Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 180 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/25/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

The 180 residents of Mukunga Community feel like they've been left behind by the rest of the world. Without access to clean water, they find it difficult to do everyday tasks, like bathing, washing school uniforms, doing dishes, and even cooking meals. They lack enough water to properly irrigate their crops, meaning they can only grow enough to feed themselves, not to sell. And what's more, the water they are able to procure makes them sick.

Some of the villagers need to walk at least an hour each way to fetch water. The luckiest community members, who are closest to the waterpoint, are only a 15-minute walk away. However, with three trips to collect water each day, that still amounts to at least an hour and a half wasted fetching water that gives most of them cholera, typhoid, and diarrhea.

Rose M., a local student, shared how the lack of safe, reliable water has affected her life and schooling: "As a child from this community, challenges concerning water have made us lag behind, especially in matters concerning academics. [The] majority of us miss school due to unclean uniforms and diseases [that] affect [our] health."

"People spend [a lot of] time and resources in seeking medications," added Hellen Akinda, a local farmer. She is pictured below fetching water from the unprotected spring.

"[There is a lot of] overcrowding of people at the water source, especially [during] morning hours," Hellen continued. "Older people and expectant mothers cannot access it. The drawing point is not safe for them to fetch 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

May, 2022: Makunga Community Spring Protection Complete!

Makunga Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Akinda 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.


"As the mother of many children and from this community, life has really changed. People will live a healthy life; thus, the hygiene standards will improve, thus ensuring people are safe from diseases," said farmer Rose Chisese, age 29.

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


Twelve-year-old Moses A. said, "The hygiene standards of this water point have been improved. Now I can wash clothes on a daily basis, take a bath and also no more time-wasting or queuing for long waiting [times] to collect water. We are living a healthy life, [with] no more diseases like the past."

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.

Community members helping.

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

At last, it was time to dig in at the spring! Locals lent their strength to the artisans to help with the manual labor.

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.

Laying a foundation.

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.

Setting the discharge pipe.

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.

Creating the rub wall.

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.

Setting the tiles.

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.

Collecting water from the protected spring.

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 our field officers to fetch water.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, 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 Victor Musemi and Jonathan Mutai deployed to the site to lead the event. 44 people attended the training, including 22 women and 22 men. We held the training on a warm, sunny day under some shade trees.

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.

Practicing hand washing.

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.

Soap-making session.

The soap-making session was the climax of the day. Participants were excited to learn and volunteered to take turns mixing the reagents, so everyone had an opportunity to learn. For some, it was the first time they had witnessed soap-making, so they immediately wanted to know where to find the reagents to buy for soapmaking in the future.

Mary Tavale, a 32-year-old farmer, shared her experience, "Having learned much from you people, [I] am in a position to teach others and ensure hygiene standards are maintained, as I lead by example."

Mary at the spring.

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 our field officers to assist them. Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

March, 2022: Akinda Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Makunga 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: Making Bricks and Building Homes!

May, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Makunga 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!

Before we protected Akinda Spring in Makunga Community, the spring was constantly muddy and the water was cloudy with dirt.

"We used to get dirty at the spring because the place was too muddy," explained 13-year-old Phoebe M. "It was hard to access the spring during [the] rainy season because it was slippery and dangerous."

"We had a lot of water, as you can see, but accessibility was hard and time-wasting," explained farmer Everline Enock." Also, we believe that [the] water was dirty. We could not drink from it directly because it was open, and so this led us to walk long distances in search of drinking water."

Mincing through mud and walking far away to find clean water used to waste a lot of the community members' time, as Everline said. But now that the spring has been protected, people can collect water much more easily.

"Now, we no longer walk far distances in search of drinking water, but get it directly from our spring," Everline said. "Also we can now manage to sort [out] other issues at home on time, unlike before."

"With the use of stairs, accessing the water point has been made easy and safe," Phoebe said. "Also, we can draw water any time we want without fear of getting dirty or fall[ing]."

The new water has provided more than just added energy and free time. They've recognized opportunities to capitalize on the easy source of water in order to improve things in their households.

"Just recently at our home, we built a new house using this water, and it was easy to access it," Phoebe said. "Secondly, I normally help my mother to water vegetables in the farm using this water."

"[In] this area, [the] majority of us like making bricks for sale, and we have been using this water to make them," Everline said. "Also, the water helps in watering our land this dry season."

With more secure housing, income sources, and food security, life in Makunga is improving every day.

Everline with some community kids at the 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 Makunga 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 Makunga 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.


Support Global Outreach
William and Blair Thompson Family
Corrigan Family Giving Fund
Bulkin Charitable Fund
5 individual donor(s)