Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 250 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2022

Functionality Status:  Water Flowing - Needs Attention

Last Checkup: 04/09/2024

Project Features

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The community of Mukaniro relies on Libuyi Springas its primary water source: a small pool of water surrounded by grass located at the bottom of a steep pathway. Because the pool of water is so shallow and there is no collection pipe, community members must bend over and place their jerrycan in the water sideways to allow it to fill or use a scooping container.

Sadly, the open spring is causing more harm than good, since runoff, animals, and people contaminate the water. It is making the 250 people who rely on it, especially the children, sick with typhoid and diarrhea.

"As a child, I have had diarrhea so many times, and this has made me and my younger siblings so weak. The doctor said the source of water is a problem, and my parents should change the source of water," said Aron M., age 6.

When community members arrive at the spring, even early in the morning, the spring is overcrowded, so they waste time in long lines to collect the water they need for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Then more time is wasted as they wait for the cloudy, muddy water to settle between users. People could use this time to complete other critical daily tasks like growing food for selling and eating, side businesses, cooking, and cleaning.

"As a mother, I spend all day looking for water, and this strains me a lot. Queueing for hours gives me back pains, and sometimes I endure the pains so that my family can have clean water," said Florence Libuyi, a local farmer.

Mukaniro needs their spring protected to have a safe water source they can rely on that will not make them sick or steal their valuable time and energy.

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: Mukaniro Community Spring Protection Complete!

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

"Access to reliable, safe, clean water will keep families healthy and happy because there will be no more waterborne diseases. [I] am sure all the funds that I used to take my children to the hospital [with] will help me buy them other basic needs. This is because we now have access to clean and safe flowing drinking water in our community," said 48-year-old farmer Eliud Utumbi.

Eliud collecting water.

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

"I will no longer fear coming to the spring because the spring is now accessible, and I can fetch clean and safe water directly from the pipe and not a scooping jug, which used to make my hand pain. I will have enough time to stay at home after school and help my siblings do their homework because I will not worry about when and how I will get water from the spring as [I] used to," said 10-year-old Mary L.

Mary playing with water.

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.

Children helping carry bricks for the construction of the spring.

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.

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.

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.

Setting the discharge pipe.

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.

Building the stairs.

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 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.

Community members transplant 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.

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.

Cheers for water!

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 Christine Masinde and David Mangara deployed to the site to lead the event. 34 people attended the training, including 25 women and nine men. We held the training under a tree outside a community member's homestead.

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.

Participants taking notes.

The most memorable topic was soap making. During this session, the participants were excited, and to them, it was a great achievement. They believed soap could only be made by large industries, so they were surprised that they were able to make soap together so easily.

Learning to make soap.

Another memorable topic was the proper maintenance of the spring. The participants agreed that they will take good care of the spring and will not allow anyone to harm the spring or they will be penalized. The protection of the spring gave community members hope that they could live a healthy life and drink clean and safe water that is accessible at all times.

Learning about proper spring maintenance.

"As a mother, the training has taught me how to keep myself, my family, and my environment clean. Through this, I realized that I was ignorant to do things the right way, and my mindset is changed for the better now," said 41-year-old farmer and water user committee secretary Milcah Wawire.



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: More Time for Fun!

March, 2024

A year ago, your generous donation helped the Mukaniro Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Valerie. 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 2.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mukaniro 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!

Valerie, 8, recalled what life was like in the Mukaniro Community before her community's spring was protected last year.

"We used to get dirty because the place was muddy and bushy. Also, it was dangerous during [the] rainy season, where you can slip and injure yourself," said Valerie.

Collecting water is now much safer for Valerie and the other people who live in Mukaniro.

"The place is not bushy anymore, and there [is] no standing water [like what] used to be there around the spring. Now we don't fear coming to the water point to collect water," continued Valerie.

Community member Laura Libuyi agrees. "The spring was open, just a pool of water surrounded by big grass with no good drainage, that was a challenge when collecting it. We also were wasting a lot of time at the water point during the day waiting for mud water to settle before collecting."


Having ready access to water from the spring has made a difference for Valerie and Laura. Now, they can quickly collect water and have time for other things. For Laura, that means more time farming, and for Valerie, she can enjoy being a little girl who is healthy and has time to play.

"Nowadays, I have a lot of time to play after finishing collecting water, and we no longer complain of stomach aches because of drinking dirty water as before," concluded Valerie.

Valerie drinking clean water.

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 Mukaniro 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 Mukaniro 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.


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