Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 224 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/02/2024

Project Features

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The women and girls who live in Lusumu carry the primary responsibility of collecting water for the 224 residents who rely on Weyusia Spring.

The spring has consistent water flowing, but dirt and grass surround it and the water pipe is challenging to access, tucked under a ledge. People must balance on a rock while letting their container fill with water, which is often brown and murky.

The slow process creates tension amongst community members, often causing quarrels while people wait. Once the container fills, they lift their heavy jug and navigate back across a small plank bridge over a ditch to carry their water home. It is a tiring and risky process.

Mercy K. (in the photo below), 12, shared, "The current water situation has really affected me and other children. We have witnessed our parents exchange badly because of water. That being the case, there's no respect between children and elderly people."

The spring is open to contamination and not safe for human consumption. Drinking dirty water has led to community members suffering from water-related illnesses and needing medical care that steals valuable finances required to meet other daily needs.

"Since our spring is open, it's very hard for us to get clean water during this rainy season. The colour of our water is brown because of the soil erosion taking place uphill. We now rely on rainwater, which is not enough," said Karen Abwara (seen below), a 32-year-old farmer.

The people of Lusumu need their spring protected to have a reliable, clean water source that will meet the entire community's needs. Then they can focus on staying healthy, improving their daily lives, and rebuilding relationships with one another.

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

August, 2022: Lusumu Community Spring Protection Complete!

Lusumu Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Weyusia 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.

"Water from this spring is clean. I believe that I will no longer suffer from waterborne diseases. This will give me ample time to get busy on my farm during the day and sell vegetables in the evening to earn a living and have a better life for myself and my family," said 35-year-old farmer and chairperson of the water user committee Robai Khasungu.

Robai celebrates at the spring.

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

"So I love going to help my mother fetch water, and I now love going to the spring because I cannot fall. We will get water much faster, and my mother will prepare lunch early, and I will be happy," said seven-year-old Agnes.

Agnes at the waterpoint collecting 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Children celebrate at the spring.

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 Beverlyne Simbili, Patience Njeri and Mildred Mboha deployed to the site to lead the event. 31 people attended the training, including 27 women and four men. We held the training at one of the community members' homesteads.

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.

Hannifer washes her hands using the proper techniques.

"Personally, the training was very educative. I will now practice good sanitation and hygiene, and I will make sure that my family observes high hygiene standards. This will help us prevent diseases in our home," said 45-year-old farmer Hannifer Shikanga.

Soap making was the most memorable session during the training. When community members saw the trainers coming with a big basin and a cooking stick they thought they were going to cook ugali (a staple maize porridge). The trainers introduced the steps to soap making, the necessary reagents and demonstrated the process. Participants were excited to watch each step and amazed they now had the knowledge to make soap themselves.

Training participants.


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!

July, 2022: Lusumu Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Lusumu 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: Enough Time to Play and Study!

August, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Lusumu 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!

Elizabeth G., 10, recalled what life was like in Lusumua Community 2 before her community’s spring was protected last year.

"We used to overcrowd at the water point and struggle to have clean water which you will find yourself have spent the all day collecting water and neglect other house chores," Elizabeth said.

But life is much simpler for Elizabeth and the other community members in Lusumu now.

"We can now spend less time at the water point and help at home with other house chores without fail. Secondly, it has helped me concentrate on my studies now that I have more free times at home during school holidays than before," she continued.

Having ready access to water from the protected spring has made a difference for Elizabeth, allowing her focus on her education in her free time.

"I have [enough] time for my extra studies while at home after completing collecting and also have time to play with my friend too," she concluded.

Thank you for helping Elizabeth access clean water and give her back crucial time used to study and play.

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.

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 Lusumu 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 Lusumu 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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