Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 140 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/07/2024

Project Features

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When we accompanied the Mudutsu's community members to their water source for the first time, it had just rained and the water source was cloudy from the stirred-up muck at the bottom of the river. The spring is located at the bottom of a slope, so when it rains, runoff from the surrounding farms courses down the hill and directly into the water source.

Timothy A. (pictured above in the striped shirt, left) has suffered academically as a result of waterborne illnesses caused by drinking the spring's contaminated water. "I have not been able to attend school frequently," he said. "Most of the time, [I] am home because whenever I take water without treating it, I automatically become sick."

The people of Mudutsu are able to grow enough food to feed themselves. But their poor health has rendered them unable to scale up their farming so they could sell their surplus crops. This means there's not enough money to have their spring protected, and not enough to pay for the mounting medical bills. Even pooling their resources hasn't proved sufficient enough to get medicine to treat the community members' cholera, typhoid, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

Even still, when we spoke with them about this project, community members began to collect local materials to aid artisans in the protection of Atsangalala Spring. They are so ready to improve their own lives once they have a reliable source of safe water.

"God answers prayers," said Agrery Alusiola, a 52-year-old local farmer (pictured above outside of his home, next to Timothy). "[I] am looking forward to seeing this spring protected. It has not been easy getting water."

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

September, 2022: Mudutsu Community Spring Protection Complete!

Mudutsu Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Atsangalala 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.

"Clean water is a blessing to us. My family will live a healthy life going forward," said 50-year-old teacher Janet Luvembe. "There will be [a] restoration of unity among community members [as] there will be no fighting at the waterpoint, especially during dry seasons. [And] minimal to no water-related ailments will mean no more spending money on medication treating these diseases. I intend to save this money to build myself and my family."

Janet (far right) with other water committee members.

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

Happy little one named Gift.

"It's easier now to fetch water at the spring. I get to save some time after doing the home chores. I intend to use this time to focus on my studies. This being my final year in secondary, my goal is to excel and go to university," said 17-year-old Marion M.

Marion (in pink) with other people collecting water at the protected 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.

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.

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.

Community youngsters 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.

Community members assembled to thank God for helping them protect their spring. A word of prayer was offered by Mama Sulumena Misiko, who spoke blessings over those who helped make its protection possible. Everyone happily agreed that anyone needing water is free to collect it at the protected spring.

Mama Sulumena drinking 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 Betty Muhongo and Stella Inganji deployed to the site to lead the event. 12 people attended the training, including nine females and three males. We held the training at the homestead of participants under some mango trees. The attendance was not as high as hoped since it was held on a market day and many community members had to tend to their small businesses.

We covered several topics, including community participation in the project, leadership, 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.

The water handling and treatment training session was interesting. Participants shared that most of the containers for fetching water in the community have no lids. When asked why, the women said they use the plastic lids as fuel when cooking. We highlighted the importance of proper water storage using covered containers to avoid contamination and that drinking water should not be stored for more than three days without treatment.

"I have gained a lot from this training. Being a student, I have gained so much information that I will use in school to educate my friends," said 17-year-old Valentine I.


"There are a number of things I ignored, not knowing they can affect my health. Usually [I] am not keen when using chlorine, I either use less or excess. But with this training, I have learned about solar disinfection, which is an easier water treatment method and has no side effects on my health."


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!

August, 2022: Mudutsu Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Mudutsu 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: "To me, this water is a blessing."

September, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mudutsu 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!

Metrine Atira, a 38-year-old farmer, recalled what life was like in Mudutsu Community before her community's spring was protected last year.

"Before the completion of the project, it was hard to access the water point because the place was slippery and sloped," said Metrine.

But access to water is much easier for Metrine and the other community members in Mudutsu now.

"Now it is easy to access the water point because we have stairs that facilitate access to the spring," Metrine said.

Having ready access to water from the protected spring has made a difference for Metrine, allowing her water to grow crops year-round and produce additional income for her family.

"To me, this water is a blessing. I have really benefited from the water because, during dry seasons, I use the water to water my plants. I cannot lack fresh vegetables to eat with my family and sell some of them to my nearby neighbors, thereby earning some income," shared Metrine.

Metrine's garden.

Thank you for helping her access clean water and create a more positive future.

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.

Metrine collecting water from the protected spring.

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 Mudutsu 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 Mudutsu 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.


7 individual donor(s)