Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 175 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 12/14/2023

Project Features

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The Patrick Muyembere spring is located in the community of Murumba, in the Kakamega region of western Kenya. The unprotected spring sits near the bottom of a slope surrounded by green vegetation and is the only water source serving this community of  175 people.

This unique community is home to people from various tribes who live in peace regardless of their differences. In Murumba, most community members are small-scale farmers who grow sugarcane, maize, beans, or cassava. Some also rely on brick-making to help earn a living.

The main challenge with this water point is it's open to all sources of contamination, including runoff, since it's located at the bottom of a slope. The community members have improvised by adding a section of iron sheeting (rusty) to make collecting water easier, but it is likely adding to the water contamination.

Community members shared that when they use the water collected from the spring without boiling it, they end up at the hospital due to illness. Since most of them depend on farming, paying medical bills becomes a challenge and strains families in the community.

Another challenge is the overcrowding at the spring. Some families wake up as early as 5:30 and head to the spring to fill all of their water containers to avoid overcrowding during the day.

"I feel so sad when I see young ladies wasting their time at the water point instead of doing some constructive work to improve their lives. It's my prayer that this water point will be protected," said Emelda Mukoshi, farmer, 45.

"We waste our precious time at the spring waiting for elderly people to draw water first. This time can be converted into study time, and our performance will automatically improve. That is if the spring will be protected," commented Melvin S., a 16-year-old young lady.

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, 2022: Patrick Muyembere Spring Protection Complete!

Murumba Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Patrick Muyembere Spring into a flowing source of naturally filtered water thanks to your donation. Our team also trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these components will unlock the opportunity for community members to live better, healthier lives.

Farmer Ruth Omukunda, 47, said, "Clean water has always been a challenge for women in my community. I took too much of my morning hours collecting water for use at home. With our newly protected waterpoint, it's easier and faster to fetch water. This will create more time for me to indulge in my personal projects."


Children were just as excited as adults about the new waterpoint.

Mishele with her friend at the spring.

"Fetching water from our new spring is fast and easy. I will be able to get water quickly and have time to bond and learn from my mom," said Mishele A.

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 material-collection process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.

Community members delivering building materials.

When the community was ready, we sent a lorry to deliver the remaining construction materials, including cement, plastic tarps, and hardware. Then, our construction 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 to help with the manual labor.

Clearing the site.

First, we cleared and excavated the spring area. Next, we dug a drainage channel below the spring and several runoff diversion channels above and around the spring. These help to divert surface contaminants away.

To ensure community members could still access water throughout the construction process, we also dug temporary channels from the spring's eye around the construction site. This allowed water to flow without disrupting community members' tasks or the construction work.


Excavation created space for setting the spring's foundation, made of thick plastic tarp, wire mesh, concrete, and waterproof cement. After establishing the base, we started brickwork to build the headwall, wing walls, and stairs.

Brickwork begins.

Once the walls had grown tall enough, we began one of the most crucial steps: setting the discharge pipe. The discharge pipe needs to be positioned low enough in the headwall so the water level never rises above the spring's eye, yet high enough to allow room for the average jerrycan (a 20-liter container) to sit beneath the pipe without making contact.

Placing the discharge pipe.

If we place the discharge pipe too high above the spring's eye, backpressure could force water 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.

Building the rub walls.

In coordination with brickwork, we pitched stones on both sides of the spring's drainage channel. We then cemented and plastered each stone, forming the rub walls. These walls discourage people and animals from standing in that area, which could cause soil erosion and a clogged drainage area.

We then cemented and plastered 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.

Doing plaster work.

As the headwall and wing walls cured, 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.

Placing tiles into the spring floor.

The final stage of construction is backfilling the reservoir box behind the discharge pipe. We cleared the collection box of any debris that may have fallen during construction. 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 water through the discharge pipe only.

Backfilling the reservoir box.

We filled up the reservoir area with the large, clean stones community members had gathered, arranging them in layers like a well-fitting puzzle. We covered the rocks with a thick plastic tarp to minimize potential contamination sources, then piled enough dirt on top to compensate for future settling.

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. Compaction can lead to disturbances in the backfill layers and potentially compromise water quality.

Adding fencing to protect the spring.

The entire construction process took about two weeks of work and patience to allow the cement and plaster to finish curing. As soon as the spring was ready, people got the okay from our field officers to fetch water.

Celebrating their protected spring!

We officially handed over the project to Murumba community members under the leadership of Mama Sarah Bwononi, the Chairperson of the Water User Committee, to mark the community's ownership of the water point. They sang praise songs to glorify God for answering their prayers.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

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.

When the day arrived, facilitators Betty Muhongo and Jemimah Khasoa deployed to the site to lead the event. 13 people attended the training, including 11 women and two men. We held the training in an open field next to the spring.

Training participants.

We covered several topics, including community participation in the project, leadership and governance, personal and environmental hygiene, water handling and treatment, spring maintenance, dental hygiene, the ten steps of handwashing, disease prevention, and how to make and use handwashing stations.

Learning proper oral hygiene.

During the leadership and governance session, we held an election for the newly formed water user committee leaders, who will oversee the maintenance of the spring. We also brainstormed income-generating activities. Community members can now start a group savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring and a cooperative lending group, enabling them to develop small businesses.

Learning about spring maintenance.

Operations and maintenance of the spring was the most memorable topic of the day. Participants wanted to know how they would manage and maintain their spring for it to last them many years. Questions and discussions led by the local leaders present resulted in setting rules and regulations for spring maintenance. The group went further and decided on penalties for whoever is found ignoring the rules. We found this very encouraging. With these rules in place, the community will protect the spring and help aid the sustainability of the project.

Sarah (in the green headscarf) and other participants learn how to make soap.

Farmer and chairperson of the Water User Committee Sarah Bwononi, 58, said, "The training has been beneficial to me because I have learned how to make soap. Knowledge is power, now I have power." Sarah continued, "I intend to be making soap for use at home. This will help me improve my sanitation standards and that of my family."

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!

May, 2022: Murumba Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Murumba 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: Water access restores community harmony!

June, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Murumba 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!

Keith A., 17, recalled what life was like in Murumba Community before his community’s spring was protected last year.

"We used to take a lot of time at the water point and struggle to get clean water, especially during [the] rainy season because the water point was open and often [would] get dirty when it rained," said Keith.

But life is much simpler and less burdensome for Keith and the other community members in Murumba now.

"Now we get clean water any time we want, and there is no struggling. Accessing the water point is also easy with the help of [the] well-constructed staircase," said Keith.

Having ready access to water from the spring has made a difference for Keith, allowing him to quickly and efficiently collect water alongside other community members.

"As you can see, there is harmony in the community [and] the way people interact and help each other, which was influenced by this water point," concluded Keith.

Thank you for helping Keith access clean water and for bringing harmony back to his community.

Right now, there are others just like him in neighboring communities that desperately need safe water access. Your support will immediately go to work to provide a clean water project - and we can’t wait to introduce you to the next person you’ll help.

Keith at the protected spring collecting water.

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 Murumba 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 Murumba 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.


Project Sponsor - Gus and Genevieve Ingraldi