Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 140 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/04/2024

Project Features

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"This community would have gone far, but because of water challenges we are struggling with life. We don't have clean water or money to spend on medication; thus, life is not easy in this community," said 40-year-old farmer and mother Roselyne Naliaka.

Unprotected Luka Spring is the main water source for 140 people in the Lukala West Community, but in its current state the spring makes it hard for most community members to get enough water for their daily needs. This is because there are always long queues at the spring which make it hard for people to make several trips there and back in one day.

At the same time, people cannot fetch too much water at once since many people are waiting for their turns and grow impatient. Women waste a lot of time at the spring, and conflicts often arise there. The crowds force most women to go to the spring before 5:00 am or around 6:30 pm, to try to avoid the lines. Some days the women find they spend more time at the spring than anywhere else, costing them in their other productive work.

Luka Spring is open to contamination ranging from animal waste to farm chemicals and soil. Animals like dogs and cattle drink directly at this water point. According to community members, the health consequences of drinking this spring include waterborne diseases like typhoid and amoeba, costing them a lot of money for medication. Time spend at home or in the hospital sick also means time lost at work or at school.

Access is another major challenge at Luka Spring. The waterpoint is located on a steep slope, which makes it hard for community members to access, especially during the rainy season when the path becomes slick with mud. Falls and their related injuries are not unheard of from trying to leave the spring when the ground is wet.

"I am scared of going to the spring alone because the spring is surrounded by bushes and no houses are found around this water point where, in case of any attack, nobody will be there to assist," said young primary school student Joshua.

To aid in fetching water, community members created a makeshift discharge pipe using a plastic bottle with an open top lodged into a wall of mud they built. The water is then forced to flow through the bottle. But a lot of water seeps up through the ground around the bottle, reducing the current output. And to reach the pipe, people must balance among rocks and the pool of water always below the mud wall, risking slipping off the rocks if they use them or tripping in the mud if they don't.

With the limitation in daily water supply, hygiene standards at homesteads - including the daily cleaning of homes - are not good.

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

July, 2021: Luka Spring Project Complete!

Lukala West Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Luka 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.

"It is going to impact my life because first, my health is going to improve, and I will continue with income-generating activities, which will raise my standard of living. I am going to achieve a lot because I run a hotel. Now I will not struggle to buy water for drinking. Also, my small hotel will be neat and smart because I have enough clean water to run this hotel," said Elizabeth Joshua.

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

"Because of lack of water, I used to take a shower once a week, but now because I have enough water, I am going to take a shower every day so I shall be neat compared to other years. Secondly, I have said goodbye to water-borne diseases and am now healthy. With the help of my parents, I want to start fish farming around the spring, and I know that the project will help me get money," said Emmanuel.

Preparing for Spring Protection

Community members worked 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 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. 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 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.

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

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 the clay is in short supply) and placed it at a slight incline to ensure water flows in the right direction.

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.

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 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 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. 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. 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.

The completed spring has changed the face of this community. They now have a smile on their faces.

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 Rose Serete and Mary Afandi deployed to the site to lead the event. Fourteen people attended the training, including village health workers and community-based leaders. We held the training at the home of one of the community members. It was a good place for learning.

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 can be used to start a community savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring and a cooperative lending group to enable members to develop small businesses.

"The training was valuable to me because I didn't know the technique of handwashing, but now I am going to teach my wife and children. This information is going to pass from one generation to another," said Nashon Martin, a local businessman.

Trainee Janet Makaru commented, "The training was important to me because I have learned how to make a tippy tap and am going to make one at home. Because of this knowledge, we are not going to suffer from water-borne diseases."

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!

June, 2021: Luka Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Luka Spring is making people in Lukala West, 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: "Fetching water is easy and fast."

August, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Lukala Community 2.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Lukala Community 2 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 Luka Spring was protected last year it was difficult to safely collect water.

"I could prefer to be given other duties instead of being asked to go and draw water, especially during rainy seasons. It was hectic getting to the spring because the spring entrance was slippery and also the water was not clean," said 14-year-old Phostine M. when sharing how she felt about the spring last year.

But now, with a protected spring, Phostine feels differently.

"Bravo for protecting our spring. Our spring is smart, clean, and fetching water is easy and fast," said Phostine.

Not only has it become easier for Phostine and her fellow community members to collect water, but the accessible water is impacting other areas of their lives.

"Sanitation standards at [the] family level have really improved because we have enough water throughout the year," concluded Phostine.

Phostine with fellow community member Grace 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 Lukala Community 2 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 Lukala Community 2 – 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.