Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 175 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/03/2024

Project Features

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Lukhoko Community's people are suffering due to their contaminated water source.

Kamwani Spring provides ample water to the 175 people who live in the surrounding area, and the water looks clear when women scoop it (as soon as they wake up, before it's muddied by the day's visitors). But wildlife and livestock visit the spring as often as people do. Villagers stand in the same water they're scooping up to drink. Children play in the water and stir up the mud and sediment from the bottom. And some villagers use the spring as a disposal area for meat offal and sugarcane trimmings.

Samson, a 32-year-old community member, shared his worries stemming from the contaminated water. "I have a family relying on me to provide for them not only on food but also on other wants," he said. "I constantly waste my resources treating waterborne diseases resulting from consuming water fetched at the water source."

Samson explained that waterborne and water-related diseases run rampant in their village all year long. During the rainy season, runoff water deposits waste into the water source, giving people a constant cough. Then, in the dry season, when all the community members rely solely on the spring, cases of waterborne infections skyrocket.

"[I] am always a victim of waterborne diseases on use of water fetched from this spring," said Melvin, who is eight years old. "I have missed going to school because I constantly contract waterborne diseases like typhoid, coughing, and, at times, severe headache."

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

December, 2022: Lukhokho Community Spring Protection Complete!

Lukhokho Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Kamwani 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.

"We used to have a small pre-primary school near here, and they used this water point. The school was closed down due to cases of water-related disease (typhoid). Since we have this new waterpoint providing clean water, our objective is to talk to the owner to reopen the school and enable our young ones [to] access [an] education at the school close to their homes. We have access to very safe water, and water-related diseases will be our past as the area has been on the radar of [the] typhoid-affected areas," said 65-year-old farmer Kaskon Muyekho.

Kaskon (with the blue shirt) celebrates with community members at the spring.

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

"[I] will be able to save a lot of time since I've been getting to school late because I use a lot of time to queue at the waterpoint before getting back home [and] then [going] to school. So the time saved will allow me to complete my homework on time hence avoiding being punished by my teacher. [I] will [also] be able to educate my fellow pupils and also my siblings on the importance of access to safe water," said seven-year-old Esther S.

Esther, washing her hands, smiling with a friend at the spring.

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.

Community members, young and old, helped collect materials for the project.

From Open Source to Protected Spring: A Step-by-Step Process

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.

Building the foundation structure.

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 pipes. The discharge pipes need 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 pipes without making contact.

Laying the foundation.

If we place the discharge pipes 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 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.

Setting the discharge pipes.

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.

Plastering the walls.

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.

A community member helps pass stones to fill 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.

Transplanting grass to prevent erosion.

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.

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.

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.

Kids celebrating the spring's completion.

"In attendance were the village elders, all the water user committee members, and some water users. They were so grateful, and they requested that they be considered again if there will be other projects. Their cooperation before and during the project implementation was highly appreciated," said field officer Mildred Mboha.

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 and relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

When the day arrived, facilitators Amos, Mildred, Davis, and Harrison deployed to the site to lead the event. 29 people attended the training, including 21 women and eight men. We held the training under a tree at a homestead close to the spring.

A group photo of the 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 to make soap.

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 proper spring maintenance.

The participants persevered under the hot sun to learn about proper water handling. One of the participants asked if water treated with chlorine can be used for bathing. The participants laughed, making reference to people who live in town and use water treated with chlorine for every purpose. The trainer intervened and advised them that there is no harm in using water treated with chlorine for bathing as long as the chlorine quantity is correct.


"The way I came here is not the way [I] am leaving. I have learned a lot about hygiene and sanitation and especially soap-making. I thought I knew how to wash my hands, but the ten steps of handwashing have made me realize I need to embrace the new method. Soap-making will also help me achieve high standards of hygiene and sanitation through the use of [the] soap made," said 38-year-old farmer and Water User Committee secretary Mercy Peter.


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!

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: "My Dream is Now Coming Through"

March, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Lukhokho 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!

Isaac, 14, recalled what life was like in the Lukhokho Community before his community's spring was protected last year.

"Before, to get water was very tiresome and challenging. This is because, during weekends, I used to spend most of the time at the water point to fetch water for domestic use at home. However, I was not able to get time to do my homework, and my teacher used to punish me, which had led me to poor performance," said Isaac.

Collecting water is now much faster and simpler for Isaac and the other community members in Lukhokho.

"Firstly, I want to thank you for constructing this water point. This water point has impacted my life positively because my dream is now coming through. The time wasted is now recovered, which really leads to improvement in my academic performance," Isaac continued.

Having ready access to water from the spring has made a difference for Isaac, allowing him to concentrate on improving things in his and his family's life.

"My plans or goals were to ensure hygiene and sanitation standards were improved at home, for example, filling the handwashing station around the pit latrines and cleaning the latrines every day. Secondly, cleaning the clothes with clean water, unlike before where the clothes could have stains due to dirty water. Lastly, my academic performance has greatly improved because the time wasted is now recovered, and I use it to concentrate in my assignments. Thank you for ensuring that we are drinking safe, clean water," concluded Isaac.

Isaac at the spring with community member Dorine and TWP staff.

Right now, there are others 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.

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 Lukhokho 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 Lukhokho 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.


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