Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/03/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

"I have young grandchildren aged below 5-years-old who have had several episodes of diarrhea, which I suspect is because of the water source. The source lacks a chlorine dispenser. Thus it is the key suspected point of infection," said Mary Paulo, a farmer who lives in Mukhuyu.

Mary is 1 of 210 people in the community who depend on unprotected Anami Spring for water. As an open water source, the water is highly contaminated with dirt, algae, and farm chemicals, and animal waste that the rains carry in with the runoff. The water is not fit for human consumption, leading to frequent waterborne and water-related diseases throughout the community. The most commonly reported illnesses include Bilharzia, diarrhea, scabies, and dehydration. Community members lose a lot of time seeking medical attention and paying for medication to treat their water-related illnesses.

Fetching water from the spring is a messy and time-consuming process. Community members improvised a discharge pipe using a small corrugated metal held down in the water by a few small rocks. The water then flows over the metal and forms a small spout, where community members try to fit their jerrycans to fill them up. But the sheet metal is quite low to the ground, so the standard jerrycan cannot stand upright beneath it. This means at a certain point. Community members have to switch to using small jugs and cups to fill from the sheet to pour the water into their larger jerrycan. This process contributes to long lines and waits times at the spring, wasting women's and children's time that could be used for other work and responsibilities. As a result, women, in particular, fetch water at the spring from early morning to late evening, trying to meet their families' water needs.

"The water challenge makes me waste a lot of time while going for water, and I get to school late. This always makes me get punished," said Derrick, a primary school student in the community.

Because the spring is the only source of water for domestic and agricultural use, its unprotected states also impact food security. There is never enough water to irrigate gardens and water the animals, so people must consistently make choices that reduce their productivity and food security in one way or another.

Mukhuyu is in a rural set-up where there is no noise from vehicles, motorcycles, or even loud music. The roads are dusty now but become very slippery with mud during the rainy season. The people in this community are cosmopolitan in that various tribes live and work together in peace. Trees are planted everywhere, making the area beautiful and cool, especially in the dry season.

The most common livelihoods for the community members here are farming, livestock keeping, and running small businesses. Some people work casual labor day-jobs as well. The people in this community are welcoming and hospitable. During our most recent visit to write this report, every household offered our team food or drink. These gestures of kindness made them unique, the team noted.

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: Anami Spring Protection Complete!

Mukhuyu Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Anami 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.

"The completion of this water point will help [us] access safe water for drinking," said Luke Wanami, a local farmer.

"For a long time, we have been in search for clean drinking water, but [to] no avail. The completion of this water point will also help improve our livelihoods since we've been trained on how to make soap that will be sold in large quantities, for water is a reagent."

Children were just as excited as the adults about the new water point. John B., 10, has been carrying far too many worries for one so young. Now, hopefully, those burdens will be eased.

John at the spring.

"Safe water will help me save on the costs of treatment, since a lot of money has been used to cater for hospital bills due to contracting waterborne diseases," John said.

"My goal is to ensure my grandfather has access to clean water," John continued. "Our health will improve. [The spring will] also enable me to have [ample] time to do assignments at home, because access will be easier and quick, saving on time."

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.

Luke helps to excavate 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 pipes. The discharge pipes have 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 pipes and the spring floor. This allows room for the average jerrycan (a 20-liter container) to sit beneath the pipes without making contact.

If we place the discharge pipes 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 pipes using clay (or mortar when clay is in short supply) and placed them 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 pipes.

As the headwall and wing walls were curing, we cemented and plastered the stairs and installed four tiles beneath the discharge pipes. 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 pipes 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.

Luke plants grass in the catchment area.

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. 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. Because so many of the community members had participated in the construction of the spring, they were excited to attend the training, and attendance was much higher than we had anticipated.

When the day arrived, facilitators Amos, Nelly, Betty, and Phiscus deployed to the site to lead the event. 16 people attended the training, including fourteen women and two men. We held the training near the spring under some mango and eucalyptus trees.

"You have taught well," Luke said. "Personally, I have learned a lot, especially the soap-making process. This will help me make my own soap and change my life in terms [of] hygiene and sanitation."

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.

"The best information I have gotten about [the] COVID-19 disease is the rumors about the vaccines," said Leonida Gray, who participated in the training. "I have listened to you keenly and I have made up my mind to go for vaccination and ignore [the] rumors."

Training about mask-making.

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 group's favorite topic was the site maintenance training, during which they learned how best to care for their protected spring. They felt a sense of pride and ownership in having constructed the spring themselves and were eager to learn how best to care for it. Also, they got a chance to laugh at one of the training facilitators when they thought he wouldn't be able to get a jerrycan full of water on top of his head. He was happy to say that he proved them wrong!

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.

Group photo!

Thank you for making all of this possible!

October, 2021: Mukhuyu Community, Anami Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Mukhuyu 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: Water from the spring brings joy in their hearts!

March, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Mukhuyu Community 8.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mukhuyu Community 8 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 we protected Anami Spring last year, collecting water was difficult and time-consuming for community members living in Mukhuyu.

"The spring was not presentable because it was old, and we felt that it would collapse. We could line up to get water because the water was not coming through one of the discharge pipes, so we were forced to use the other one," said 12-year-old Peter L.

But since the spring's protection, water flows freely and quickly, letting people collect water without wasting their valuable time.

"With the structure well constructed, water [is] coming through two discharges pipes [and that] has made getting water so quick and fast," said Peter.

Now that Peter and his fellow community members have access to plenty of water, they can collect sufficient water to meet their daily water needs, relieving them.

"I collect enough water from the spring for use at home. I can come here alone, fetch water and carry it home quickly. With the help of this water, I can clean my clothes and bathe every day, thus maintaining good hygiene," said Peter.

"When we get water from this spring, we have joy in our hearts," said 45-year-old Mary Muranda.

Peter splashing 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 Mukhuyu Community 8 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 Mukhuyu Community 8 – 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.


Milliman IntelliScript