Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 400 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/09/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

One gets to Makale Community via Chegulo Center using the earth road that is impassable during the rainy season. The landscape here is highly vegetated, with trees dotting the sloping land. The vegetation makes the area cool and quite welcoming.

Within Makale, Kwalukhayiro Spring is located on Mama Mary Caleb's farm in the village. Kwalukhayiro Spring is the main water source for 400 people here, but the spring is not serving them well in its unprotected state. The spring's 2 main issues are its contaminated water and difficult access area, which leads to long lines and time lost at the spring.

Some days when community members come to the spring to fetch water, they find small, dead animals floating in the water like frogs and rodents. Other contaminants range from the algae and rotting leaves sitting inside the water to dirty surface runoff from the rains. The runoff carries soil, farm chemicals, and animal waste directly into the drinking water source. Animals can also walk directly through the water while drinking from it, leaving their waste behind.

The way people must fetch water is another source of contamination to the water. Because the spring water forms a shallow pool, people must dip small jugs and buckets directly into the water to pour into their larger jerrycans. They try to balance on a few small stones they placed to help them stay above water while fetching it, but shoes and toes often slip into the water anyway.

"I have to find money to buy WaterGuard to ensure at least my family takes clean water. When things are not too good, and I don't have the money, they take it as it is, and this disturbs me as a mother," said Mary C. Nashimiyu, a farmer in the community.

Not all families can afford market-bought treatments, and even boiling the water at home requires a lot of firewood and time that most families cannot spare. The community members informed us that they had a series of typhoid and other water-related diseases using this spring's water. Time spent ill means time lost at work, on the farm, and at school for children. Families drain their financial resources intended for other uses to pay for medication and hospital visits for their water-related diseases.

The dip-and-pour method community members have to use to fetch water at the spring is extremely time-consuming and frustrating. People say time wastage at the spring is one of their biggest barriers to accomplishing their other work and goals.

The muddy and rocky access area is also tricky for people to enter and exit the spring, especially when carrying heavy water jerrycans.

"I have to be very careful when fetching water, especially when it rains since the spring becomes so contaminated and even slippery, and so I have to be careful," explained teenager Barnabas. Falls, their related injuries, and spilled water are common when trying to leave the spring.

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 community's female members 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 forming 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

May, 2021: Kwalukhayiro Spring Project Complete!

Makale Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Kwalukhayiro 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 in celebration at the completed spring.

"This water has automatically secured our health is protected. I believe I won't spend more money on water-related disease treatment. This is a great relief for me," said Mary Nashimi, a farmer in the community.

"Now that I'll be spending less time at the spring collecting water, I'll be able to have enough time to work on my farm. This means that I'll have a better yield."

Mary celebrates the completed spring.

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

"I'll be able to help my mum around in terms of fetching water. She can rest assured that I will be bringing her safe water home, unlike before. With this spring protected, I intend to take more time studying my books. I can fetch the water very fast, do other house chores, and sit down to read my books. I am sure of improving in my studies now," said young teenager Sammy.

"Community members at Kwalukhayiro Spring are overwhelmed with joy over the protection of this spring," reported Field Officer Lillian Achieng' upon the project's completion.

"The song and dance that was witnessed after the completion of this spring is enough evidence. The Area Member of the County Assembly, Mr. Kelvin Mahelo, was of great help in mobilizing the locally available materials. The community remains appreciative to the donors for changing their lives through this spring protection."

Singing and dancing to celebrate the spring's completion

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.

Women deliver materials to the spring work site.

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.

Offloading materials

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. 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.

Setting the 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 slightly incline to ensure water flows in the right direction.

Stiarcase construction

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 on that area, which could cause soil erosion and thus a clogged drainage area.


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.

Floor and tile plasterwork while catchment area is backfilled with large stones

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.

Planting grass during site management portion of training.

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.

Protected spring

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.

Clean water flows

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. The field officer in charge handed over the water point to the community members without a formal dedication ceremony with the construction works completed. The community members sang and danced to celebrate the new water point.

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.

Handwashing training

When the day arrived, facilitator Lillian Achieng' deployed to the site to lead the event. Thirteen people attended the training, including community-based leaders. The attendance was lower than expected as many community members were busy on their farms preparing for the planting that is due. We held the training in community member Mary Nashimi's compound. The participants sat on the ground within the compound, which had enough shade provided by the available trees.

