneath the pipes without making contact.

Setting the pipes

If the discharge pipes 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 access the water easily. We embedded the pipes using clay (or mortar when the clay is in short supply) and placed it slightly 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 discourage people and animals from standing on that area, which could cause soil erosion and thus a clogged drainage area.

Stairs construction

We turned to cementing and plastering both sides of the headwall and wing walls with brickwork and stone pitching completed. These finishing layers reinforce the brickwork and prevent water in the reservoir from seeping through the walls. In turn, enough pressure builds 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 four tiles beneath the discharge pipe. The tiles protect the concrete from the falling water’s erosive force while beautifying the spring and facilitating easy cleaning of the spring floor.


We transitioned to the final stages of construction with the tiles in place - 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 pipes only.

Transplanting grass

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 contamination sources 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.


Community members transplanted grass onto the backfilled soil to help prevent erosion. Finally, the collection area was fenced 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 two 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 fetch water.

Upon completing the construction process, the community members gathered at the spring to see how our team did the work. Their faces and speeches made them extremely happy, saying that we did the work very well. Mr. Peter boldly said in the whole village. There is not any other spring that can reach that standard. He further said that the member of the County Assembly helps people in accessing water, but his standards can not be compared to the one they received. He praised and appreciated the artisan whom he termed to be very humble, faithful, and very steady in his work. Mr. Peter thus was very grateful and passed his sincere gratitude to all the funders of the project.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

Due to the ongoing challenges and restrictions amidst the pandemic, we worked with local leaders and the national Ministry of Health to gain approval for a small group training about health, hygiene, and COVID-19 prevention.

Together with the community, we found their preferred date for training while considering other community calendar events, such as the agricultural season and social events. We requested a representative group of community members to attend training to relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

Trainer Jemimah shows how to make and use a leaky tin handwashing station.

When the day arrived facilitators, Jemmimah Khasoha and Samuel Simidi deployed to the site to lead the event. Fourteen people attended the training, including self-help group members. We held the training under the trees adjacent to the spring. This was an ample, cool, and quiet place for the trees to provide shade and fresh air.

The environment was conducive in that it was free from noise and other disruptions. It was also a good place because it saved time during onsite training, for it took us just seconds to be at the water point. The area was also wide enough for everyone who attended to sit comfortably and listen while keeping a physical distance. Our only surprise for the day was the majority of men who turned up, as it is usually the women who come to training in large numbers. In this case, only two of the fourteen attendees were women.

Handwashing demonstration

Perhaps the most crucial topic of the day was our session on COVID-19 prevention and control. Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the virus and provide extra information where needed.

Handwashing practice

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

Trainer Sam shows how to build a simple kitchen garden using recycled containers and drip irrigation.

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

The most memorable topic was food hygiene. The participants, despite having big land for farming, lack food to sustain their families. People have to go to the market to get vegetables and other farm products. At this time, the facilitators demonstrated how to build a simple, small kitchen garden and its benefits. The group discussed how kitchen gardens are one way to save money, have fresh products free from genetically modified organisms, save time, and stay busy. We also discussed income-generating activities like having trees, including fruit tree nurseries, which are a good source of income.

Explaining the solar disinfection method of water treatment.

"The training was very valuable for the trainers touched our lives and enlightened us on the issues that affect us directly. I have learned a new skill on making good use of the resources that God has freely given us. These are water, land, and knowledge. I gained new skills in hygiene, farming, and social-economic empowerment. These new skills will help me take care of my family and also rise in my financial status," said Valentine Lusala, a farmer and the water user committee's elected Secretary.

"The training was very informative. I learned that you need the knowledge to be successful in life. The trainers gave us information full pack, and so my life has been impacted positively," said Bonface Bunguswa, also a farmer and the community mobilizer.

Bonface Bunguswa

"One area that I had been ignorant of for a long time was handwashing. After the training, I learned that our hands are the main source of germs catchment. This is because they touch each and everything we have, that is, our body, food, and every other thing. They need to be kept clean always for good health and also prevention of diseases and illness," Bonface said.

"Many of the community members believed that Covid was far from them and that it is in the city. Thus we did not take the steps seriously. The steps were being announced and talked of in the media, but people were not observing them here in the village," he continued.

Onsite training about spring maintenance.

"The most helpful part received during the Covid training was information. This is because the team would elaborate in our language so that we could understand well. From the television or radio, we could hear, but it was not well explained like the way we were taught in the training."

"After receiving the information, we have decided to be washing our hands using the leaky tins that we were showed how to make. We will ensure social distancing is maintained and also avoid contact greetings. The virus came in as a big and a great monster that took away many lives, but now I feel that people have adjusted and accepted to live with it without worries."

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 field officers to assist them. Also, 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!

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!

A Year Later: Increased Sales and High Production!

July, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Makhwabuye 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!

Before we protected Makhwabuye's spring last year, accomplishing daily tasks was difficult for 54-year-old Agnes Saula.

"Getting water was strenuous since there was always a queue at the water collection area," Agnes explained.

The spring was shallow, which meant community members needed to scoop up water one small cupful at a time. And, as Agnes said, this extra care meant that people often had to wait for long stretches before others were finished fetching water.

"So getting to the water point and getting back on time to prepare lunch for my children who were studying in a nearby school was so difficult, since most of the time they could come back home for lunch and find it's not ready, hence making my children get punishment from the teachers for having reported [back] late."

But now, a year later, Agnes's life is hardly recognizable.

"Getting water has been so easy for me," Agnes said.

"I no longer queue at the water point, but rather use a few minutes to collect water and get back home to prepare meals for my schoolgoing children, thus creating a strong bond between me and my children. [This makes] them not view me as a lazy mother, thus they get to be in school [on] time."

Not only has the convenience of having reliable water strengthened Agnes's connection with her children, but it has also boosted her business with increased sales and a high production rate.

Agnes concluded: "[I] have managed to produce vegetables in high amounts and of good quality because of the availability of water to irrigate my products, hence attracting more customers who make a lot of orders, making me to make more profit, unlike before when I could strain to water my products because of lack of enough water."

Agnes at the protected 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 Makhwabuye 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 Makhwabuye 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.


Imago Dei Community
11 individual donor(s)