Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 105 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/08/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Joshua Makavila Spring is open to contamination and constantly overcrowded. This leaves the 105 residents of Masukutse sick and without time to devote to better tasks, like farming, cleaning, or even homework.

Fetching the water from the spring is a painstaking and tedious process. Whatever containers the community members use have to be kept up close to the surface, or else the muck from the bottom will get stirred up. If they don't take this precaution, their jerrycans will be full of brown water that won't clear no matter how many times it's sieved.

But in the morning and evening, when everyone is finally done with work or school, people are rushed by others waiting to take their turns.

"When I come home from school, I find a big crowd at the spring," said 12-year-old Joan M. Because she has to wait in long lines, Joan explained that she doesn't get to do her homework until very late at night when she would rather be sleeping.

"We use a lot of money to treat waterborne diseases like diarrhea, stomachache, and typhoid," said 73-year-old Joshua Makavila, the owner of the land the spring sits on and, therefore, the spring's namesake. "If you can't afford medication, you just die."

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

June, 2022: Masukutse Community Spring Protection Complete!

Masukutse Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Joshua Makavila 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.

Happy community members!

Farmer Alice Siranjero, 48, said, "Access to clean and safe water has positively impacted me in a great way in that my children are no longer absent from school due to dirty uniforms or sickness caused by unsafe water. I can fetch water for other people in return for money thus getting a living."

Alice collecting water.

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

"Access to clean water has drastically improved my life in that I can wash clothes at least twice a week, and bathe daily. It will also reduce the cost of seeking medication which will aid my parents in doing development projects," said Joan V., 14. "As a child and a star in my school, my focus will be concentrating on studies and ensuring my star shines."

Joan collects water with a big smile.

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 preparing construction materials.

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.


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.

Setting the discharge pipe.

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.

Community children help collect large stones to backfill 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.

Each community member transplanted grass as a sign of togetherness 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 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 our field officers to fetch water.

The completed spring.

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 were very excited and happy to see their new water source well protected. The elected officials gathered around the waterpoint with community members saying prayers for love and peace in the community.

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 Victor Musemi and Jonathan Mutai deployed to the site to lead the event. 29 people attended the training, including 19 women and 10 men. We held the training outside a community members home near the spring.

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.

The elected water committee.

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.

Learning the process of making soap was a highlight for participants. They witnessed the process with much excitement finding it difficult to imagine that soap can be manufactured locally using just reagents and water. During the mixing the majority of women participated and decided to form a group which will help the community make soap and sell it at an affordable price to empower themselves.

Isaac at the spring.

Farmer Isaac Martin, 20, shared, "The training has really added value to me. I have learned matters concerning hygiene and sanitation which are key important aspects of life. [The] soap making process is also an important aspect in life. I can also train others and be a good ambassador to others."


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our partners, 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 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. We have an ongoing commitment to walk with each community, cooperatively problem-solving when they face challenges of any kind: with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. With all these components together, we strive to ensure 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!

April, 2022: Masukutse Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Masukutse 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: "The water point has impacted my life positively."

August, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Masukutse 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!

Morgan W., 17, recalled what life was like in Masukutse Community before his community’s spring was protected last year.

"The water point was open to contamination. Sometimes we could find a cat or a dog swimming inside the water point, which was so discouraging but we had to [use it] since there was no other water point," said Morgan.

But life is much more encouraging for Morgan and the other community members in Masukutse Community now.

"The water point has impacted my life positively. This is because I am now using [a] few seconds to fetch water, unlike before. Lastly, the water is safe and clean for human consumption," Morgan said.

Having ready access to water from the protected spring has made a difference for Morgan, allowing him quickly collect all of the safe water he needs to meet his daily needs so he has time for other things.

"The water point has helped me achieve in my studies since I am no longer wasting a lot of time at the water point. The time [I] recovered has made me to see my dreams coming to reality. Thank you for the awesome work done in this community," concluded Morgan.

Thank you for helping Morgan access clean water and make his future brighter.

Right now, there are others just like him 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.

TWP staff member, Morgan and Elizabet, a fellow community member at 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 Masukutse 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 Masukutse 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.


Water For All
2 individual donor(s)