Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 185 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/08/2024

Project Features

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Our field officers reported seeing algae, dead leaves, and animal waste floating in the water used by Kafusi's 185 people every day. The water itself looks milky and semi-opaque. It's no wonder that drinking the water has infested every household with cases of typhoid and chronic diarrhea.

"As a beneficiary of this spring, the water situation has affected me," said 44-year-old businesswoman Rose Mulongo (in the photo below), who sells eggs to local schools to earn her living. "I am always suffering from diarrhea. [The] first time, I thought that it was food poisoning. [I've come] to discover, after spending a lot of money on medication, [that] it was water from this source."

But it's not only ingesting the water that poses risks. To collect water, community members must balance on some rocks at the spring's mouth and scoop up jugs of water to pour into their jerrycans. The slippery algae and precarious position have caused injuries, especially among children and the community's elders.

"I fear going to the water source because there [was] a day I stepped in the water with bare feet and something bit my feet," said 10-year-old Peace M, shown collecting water in the below photo. "From that time, I have felt a lot of pain on my left leg, and whenever I go to the hospital, they tell me that they can't see the problem."

This water collection method also eats up a lot of time that could be funneled into more productive tasks. Community members queue up at peak water collection times to wait for their turn to fetch water. When fetching water takes a long time, community members gather less of it, which means they do less cooking, cleaning, and drinking overall.

Increased [water] collection time has also been shown to negatively affect the educational success of students, who report being late to school, lack of morale and ability to focus and fatigue due to their water collection responsibilities. - Policy Futures in Education journal

With better health, less toil, and more time, the community members of Kafusi will be better equipped to overcome obstacles.

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

February, 2023: Kafusi Community Spring Protection Complete!

Kafusi Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Mamboleo 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.

40-year-old businesswoman Jane Kataka is looking forward to lessening her medical expenses. "Earlier on, this spring was unprotected and was under contamination, but with newly protected spring, it is saving me from getting waterborne diseases, and also [the] cost of going frequently to the chemist or hospital is going to stop," she said.

Jane rinses her hands at the new spring.

Jane added: "I will start a vegetable garden that will majorly use water from the spring to sprinkle (water) [my] vegetables, especially during [the] dry season, and this would help me earn a living from the sale of the vegetables."

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

"Safe water is considered as clean and clear, thus [I] am free from waterborne diseases, and this will keep me healthy," said 12-year-old Collins B. "And [the fear] of dangerous animals like crabs and snails that may [have caused] harm to me is gone."

Collins, right, raises a glass of water with another boy from his community.

"This [spring] will help me have enough time to study, time to assist [my] parents with household chores, and enough time to play with my friends during my free time," Collins concluded.

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.

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 Rose and Nelly deployed to the site to lead the event. 17 people attended the training, including nine females and eight males.

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.

Participants were most interested to learn about dental hygiene. Our facilitators asked the lactating mothers in attendance whether they clean their infants' teeth, which the participants had never learned about. The facilitator explained that parents could brush their babies' teeth after each meal and also wipe the baby's tongue with a clean cloth or gauze to help with oral hygiene and cavity prevention. The mothers were so surprised to learn that good dental hygiene practices start so early in life.

A participant demonstrates oral hygiene.

"The training was important to me because I had learned new hygiene techniques, and this would help in keeping my environment as clean as possible," said 49-year-old farmer Emily Saulo, who was elected to be the vice-chairperson of the new water user committee. "I also learned about soap-making, which [will] impact my financial growth after practicing it at home."

Emily with a glass of water at the spring.


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!

January, 2023: Kafusi Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Kafusi 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!

Positive Impacts for 9-Year-Old Brison!

April, 2024

Your generous donation helped the Kafusi Community in Kenya access clean water a year ago, creating a life-changing moment for Brison. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kafusi 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!

Brison, 9, recalled what life was like in the Kafusi Community before his community's spring was protected last year.

"It was so hard and risky for kids like me. We were not trusted to fetch water for drinking then. Whenever we came for water here, it was mainly meant for washing clothes [and] utensils or for taking baths. I used to hate coming for water here, but it was inevitable because it was the only water source available here," Brison shared with our field officer.

Collecting water is now much safer and less tedious for Brison and the other community members in Kafusi.

"Now it is very easy to draw water as opposed to before. This has made me love coming for water anytime I feel it, without being forced like before. I can make several trips to the waterpoint to collect water for general chores without any worries from my parents. The waterpoint has impacted me positively, as I no longer miss going to school because of waterborne ailments," he continued.

Having ready access to water from the spring has made a difference for Brison, allowing him to be more carefree. He no longer suffers from water-related ailments, giving him back his health and time.

"I used to get sick most often [when] water [was] drawn from this waterpoint, but since implementation, I rarely get sick," Brison concluded.

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 Kafusi 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 Kafusi 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.


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