Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/04/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

All 300 community members of Misimo, along with a local church and a primary school, use the water from Daniel Mukangai Spring. With no other water source nearby, a lot of people rely on this one.

Unfortunately, despite the spring's popularity, its water is open and contaminated by humans, animals, and water plants. Drinking it has exposed Misimo's people to an endless stream of water-related illnesses, affecting the oldest and youngest people the most.

"I have been at risk of contracting waterborne diseases due to the poor condition of this water point, being unprotected," said 64-year-old farmer Mary Mukangai (shown above fetching water). "Two months ago, I contracted a bad flu that was a result of consuming water from this water point. This flu was severe, such that I couldn't get to continue with my day-to-day activities such as farming for a week."

Mary's 18-year-old granddaughter, Salome A. (shown below), had a similar experience. "Just like my grandmother, I also fell ill from a very bad flu," Salome said. "The latest time that I fell sick was the same time as my grandmother where she had consumed contaminated water from this unprotected spring. During this time, I couldn't go to school, which affected my studies such that I lagged behind as compared to my classmates."

With so many hundreds of people relying on this contaminated spring, waterborne diseases are a common complaint, but the most common are typhoid and the flu-like illness Mary and Salome mentioned.

Once the spring is protected, illnesses in Misimo will decrease and people will have more time and energy for the things that matter.

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 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. 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

January, 2023: Misimo Community Spring Protection Complete!

Misimo Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Daniel Mukangai 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.

"I will be free from diseases. The money spent in the hospital treating [illnesses] can now be used to buy farm inputs, which will benefit me economically. I will also no longer struggle to fetch water using a jug since I will directly fetch [it] from the pipe," said 64-year-old farmer Mary Mukangai.

Mary collecting water.

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

"I'm really happy since I can now fetch water directly from the pipe without falling into the water since the spring is now protected. I will have enough time to study and do my homework since I no longer queue at the spring point to access water," said 12-year-old Elizabeth G.

Elizabeth at the spring.

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.

Children from the community collect building 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. Children in the community were constant companions and helpers to the artisans throughout the project. 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.

Community members help with excavation.

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.

Children were a constant help to the artisans throughout the project.

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.

Perhaps this boy may become a future artisan.

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.

Placing stones for the rub wall.

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.

Placing the tiles under the water spout.

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.

Installing fencing.

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.

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 celebrating.

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, facilitator Joel deployed to the site to lead the event. 12 people attended the training, including nine women and three men. We held the training outside one of the participant's homes.

Learning proper dental hygiene practices.

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.

Solar water disinfection session.

Participants were excited to take part in the session where they learned about solar water disinfection. With the tough economic times, they were thrilled to learn there is a cost-effective way to treat their water to make it safer before consuming it.

Community members also enjoyed the training session on how to make their own soap. Many of the participants were surprised to learn that they have the tools easily accessible at home or in the local market (a basin, a cooking stick, and soap ingredients) and look forward to implementing the newly learned skill in the future, so they no longer have to buy soap.

Soapmaking training session.

"The training has enabled me to learn and acquire more skills in hygiene and sanitation. I also have learned how the spring can be well maintained," said Mary Mukungai, 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!

November, 2022: Misimo Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Misimo 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: Positive Impacts and a Brighter Future!

March, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Misimo 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!

Salome, 16, recalled what life was like in the Misimo Community before her community's spring was protected last year.

"The situation here was very pathetic. I could not see life in this water source. Each morning, I had to wake up very early to fetch water before other people. This was due to congestion that made me be in this state so that I would avoid fetching contaminated water because people could scrum for water and make it turn its color. When they get in to fetch water, its color would turn brown. Standing in water wasn't safe for me and other people in the community because it was not proper hygiene and was not safe for health purposes," said Salome.

Collecting water is now much easier for Salome and the other community members in Misimo.

"Fetching water from this water point is no longer difficult. The access is easy. Collecting water through the pipes is enjoyable and makes work easier, which saves on time management. This water point has impacted my life in a positive way. [A] great thing I have achieved is being top ten in my class and finishing my homework. Besides that, my class teachers have appreciated me for improving hygiene," said Salome.

Having ready access to water from the spring has made a difference for Salome, allowing her time to work on her dreams for a brighter future.

"This water point has really enabled me to get more time on studies. Through this, my greatest aim is to ensure that I succeed and fulfill my dream of being a nurse and help others within the community," said Salome.

Salome fetching water from the protected spring.

Right now, there are others 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 Misimo 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 Misimo 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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