Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 280 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/03/2024

Project Features

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The 280 people who depend on Wambani Spring in Musango do not have access to clean and safe water. This is because the spring is open to all sorts of contamination, including surface runoff from the rains, and animals like tadpoles and toads in addition to parasites and bacteria. People here report common cases of diarrhea after drinking this spring water.

"There are always toads in the water that cause the water to get dirty. When you want to fetch water, they try hiding and end up disturbing the water even more," said primary school student Ashley Clara.

The water is visibly brown from the amount of dirt and sand in it, and the frequent rains make this worse.

"After it has rained, it's difficult to get clean water. This is because you will find mud in the water and even the water turns color. You have to wait for a very long time for this water to settle sometimes before fetching," explained said 68-year-old farmer Josephine Okumu.

Most community members - and mostly women and children - try to fetch water in the morning before there are too many people interfering with it, or in the evening after most people have gone home. But no matter how people try to spread their fetching times out, it seems the water is always churned up with mud. These crowds are especially concerning during the pandemic, when community members are trying to avoid groups and limit their time spent in public.

Time lost at the spring means time lost in other aspects of community members' lives, and the daily cycle of delayed work is frustrating. When women get stuck waiting for water at the spring in the morning, they return home late and a cycle of delays begins: breakfast, morning farmwork, lunch, afternoon work, dinner, and so on. There is no peace in their busy and tight daily schedules. A lot of productive work time is lost each day to fetching water, resulting in less food planted and harvested and fewer wages earned.

To fetch water at the spring, community members placed some stones and sticks over the water to help them try to stay dry. Before, when they had to stand in the water, they often contracted bilharzia. But even now, the footing is slippery and falling into the water is not uncommon, especially among young children.

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

June, 2021: Wambani Spring Project Complete!

Musango Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Wambani 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 celebrating at the protected spring.

"The protected spring will help me reduce the distance I have been covering going to get clean water at a very far distance. It will help me have water at my house always without being worried about the distance," said Florence Otipa, a businessperson in the community.

"I will be able to expand my business because I will have enough time to take my fish to the market. We have been being charged 50 bob (KSH) per month to fetch water from the other spring where we have been getting water - I will save that money and expand my business with it," she added.

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

"The spring will help me have drinking water near my home. I will not be going to look for water elsewhere. I will be having time for evening studies since water is easily accessible. I will dedicate extra time to studies to improve on my performance," said teenager Gabriel.

Gabriel (left) and others celebrating at the protected spring.

"Musango community had been fetching water from a very far distance which they were being charged for to put them off from fetching water from there. They were very happy when they realized that they will now own their own water point," recalled Programs Coordinator Protus Ekesa, who helped bring this project to fruition.

"During construction, the community put in a lot of effort. They did everything collectively as a community. They mobilized materials so that their work should be done well and speedily. The community was also able to clear the path leading to the spring, which they had ignored for a very long time."

Programs Coordinator Protus Ekesa (left) marks the official handing over of the spring through a gesture to the community members.

"On the training day, they turned up happily to get knowledge on the use of their water source. During this time, they could also learn how to keep themselves safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. They had relaxed in adherence to the COVID-19 measures as stipulated by the Ministry of Health. They were taught in practice how to wash their hands, how to wear face masks appropriately, and how to make a simple mask and handwashing station at home."

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.

Community members bringing construction 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.

Community members of all ages and abilities helped prepare and mobilize materials for construction.

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.

Pouring 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.

Brickwork begins

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 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 slightly incline to ensure water flows in the right direction.

The walls reach their final height with bricks.

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.

Stone pitching underway looking toward the spring's drainage channel

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.

Rock hand-off line to help the artisan backfill the spring.

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.

Setting up the fence

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.

"There was a celebration at the water point during the handing-over ceremony as the community members were excited to have their own water. They have been paying money to fetch water from the nearby spring, which is not very close to their homes. The community sang local songs and danced at the water point. The cane cutters who were cutting sugarcane nearby were forced to abandon their work to come and witness what was happening at the spring," recalled Programs Coordinator Protus Ekesa, who led the ceremony at the spring.

Protus hands over the spring to the community.

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 demonstration

When the day arrived, facilitators Protus, Adelide, Elvine, and Joyce deployed to the site to lead the event. Fourteen people attended the training, including community-based leaders and the village health volunteer. We held the training at the spring and one of the community members' homes. The environment was cool but rather muddy at the spring since it had rained heavily the day before. The venue was spacious and open at the home, helping to accommodate the number of community members while adhering to the COVID-19 protocols.

Handwashing practice

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. When we touched on how handwashing is an effective step at helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the facilitator asked the community members if they wash their hands regularly. One man named Joseph replied by saying that they had stopped washing their hands as they used to do when the first COVID-19 case was announced in Kenya. The facilitator reminded them that COVID-19 is here with us, and they need to be even more vigilant than before. This led the community health volunteer who was present to explain to the group how serious COVID-19 is so as for them to take care of themselves.

Participants put on masks to attend training.

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.

Site management training at the spring

We also brainstormed income-generating activities that can be used to start 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 has made me learn things I had not learned before. It is going to help me remain safe from the virus and also be in a position to pass the knowledge to my family," said Dishon Kutsushi, the elected Chair of the water user committee and also a Pastor in the community.

Active question and answer session

"The training has taught me so much on what I am supposed to do as an individual in terms of ensuring I remain safe during this pandemic and also having access to clean and safe drinking water. I will be able to use the new knowledge to train my people, which makes my work easier," said Hellena Anyesi Lukoko, the Community Health Volunteer and the elected Secretary of the water user committee.


Community Health Volunteer Madam Hellena Lukoko urges her fellow community members to visit a health facility when they feel ill.

Madam Lukoko said the most helpful parts of the training included "the ways of handwashing, the symptoms and signs of COVID-19 as compared to the normal cold, and how to make a simple handwashing station at home."

"For now, I am not worried because I have acquired the knowledge to protect myself and protect the community at large," she added.

Madam Lukoko (second from right) and other women pose at the spring.

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!

May, 2021: Wambani Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Wambani Spring is making people in Musango, 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 Hating Water to Enjoying It

July, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Musango 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!

"We used to waste time to get water that was not clean, in fact from a trench. We always suffered from typhoid and never enjoyed drinking water," said Florence Otipa, a 53-year-old farmer and chairperson of the water user committee.

But since protecting Wambani Spring last year in her community of Musango, life has improved for Florence.

"I am happy to easily access clean water, which I really enjoy drinking. I no longer suffer [from] typhoid like I used to before," said Florence.

With better health, Florence finally has the energy to plan for the future. She said, "I plan to start poultry farming because I am now healthy, and I will have enough time for my poultry project."

Florence (on the left) with other community members 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 Musango 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 Musango 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.


Marc's Birthday Campaign for Water
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