Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/21/2023

Project Features

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Makuto Muyekho Spring is the only spring available year-round in the community of Mungakha for its 300 people. During the dry season, when many springs in the area dry up, the number of people who depend on Makuto Muyekho Spring rises to around 500. The spring is not only crowded but also contaminated.

People must stand in the same water with which they fill their jerrycans. The spring is open and shared with wildlife. There are also several farms around the spring whose fertilizers seep into the water. The water itself is murky, especially when many people step inside and stir up the sediment from the bottom of the spring. Children are the most affected by water-related illnesses in Mungakha, with several cases of typhoid, cholera, bilharzia, and H. Pylori reported amongst the young people.

13-year-old Metrine A.(in the picture above) is well aware of the spring's drawbacks. "Deep inside, I know I am consuming dirty water since I have been educated on the same by my teacher in school, but there is nothing I can do since it's the only source of water I have."

But drinking the water isn't the only reason the people who use the spring have come to harm. The rocks surrounding the spring make fetching difficult since the water often makes them slick.

"Accessing water from this water point has never been easy," said 35-year-old Catherine Siluki (pictured below). "Several [times], I have slid on these stones and fell when carrying my filled-up container from the spring."

Perhaps most telling of all the things we learned while visiting Mungakha was the disillusionment of its people. So many politicians running for office have promised them a source of clean water and none have delivered. We weren't able to convince them that their spring would really, truly be protected—they said they'd believe it when they see it. The only way we can dispel their disillusionment is with your help.

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: Mungakha Community Spring Protection Complete!

Mungakha Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Makuto Muyekho 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.

"Now that we have safe and clean water from the protected spring, our living standards and health will improve immensely," said 56-year-old farmer Christine Shivoko.

"Since I was born, I have been [drinking] water from this unprotected spring. Typhoid and cholera are common diseases in our community because of consuming dirty water. The little money we get, we could spend it on buying medicine and hospital bills. As a result of this, the level of poverty is very high in this area. Now that our spring is protected, we will develop economically since the money we spent in hospitals will be diverted towards income-generating activities."

Christine at the spring.

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

"Water from the protected spring is very clean and clear. I drink the water as much as I wish without worrying about getting sick from diseases caused by contaminated water like before," said 11-year-old Phillip A.

Phillip drinking water.

"There used to be long queues at the spring, especially in the mornings and evenings. A lot of time was wasted, but now fetching water is easy and fast. I believe my grades in school will improve since I will have more time to do my homework and revise at home and still fetch 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.

A community member 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.

The community celebrates.

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.

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 Christine Masinde, Patience Njeri, and Mildred Mboha deployed to the site to lead the event. 23 people attended the training, including 21 women and two men. We held the training outside under some shade trees.

Opening prayer.

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.

Training participants.

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 facilitator demonstrated solar water disinfection, and participants were surprised to learn such a cheap and easy method of treating water. They wished they had learned about the method before the spring protection so they could have treated their contaminated water to make it suitable for drinking.

Women celebrate learning how to make soap.

"No one has ever held a training of any kind in our community. We are privileged to be not only beneficiaries of the protected spring, but also of knowledge on hygiene promotion. With the new acquired knowledge, we will prevent hygiene and water-related illnesses in our community. We will share the information with other people who did not attend the training so that they can also change their behaviour positively," said Christine Shivoko, quoted earlier.


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!

June, 2022: Makuto Muyekho Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Mungakha 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

Protected Spring

In many communities, natural springs exist as water flows from cracks in rocky ground or the side of a hill.  Springs provide reliable water but that doesn’t mean safe. When left open they become contaminated by surface contamination, animal and human waste and rain runoff. The solution is to protect the source. First, you excavate around the exact source area of the spring. Then, you build a protective reservoir for water flow, which pours through a reinforced pipe in a concrete headwall to a paved collection area. Safe water typically flows year-round and there is very limited ongoing maintenance needed!


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