Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 140 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/03/2024

Project Features

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Musangaro Community is a predominantly agrarian village. As far as the eye can see, the landscape is filled with farmland. As it was the planting season during our last visit, we saw the majority of people out cultivating their fields. The community is far from any nearby town or even shops, and is most easily accessed on foot, bicycle, or motorbike as the roads are tiny and muddy.

140 people here depend on Omumasaba Spring for all of their daily water needs, but the spring cannot give them clean water. Omumasaba Spring is an artesian spring, so its water bubbles up from the ground and forms a pool, rather than flowing down an incline from its source. As such, it looks like a milky brown puddle carved out into the earth. Around the spring it is quite muddy and slippery, made worse with the frequent rains.

To fetch water, community members must bring a small jug or bowl to scoop water from the spring and pour it into their larger containers. In its current state, there is no place for a makeshift discharge pipe. The process is time-consuming and frustrating, causing crowds throughout the day as people wait their turn to fetch water. The lines are especially concerning during the pandemic, when community members are trying to avoid groups and limit their time spent in public.

"It takes a long time to fetch water since you have to fetch, then wait for it to settle, then fetch again. And, some flukes (harmful flatworms) are present since it is open all year long," reported young adult Simon.

At the time of our last visit, the water was light brown in color because the previous evening it had rained heavily - even though it was already 10:00 am the following day. We could also see small channels of dirty runoff still running into the spring. With each person fetching water and with every rain, more dirty surface runoff pours into the spring and contaminates the water, carrying with it soil, farm chemicals, and animal waste.

Due to the spring's contaminated water, water-related illnesses in the community are widespread and most frequent during the rainy season.

"During rainy season we tend to get sick around here. It's not safe since the drawing point is slippery and if not careful, one can slide down and end up getting hurt badly," said 25-year-old farmer Beldine Omumasaba, who is also part of the spring's landowning family.

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

October, 2021: Omumasaba Spring Project Complete!

Musangaro Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Omumasaba 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.

"Now that this water point is complete, I will be able to establish a vegetable farm. I will sell the vegetables I grow in the farm which will be an income-generating activity to me and my family," said Gaudensia Omumasaba.

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

"Now that this water point is complete, I will have a lot of time to concentrate on my studies," said Stacy M., age 7.

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. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

Peter Omumasaba, one of the community members thanked us for helping them construct the spring. He said he has been drinking dirty water since he was a small boy but now he is happy that his grandchildren will grow up having clean water and to him, this is a dream come true.

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.

During the construction process, many community members came to help the artisan in one way or the other and had many questions. When they heard that there was going to be a training held after the construction was complete they assured us they would attend.

When the day arrived, facilitators, Edmond Otieno, Emmah Nambuye, Elvine Atsieno and Adelaide Nasimiyu deployed to the site to lead the event. Sixteen (16) people attended the training, including village health volunteers and community-based leaders, and the village elder. We held the training on a sunny day under a tree at the homestead of Peter Omumasaba, the spring's namesake.

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.

Most of the community members believed that when you drink a local brew called "chang'aa" you could not contract the virus. The trainers shared with them this was a myth and instead, they should adhere to the Ministry of Health directives to prevent COVID-19.

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.

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!

September, 2021: Omumasaba Spring Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Musangaro 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: Better Relationships and Cleaner Homes!

March, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Musangaro Community 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 the spring in Musangaro last year, people had to scoop up water from a hole in the ground whose water was milky and brown.

"Getting water was time-consuming," recalled eight-year-old Shaline. "Whenever a number of people [would] go to the spring at the same time, the water would turn dirty, and you had to wait for quite some time before getting clear water again."

"I used to struggle a lot when going to fetch water," said 65-year-old farmer Gaudencia Omumasaba. "As you can see my age, my bones are getting tired. I clearly remember, during the rainy season, getting water was very problematic for me. I used to slide several times, and I also do remember spraining my ankle way back."

But now, the spring's water is protected from outside contamination, and it flows freely from the spring's discharge pipe.

"Getting water is more fun now," Shaline said. "And I can say my days are more happier since my mother doesn't have quarrels with me because of bringing water that is brown. She really used to despise water that appears contaminated. I can now be at peace with my mama. Sometimes I needed something from her, then I [would] remember I was on bad terms with her, [so] I had to shy away. But for a good couple of months, it has been really good."

Not only have relationships improved between family members and neighbors, but things at home have gotten easier for everyone.

"I have now achieved the level of cleanliness I really wanted for my household," Gaudencia said. "As you can see, you found me doing laundry. I just admire seeing my house, clothes, and utensils (dishes)—in fact, everything—neat and clean."

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 Musangaro Community 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 Musangaro Community – 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.