Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 250 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/09/2024

Project Features

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The most common source of income for the 250 members of Mukaniro is farming. Families living here heavily rely on their only water source, Christopher Spring, not only to meet their daily drinking and household needs, but to make a living and survive.

Community members spend most of their time fetching water. They wake up early in the morning to collect water, make trips to the water point throughout the day, and then again in the evening, only to start the cycle over the next day. It steals so much of their time and energy that they cannot concentrate on other tasks to improve their living situations, and their bodies are exhausted.

When everyone crowds at the spring and wants to fetch water before the other to get on with their day, conflicts arise. At times, being unable to resolve the disputes leads to further disruption in the community by getting the village leaders involved, which eats up everyone's valuable time.

The water at the spring is milky-colored and not safe to drink. It is open to contamination, especially during the rainy season when all the dirty water uphill washes down into the spring.

The health of the water users, especially young children, is suffering from repeated cases of waterborne diseases like typhoid and diarrhea. People feel ill, so they miss work or school. When it lingers, they must seek medical treatment and pay hospital bills they can't afford. But they must drink water to survive, so they fall ill again, and the cycle continues, keeping them in a perpetual state of poverty. The cost is too high!

"I personally need this water to survive. That is why you see me fetching water here. This is because I don't have a choice. Instead, I will drink this same water, knowing that I will become sick of typhoid. Protecting the spring will be a blessing to me and my family because we have suffered for so long until sometimes we don't even talk about it," said Adelide Christopher, 58.

Mary W., age 14, (pictured above) shared, "Fetching water from the spring has not been easy. It is dangerous because the source is open and as young children, we can even drown and this has created fear in us. I don't enjoy fetching water here because it is risky. Sometimes when we play, we fall inside the spring, making the water even more dirty and carry the same water back home for drinking, thus putting our health at risk."

Protecting the spring will help community members in Mukaniro improve their health, increase engagement in agriculture and other income-producing activities, attend school more regularly, and hopefully break the cycle of poverty so their lives can change for the better.

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

July, 2022: Christopher Spring Protection Complete!

Mukaniro Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Christopher 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.

"I will now drink water without worries of getting ill. It will enable me [to] live a disease-free life," said Adelaide Christopher, a 58-year-old farmer. "With the improved access, [the] time consumed while fetching water will be reduced. I will channel the time to other productive aspects of my life."

Adelaide collects water from the spring.

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

When we spoke to 15-year-old Mary W. before the spring's protection, she expressed her concern about the open source of water and how dangerous it was, especially for children. But now with the spring's protection, things have changed for Mary.

"This waterpoint will make my trips to fetch water stress-free," Mary said. "No worries on probable accidents like falling into the pool of water. Access to clean water will also keep me and our family members free of waterborne diseases."

Mary collecting water before and after the spring's protection.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Setting 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.

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.

Building the rub walls.

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.

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.


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 with stones.

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.

Transplanting 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 the spring was ready, people got the okay from their local field officers to fetch water.

Completed spring.

We officially handed over the spring to the Water User Committee and the community members to mark their ownership of the water point amid cheers and ululations. They were extremely grateful for the project and vowed to take good care of the spring. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

Training on Health, Hygiene, 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 Elvis Afuya, Mildred Mboha, and Rachael Dorcus deployed to the site to lead the event. 28 people attended the training, including 16 women and 12 men. We held the training at a community member's home.

Practicing hand washing.

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.

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.

Onsite spring maintenance training.

"Besides helping me improve my personal and family hygiene and sanitation standards, I have also learned more on spring maintenance," said Mark Bushuru Minjisi, the 50-year-old chairman of the Water User Committee. "This will be critical in the management of this particular waterpoint. As water user committee leader, the knowledge will help me develop user-friendly policies that will ensure responsible use of the spring."

Soapmaking session.

Having acknowledged the critical role of soap in promoting good hygiene and sanitation practices, the training participants were eager to learn how to make soap. They keenly followed along with the process and were more than willing to assist during the session.


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members themselves. 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 their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In our target areas, we’re working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!

May, 2022: Mukaniro Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Christopher Spring 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: A Safer Place to Dwell!

July, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mukaniro 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!

Halima S., 17, recalled what life was like in Mukaniro Community before her community's spring was protected last year.

"The spring was open and risky to us young ones because most of [the] time before we collect[ed] water, you may find us play[ing] near the water making it too dirty, or [we would] fall inside, which wasn't good," Halima shared.

But life is much safer for Halima and the other community members in the Mukaniro Community now.

"Nowadays, even if we play next to the spring, we cannot get [the] water dirty or have fear of falling inside because it is well-fenced and well-protected," she continued.

Having ready access to water from the protected spring has made a difference for Halima, allowing her to play and collect water safely. She no longer has to fear falling into unsafe water.

"[My goal is] just to keep safe and be responsible for helping my parents at home more than before. Also, [I] have time for my personal activities, like visiting friends and personal studies," Halima concluded.

Thank you for helping Halima access clean water and have the time to focus on her studies and relationships. This allows Halima the ability to build a brighter future for herself.

Right now, there are others just like her 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.

Halima drinking 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 Mukaniro 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 Mukaniro 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.