Demonstrating how to build a compost pit

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 also left behind a rice sack painted with messages of COVID-19 prevention reminders in the local language.

Participants practice hands-free greetings.

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.

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.

Tree planting session

The most memorable session was the general and personal hygiene portion, as it engaged the community members in several practical activities, including tree planting and garbage collection and disposal. The community members named the trees they planted during the session their "TWP trees" in honor of The Water Project.

Holding a tree sapling planted during training.

Water handling and storage was the second most memorable topic as participants got to wash a water storage container. Many participants admitted that it was common to add water into the storage container without washing the container first. It was also unknown to the group that not changing the water in the container every three days can consume contaminated water.

A woman cleans her water storage pot as part of the session on safe water collection and handling.

"All along, I have thought that once the spring is protected, then the water cannot be contaminated again. Today I've learned that I can contaminate the water after drawing it and before it reaches home for storage. Through this training, I've learned how to handle my water properly," said training host Mary Nashimi.

"We had dropped our guard in terms of wearing masks while in school. From this training, I've learned that mask-wearing is very important to keep the virus away. I will continue practicing this, even if my friends won't," remarked teenager Sammy, reflecting on the COVID-19 prevention portion of the training.

"Including my very own home, many community members had put some handwashing stations in their homes for anyone visiting to wash their hands but had recently died out. With this training, I believe everyone will take these measures and precautions seriously, like before."

Handwashing session

"Our trainer emphasized contactless greetings. Many of my community members and my fellow pupils back at school had gone back to shaking hands. I won't shake hands anymore since this will make me get infected if I touch my eyes, nose, or mouth," Sammy continued.

"As I had stated earlier, we will go back to restoring our handwashing stations that had indeed been neglected. We will ensure we wash our hands regularly with soap and 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 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!

April, 2021: Kwalukhayiro Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Kwalukhayiro Spring is making people in Makale, 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: Spare Time and Money Lead to Brighter Futures!

June, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Makale 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!

Before Makale Community's spring was protected last year, so much of the community members' time was wasted dealing with water.

"It was hard to get water from this water point because scooping it using small containers could make [the] water dirty easily," said nine-year-old Sakine R.

"Water fetched by children like me was not trusted for drinking by our parents," Sakine continued. "We only used to be fetching water for other household chores and not for drinking because the process of fetching water for drinking was to be [done] so carefully and it was mostly done very early in the morning."

Another community member, Juma Reinson, a 54-year-old farmer, echoed this sentiment.

"Getting water from this water point before was very difficult because we used to carry small containers for scooping water to fill in the bigger containers," Juma explained.

"The process itself was tiresome and time-consuming. Moreso, after reaching home, you had to sieve water in order to remove solid sediments collected together with water and other contaminants like green algae. Generally, [the] water itself was not safe for human consumption, but because we had no other source [or] finances to improve this water point, we had to use water fetched from the water point, though with a lot of challenges."

But now, those worries are a thing of the past. All community members need to do is set their jerrycans beneath the spring's discharge pipe, bring the water home, and drink or use it as they see fit.

"Right now, it is very easy to fetch water here," Sakine said. "Water fetched by children [is] trusted by anyone for drinking because water is now safer, unlike before construction. My life has changed because [I] am no longer a victim of water-related diseases."

Now, Sakine's future is looking both healthier and brighter.

"Since [the] implementation of this water point, my parents have not been missing [paying] us any money needed in school, like for remedials (extra classes) [or] for assessment tests," Sakine said. "This has been because of accessing clean water, hence [my] parents reducing [their] wastage of resources [in] seeking medications for us."

And life has become easier for Juma, too.

"The water point has helped me achieve a lot of things," Juma said.

"Since [the] construction of this water point, I can save [a] little amount of money from my day-to-day work, unlike before when most of my resources [were] going [toward] foodstuffs and treating waterborne ailments."

"Besides that, the water point has helped me generate more income through selling tree seedlings, [which was] achieved through [the] availability of water from this water point for watering even during [the] dry spells. Also currently, I don't waste much of my time taking my cows to drink water in a distant stream."

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 Makale 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 Makale 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.


2 individual donor(s)