Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 84 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/13/2023

Project Features

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"The main problem I experience is fetching this water, especially during rainy seasons like now. There is mud everywhere and that makes it difficult to get to the water. Also, it becomes so dirty that when you carry it home, you need to treat [the water] before using it for drinking," said Levi, a teenager who lives in Mukangu and depends on Mukasia Spring for water.

Mukasia Spring serves 84 people in this community, but in its unprotected state it cannot provide clean water. The spring looks like a small puddle carved into the surrounding grass, with a muddy and rocky bottom. To try to ease the process of fetching water, community members have tried to secure a bottle lodged directly into the grass. The bottle helps to catch some of the spring's discharge and forces it to flow through the bottleneck.

But there is still so much water flowing around the bottle that the discharge is not as high as it could be. This, combined with the tricky and small access point, makes drawing water slow for each person who comes to the spring.

The spring's water is unsafe to drink, which is why Levi reported they try to treat it before drinking it. Animals often drink straight from the source, and the water carries toxins from farm chemicals, soil, and animal waste brought in with surface runoff from the rains.

But all treatment methods, whether they are purchased at the market or done at home by boiling, have a cost that not all families can cover at all times. This means the spring water often gets consumed untreated, leading to water-related illnesses. Community members report that the main health consequences after consuming untreated water from Mukasia Spring include diarrhea, typhoid, and stomachaches. Children are the main ones affected by these illnesses, the adults said, especially during rainy season when the rate of typhoid rises.

"Personally, I have been affected health-wise. My children get water from the spring and they do not take precautions. When the water is dirty, they bring it that way and this makes it unfit for my health. This landed me in hospital and upon testing, it was diagnosed to be typhoid which is due to unhygienic environment and handling of the water. I believe if there is any help, then I will be the happiest person to receive blessings," said Rose Wafula, a 32-year-old farmer in the community.

Other than health effects, the other problem community members report as a result of depending on Mukasia Spring is a drop in their income. This is because the resources to be used to invest in their businesses and farmwork must often be diverted to seeking medication for their water-reated diseases. They also lose time at their jobs, at home, and at school, hurting everyone's chances to reach their full potential.

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

10/12/2021: Mukasia Spring Protection Project Complete!

Mukangu Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Mukasia 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.

Agnes Wanyama, an Agricultural Extension Officer and the newly appointed treasurer of the water committee is excited for the protected spring to jumpstart her farming business. "I am a farmer, and I love farming. Accessing clean and safe water will help me have fresh water for my farm, which will keep my family healthy."

"I will not waste money during the dry season to look for food. Rather I will use the water that has been provided to us to irrigate my crops," Agnes continued. "I am grateful that I will have clean water, fresh food, and a healthy family."

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

Mary M., an 18-year-old student, shared how she expects this project to impact her future. "This water point will help me achieve my goals of raising school fees to go to college. I can easily manage my term [studies] after getting enough water for the house chores, cattle, and even irrigating my vegetables."

Preparing for Spring Protection

Community members work 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 rocks 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 the community members had 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! Locals lent their strength to the artisans each day to help with the manual labor. First, we cleared and excavated the spring area.

Community members help excavate.

Next, 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 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.

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. The discharge pipe has 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 pipe and the spring floor. This allows the average jerrycan (a 20-liter container) to sit beneath the pipe without making contact.

Measuring for discharge pipe.

If we place the discharge pipe 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 pipe using clay (or mortar when clay is in short supply) and placed it at an incline to ensure water flows in the right direction.

We pitched medium to large stones on both sides of the spring's drainage channel in coordination with brickwork. We then cemented and plastered each stone group into place, forming the rub walls. This helps discourage people and animals from standing in that area, which could cause soil erosion and thus a clogged drainage area.

We then turned to cementing and plastering both sides of the headwall and wing walls. 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 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.

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.

Community members bring stones for backfilling.

We covered the rocks with a thick plastic tarp to minimize potential contamination sources from aboveground, followed by a layer of soil. We piled enough dirt 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 disturb 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.

A beautiful protected spring!

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.

When the day arrived, facilitators Jemmimah Khasoha and Victor Musemi deployed to the site to lead the event. Twelve (12) people attended the training, including community-based leaders. We held the training under a tree at the homestead of the community mobilizer, Mr. Levi.

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.

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. In addition, we held an election for the newly formed water user committee leaders during the leadership and governance session.

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

The participants were very attentive and willing to learn. The most memorable topics of the day were related to soap-making and proper handwashing techniques.

Agnes mentioned how happy she was to learn to make soap since the people she used to buy soap from diluted it by adding water, diminishing its quality. Now, she can make her soap and be sure it is adequately made and use it for handwashing, cleaning, and doing laundry.

Agnes was excited that now that she knew how to wash her hands properly, she could do her part to prevent diseases like COVID-19. "The training came in very handy. When God says there's time for everything, and in His own appointed time, He will make things beautiful, it is true.

"As for me, I never thought of learning and having an experience together with my village-mates. We used to meet mostly when we had funerals, but we met over water, which came along with training. The training has helped me be equipped with knowledge and skills that I have started applying in my day-to-day life."

When an issue arises concerning the spring, 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!

08/27/2021: Mukasia Spring Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Mukangu Community drains people’s time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community through the introduction and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

Project Photos

Project Type

Protected Spring

In many communities, natural springs exist as water flows from cracks in rocky ground or the side of a hill.  Springs provide reliable water but that doesn’t mean safe. When left open they become contaminated by surface contamination, animal and human waste and rain runoff. The solution is to protect the source. First, you excavate around the exact source area of the spring. Then, you build a protective reservoir for water flow, which pours through a reinforced pipe in a concrete headwall to a paved collection area. Safe water typically flows year-round and there is very limited ongoing maintenance needed!

A Year Later: Extra Money for School Fees - A Better Future Ahead!

December, 2022

A year ago, your generous donation helped Mukangu Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Derick. 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 5.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mukangu Community 5 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!

Last year, life in Mukangu was more difficult for everyone. Their spring was unprotected, exposing everyone to water-related diseases. And for kids like Derick, actually collecting the water was an everyday stressor that involved a lot of wasted time.

"Getting water here before [the] protection of the spring was very hard, especially [for] kids like me," Derick said. "For example, when it was my turn [in] the queue to fetch water, I was not given an opportunity to scoop water unless there was no one older than me following. This is because kids were not considered careful while scooping water using a small container."

But now, protected water flows easily from the discharge pipe, and the drawing point has been made easily accessible with stairs. No one needs to queue for water anymore since it takes so little time to collect.

"Getting water now is very easy because I no longer queue like before," Derick said. "I can go to the water point at any given time."

The new source of water is working to slowly improve the health and happiness of Mukangu's community members.

"I am no longer missing school simply because of being sick, and lack of school fees, or even examination fees," Derick said. "Since [the] protection of this water point, [our] ailments have drastically reduced, and my parents can now save something rather than using it for medication every time."

Derick collecting water 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 Mukangu Community 5 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 5 – 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!


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