Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 140 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/11/2024

Project Features

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Because the 140 members of Lukala A couldn't afford to pay an artisan to protect their spring for them, they attempted to do it themselves. The end result is a spring with a slow discharge rate (which leads to overcrowding) and, more importantly, illnesses such as diarrhea and typhoid.

Tova Spring sits at the bottom of a slope, which means runoff from the homesteads at the top of the hill — as well as from animal pens and latrines — collects in the poorly constructed spring box. Drinking this water leaves the community members without energy or money to better themselves or their community.

"I have waited for years to see any well-wisher who has the ability to help us protect our spring," said Josephine Ayeko, a 32-year-old housewife (pictured below outside her homestead). "A lot of property has been sold to pay hospital bills after people have used water from this spring."

The water crisis has long-term implications for Lukala A's children: they miss class time while fetching water and becoming sick from drinking it.

"I have not been able to attend school sometimes. [When this happens,] most of the time I need to go for [a] check-up," said Marion K., a 16-year-old student (pictured below). "This has really affected me academically. It's my prayer that our spring will be protected for us to have clean water, which will enable me to be at school throughout."

Thankfully, Lukala A has a strong sense of community. Those people who are more financially secure in the village often aid others who are in need. With clean water, everyone in Lukala A will get a hand up.

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: Lukala Community Spring Protection Complete!

Lukala Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Tova 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.

"From what I have seen, [I] am a hundred percent sure that all routes of contamination are blocked and my life is no longer in danger because I have clean and safer water throughout," said 50-year-old farmer Arnoda Salano. "Since [I] am the one close to the water point, I will be at peace. In the past, there was a lot of dispute at [the] crowded water point, and everyone wanted to draw water first."

Arnoda at the spring.

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

"It has become so easy for me to get water. Before it was protected, a lot of time was wasted queueing since there was some leakage that reduced the discharge speed," said 17-year-old Sheila K. "Since there will be no queuing at [the] spring, I will be able to assist my parents [to] do other chores at home."

Sheila collecting 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.

Backfilling with stones.

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 members 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.

Our field officers handed the water point over to the water users and some local officials while a large number of community members sang praise songs. Everyone promised to put into practice everything they had learned.

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 Betty Muhongo and Jemmimah Khasoha deployed to the site to lead the event. 34 people attended the training, including 20 women and 14 men. We held the training at the home of Julius Opiri, the water user secretary.

Participants receive training materials.

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 session on soapmaking.

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.

Maintenance and management of the spring session.

The maintenance and management of the spring was an interesting topic for participants.  They learned what should and should not be done at the water point. They all agreed that no one will wash clothes, bathe, or bring their animals near the water point. As a group, they determined that anyone who breaks the rules will have to pay a fine. They also came up with a duty roster for each household to be in charge of cleaning the water point one week at a time.

Participants hold a discussion.

Another more sensitive topic of discussion was domestic violence. Most families struggle with disagreements at times, but when trainers discovered that a young mother was recently killed by her husband due to domestic violence in the community, they thought it prudent to cover the topic.

At the end of the session, everyone agreed that the decision is up to the individual being abused because he or she is the only one that knows what is truly happening. But the group also concluded that people should not have to worry about violence from their partners and that relationships where people love and care for one another are important.

"I have learned a lot during the training. The issue of domestic violence has made me live in fear," shared 56-year-old farmer and treasurer of the water committee Sophia Maikuba.

"My husband is a drunkard, so there is no way you can discuss anything with him. He is always right. I have also learned that there is no need to [engage] with him because these are end times, just as the Bible says in Ephesians 5:16. We should live like wise people. When the situation is not favorable, it's better to look for an alternative for safety."


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!

July, 2022: Lukala Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Lukala 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: "We are now sure of drinking clean water..."

August, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Lukala Community 4.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Lukala Community 4 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!

Brigid, 13, recalled what life was like in Lukala Community before her community’s spring was protected last year.

"The water point was not well constructed, with water spread all over the spring, making the place dirty and muddy," said Brigid.

But life is much better for Brigid and the other community members in Lukala Community now.

"We are now sure of drinking clean water because the place is clean and neat. Also, we no longer take more time at the water point than before," Brigid said.

Having ready access to water from the protected spring has made a difference for Brigid, allowing her to trust the water she is consuming and gain time for other important tasks.

"Getting water has been easy and faster than before, which helps me have [a] good time assisting my parents at home with domestic chores," concluded Brigid.

Thank you for helping Brigid access clean water and have the water and time to help her parents improve their daily lives.

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.


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 Lukala Community 4 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 Lukala Community 4 – 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.