Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 200 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/07/2024

Project Features

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"'Ever since my brother drank this water and cost our family an entire earning from the sale of our maize to treat him of typhoid  - and by the way he writhed in agony during the period - I became very wary and learned from him. My family took a really long time to recover. However, my children and my neighbors do not know what my brother and our family went through, so when I heard what your organization does, I knew you could save someone."

This was 61-year-old Moses Sunguti recounting his family's fraught dependence on Moro Spring. Moses is 1 of 200 people in the Kalenda A Community who use this spring for water. Though Moro Spring's water is highly contaminated in its current state, it is the closest and most dependable water source these community members have.

Several sources contaminate the spring water. Located under banana stalks, the spring is quite literally covered in leaves, and one can spot a few bird droppings in the water, just like the frogs and toads jumping in and out of it. Runoff from the rains carries farm chemicals, soil, and more animal waste directly into the water. Green algae, insects, and bacteria grow in the water, and rotting leaves and other debris line the bottom of the small pool.

The way community members must fetch water further contaminates the water. That is partly why community members have to fetch water in turns, to be sure they do not stir up mud from the bottom of the pool. People here consider early morning, and late evening the best times one is most likely to fetch the cleanest water of the day. This means that women's daily routines have to start very early each morning to accommodate enough trips to the water point for their daily needs. Most people try to avoid fetching water in the middle of the day when the snakes that live in the spring vegetation come out to sun themselves. It is especially too dangerous to send children then.

To fetch water, people must submerge their entire containers into the pooled water, adding whatever dirt and bacteria on the jerrycans and their hands into the water. While people try to stand on some slippery moss-covered rocks at the water point, sometimes their feet and shoes slip into the water as well.

Community members report that using Moro Spring's contaminated water has led to numerous water-related illnesses, including typhoid like Moses' brother had, or diarrhea. There is also a high malaria rate among families that use this spring due to the large amount of standing water at the spring, which lends itself as a prime breeding ground to mosquitoes that carry the disease. Some of the particular insects and animals that live in the spring water have also led to livestock death that drinks this water, which is a big financial loss to families.

When people get sick, they spend a lot of money paying for medication and hospital visits. Adults miss out on key productive and wage-earning hours, and kids have to stay home from school, falling behind in their studies.

"I had diarrhea once after consuming this water, and it cost me a few days from father had warned us of drinking water that has come directly from the spring," said primary school-aged student Samuel.

This is a tiny and tightly knit community; everyone knows everyone, community members said. Failure to recognize others while out would raise eyebrows, and that is how community members here take care of each other and keep each other in the loop of what is happening within the community. That is also, in part, why this community is more than ready to help protect Moro Spring. At the time of our visit, they had already banded together to collect the local materials needed for construction and bring them to the spring. One man, Titus, had also already begun to break stones into gravel by hand. They wanted to be sure they were ready for construction work as soon as possible, they said, so they began gathering materials as soon as Moro Spring passed our vetting standards for protection.

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. Therefore, protecting the spring and offering training and support will 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 training 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, which 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 to alter their practices at the personal, household, and community levels to affect change. This training will help ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance to make the most of their water points as soon as the 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 handling, storing, and treating water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it is consumed. The community and we 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 training 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 spring's operations and maintenance. 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

March, 2021: Moro Spring Project Complete!

Kalenda A Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Moro 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.

Catherine Shirandula enjoying the flowing water at the completed spring.

"I am glad that safe water is here with me. My life will change because, right now, I don't need a calabash or small tin to draw water and pour into the larger container. This is a running tap - I only need to place the container and carry water straight away. Work is easier now," said Moses Sunguti, our main contact for the community who helped mobilize his neighbors to ensure the project's successful completion.

"I ever wished that while I am still alive, this water point would be protected. That is my first goal, and I thank God you came through. I look forward to ensuring the project lasts to serve other generations."

Moses Sunguti leaving the spring with clean water.

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

"Washing utensils and clothes won't be hard work again. It will take me a short time to get water here and get it home for other purposes. This water point will help me achieve more in sanitation and hygiene practices such as washing my clothes and those of my siblings," said Faith, a young primary school-aged girl.

From left to right, Johnny, Faith, and Samwel at the spring.

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.

When everything was prepared, we sent a lorry to the community to deliver the rest of the construction materials, including the cement, plastic tarps, and hardware. Then, our artisan and field officers deployed to the spring to begin work. 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.

Excavated spring site

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.

Pouring the concrete 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. 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 to allow room for the average jerrycan (a 20-liter container) to sit beneath the pipe without making contact.

Setting the discharge pipe

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

Women deliver lunch to the work team.

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

Plastering the stone pitching into place.

With brickwork and stone pitching completed, we 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 also beautifying the spring and facilitating easy cleaning of the spring floor.

Setting the tiles

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 pipe only.

Erecting the fence

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.

Planting grass

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. We officially handed over the spring directly following training to mark the community's ownership of the water point. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day flowing in all directions.

Community members and Field Officer Ian pose at the completed spring.

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

Due to the ongoing challenges and restrictions amidst the pandemic, we worked with both 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 select yet representative group of community members to attend training, relaying the information learned to the rest of their family and friends. When the day arrived, facilitators Amos Emisiko and Ian Nakitare deployed to the site to lead the event.

Handwashing session

19 people attended the training, including community-based leaders and the local Village Health Volunteer. Community member Moses Sunguti, who lives close to the spring, helped mobilize the community for training and hosted it outside at his homestead. We set up under a tree which provided fresh air and a cool environment for the training.

A boy demonstrates handwashing with a leaky tin.

Perhaps the most important 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.

A woman demonstrates how to properly put on and wear a mask.

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 and sanitation platforms; 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 Amos and the artisan lead the session about site maintenance at the spring.

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 and a cooperative lending group to enable members to develop their own small businesses.

"The training will help me improve on maintaining hygiene and also educating others on the importance of maintaining hygiene and use of water in a proper manner," Moses Sunguti said.

"First, I want to thank you. The training was good and a reminder that most diseases are preventable through good sanitation and hygiene. About COVID-19, it has helped me know some of the things I didn't know about the disease," said Rose Were, a farmer in the community.

Rose Were addresses the group at training.

Rose listed some of the most valuable things she learned at training, like "COVID-19 is preventable, eating a balanced diet and foods that boost your immunity is important to a healthy life and drinking a lot of water also prevents our skin from dehydration."

Samwel enjoying a splash at the spring.

"I am worried about the virus, but I know our God is God of restoration. I have faith that if we are disciplined and observe the teachings we have gained from the training, it will help us more in combating the pandemic," Rose said.

Faith takes a sip of water.

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' team 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!

February, 2021: Moro Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Moro Spring is making people in Kalenda A, Kenya 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 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: From Picking Out Leaves to Playing With Friends!

June, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Kalenda Community 3.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kalenda Community 3 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!

Franklin S., 8, recalled to our field staff what it was like to collect water from Moro Spring before its protection last year. He said, "We used to manually remove the leaves from the water in order to get clean water."

But since the spring's protection, not only has the amount of debris contaminating the water reduced, but other factors have also improved.

"With the pipe, it is easy as you just place a container and the water flows inside. It has reduced time spent here," said Franklin.

With easier access, collecting water has become faster, allowing more time for Franklin to do other things that make little boys happy, like playing.

"It has helped me get more time with my friends because it is near and my mother allows me to play with them after getting the water home," he said.

Franklin with field staff.

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 Kalenda Community 3 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 Kalenda Community 3 – 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.


Project Sponsor - In loving memory of Joseph and Florence Burgess