Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/09/2024

Project Features

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Vegetated lands welcome you to Mukangu village as you endure the dust that rises from the dusty earth road leading to this community. Community members can be seen working on their farms as you walk through the village. People here grow crops and raise animals for their agricultural livelihoods. Small kiosks erected in some homesteads and along the road serve as miniature shops for this community.

There is a severe clean water shortage here, causing a ripple effect across the community to access what limited clean water sources exist. 300 people in Mukangu are closest to unprotected Werabukaya Spring, where they go to fetch water for all of their daily needs. Farther away from these families, however, there is a protected spring in the village that gets overcrowded.

Community members said many people from neighboring villages come to the protected spring first, very early in the morning, causing others to use Werabukaya Spring instead. But the community members who usually use Werabukaya Spring have no other spring to turn to, so they face the burden of overcrowding and long wait times. Sometimes, this leads to conflicts among frustrated community members who all need water at the same time.

"I end up drawing water from the unprotected spring during this dry season since I can't endure lining up at the protected spring. This water has so many side effects to our bodies, but we endure," said Luka Sindani, a young farmer.

"I fear scrambling for water at the protected spring because sometimes it results in fights amongst us children. I'd rather use water from this unprotected spring, yet it's not safe for consumption," explained primary school student Salome.

Fetching water from the unprotected spring further slows people down. To access the water in its small and shallow pool, people have to use small bowls and jugs to scoop water to pour into their larger jerrycans. This process is tiresome and time-consuming, but if people move too quickly, they risk stirring up mud and sand into the water. Then, everyone would have to wait for the water to settle before fetching could begin again.

The other major concern at the spring is its contaminated water unfit for consumption. Because the spring is currently open to the environment, both human and animal activity pollute the water. Inside the water, algae, bugs, and rotting plant material are constant. When it rains, the runoff carries more dirt, farm chemicals, and animal waste into the water. Animals can access the spring and drinking from and walking directly in the pool of water where community members have to fetch it.

Community members say waterborne diseases are common among the families depending on this spring, particularly typhoid and cholera. These diseases are not only expensive to treat, but they rob children and adults alike of their health and ability to participate in productive activities, whether school or work.

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

December, 2021: Werabukaya Spring Protection Complete!

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

Happy for clean water!

Luka Sindani, a 22-year-old farmer, said, "Initially, access to this water was hard. This used to make me help my wife more by fetching the water. She couldn't go down into the spring that required one to tread carefully and use much strength to carry the filled container out of the open water point."

Luka collecting water.

He continued to share how things are different now that the spring's been protected. "Right now, she can walk down to spring, place her container and carry it with ease using the stairs. She has easy access, and this has given me enough free time to do other duties as a family man to provide for them."

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

Voline happily collecting water.

"The duty of fetching water from an unprotected spring used to consume so much of my time. Crouching, scooping, and carrying water out of the source area was never easy, but now all that has changed, thus less time fetching water. It was all work, work, work, but now I can play like other children," said Voline N., 13.

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 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. 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, which is 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 clay is in short supply) and placed it at an 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. 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 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 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 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 to mark the community's ownership of the water point. Community members sang and danced at the spring to praise the donors and the field officer in charge. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

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.

Having settled on a Sunday afternoon as our training day, the community's village elder took the responsibility of passing the information to community members. The training was open for all genders and ages which was evidenced by those in attendance.

When the day arrived, facilitators Lillian and Samuel deployed to the site to lead the event. 21 people attended the training after they had finished taking part in their normal Sunday church services, including nineteen women and two men.

We held the training under a few trees on the compound of the landowner where the spring is located. The shade provided a cool environment for participants and not having enough seats in his home, community members sat on the ground to settle in for the training.

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.

Learning dental hygiene.

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.

Another memorable topic was soap making. Many community members had assumed that only big manufacturing companies could produce soap. To their amazement, they realized through the soapmaking process that it was an affordable and simple thing to do. After mixing the soap, many were eager and ready to use it immediately, but the trainer convinced them to wait 8 hours until it was ready.

Violet Wakasa.

Violet Wakasa, a local farmer, shared her training experience. "First and foremost, I have learned how to maintain our water point. I never knew that placing a filled-up container on the discharge pipe was wrong. Our new waterpoint is our new treasure, and with the teachings, we will be able to take good care of it."

Mary Andrew, 50, said, "Today's training has helped me on cutting cost when it comes to buying soap for hand washing to keep the virus away. Many times I and my grandchildren have washed hands without soap due to its price. The price of bar soap went up due to inflation and COVID-19. With this new knowledge on soap making and the reagents being affordable, I'll be able to have soap in my house almost every time."

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!

November, 2021: Mukangu Community, Werabukaya Spring Protection 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

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: A Clean Uniform Every Day!

February, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped Mukangu Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Emily. 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 6.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mukangu Community 6 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 community members that live in Mukangu used to face long lines waiting for water, which made everyone frustrated.

"The water was open to any form of contamination, making it dangerous to all of us. The path to the spring was in a very bad state, and climbing uphill with the water was hectic. Whenever one thought about going for water to the spring, it felt like a big punishment," said 12-year-old Emily K.

But last year, the spring was protected, and since then, collecting water has been easier and less burdensome for people.

"The water is clean, the stairs are safe, and getting water from the spring is an easy task. [I] am now able to get water early before I go to school," continued Emily.

"[I] am saving a lot of time, which I use for other beneficial activities. Having one pair of uniforms, [I] am also able to wash it daily and go to school with clean uniform daily," concluded Emily.


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 6 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 6 – 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.


St. Therese Foundation