Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 400 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/08/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

The water of Mukachelelwa Spring is making Muhoni Community's 400 people sick.

The spring is open to all sorts of contamination and not safe for drinking. Community members complain of coughs, skin rashes, and other water-related diseases like typhoid and cholera.

When we asked 58-year-old farmer Florence Mukachelelwa (shown above) how the water situation affects her, she said, "This water point has caused some harm to my grandchild's health. She is always on typhoid medication which is very expensive. It's hard to follow up on a child to ensure that she drinks only the boiled water. Whenever she takes water from this water point at the neighbour's house, she falls sick."

Some 842,000 people are estimated to die each year from diarrhea as a result of unsafe drinking-water, sanitation and hand hygiene. - WHO

But, believe it or not, illness from drinking the contaminated water is not Muhoni's only water issue. Simply accessing the spring is a real challenge.

The environment around the spring is very wet and slippery because water seeps from several different spots. Steep slopes on two sides of the spring make navigating difficult, especially with heavy, full containers of water, which inevitably leads to accidents. Once they safely make it down the hill collecting water still requires stepping into the spring, bending over, and placing a jug into the water under an improvised spout made from a plastic jug.

"Fetching water is one of the hardest tasks for me. Accessing the spring, collecting the water, then getting out of the spring is not easy for me. I prefer that my mum sends me to fetch firewood from the forest than go fetch water," said 11-year-old Esther collecting water in the photo above.

A protected spring will not only provide Muhoni's people with safe drinking water but also make a time-consuming, risky chore into an easier task they can do at any time.

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: Muhoni Community Spring Protection Complete!

Muhoni Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Mukachelewa 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.

"[The] protection of the spring will allow for [the] collection of clean, safe water at all times, thus [there will be] a reduction in infections such as cholera and typhoid. Much time will be created for other activities that will help better our lives [and] people will now engage in income-generating activities," said 60-year-old farmer Florence Mukachelelwa.

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

"Having been a victim [of] typhoid infection, I now have an opportunity to redeem my health due to access to clean, safe water. Now, I can access the spring much faster, get water in the shortest time possible to wash my clothes, and bathe at least twice a day. I will also have ample time for my school home assignments." said 12-year-old Sharlyne L.

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.

The village elder gave a speech thanking everyone for taking part in the journey and concluded with a word of prayer. Then, our field officers, artisans, and the community members shared a meal together.

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 Sam deployed to the site to lead the event. 18 people attended the training, including 17 women and one man. We held the training 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.

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 was the favorite topic of the day. The session was engaging for participants as they learned what reagents and steps were needed to make soap and each took turns stirring. At the end of the session, they requested the soap-making directions, which the facilitator was happy to share.

"Good hygiene and sanitation is key for better living. A community that does not observe hygiene standards is doomed. Today, we have been reminded [about] how to keep our hygiene levels at par. If we go by the information gathered here today, we will raise healthy people in the years to come," said 69-year-old businessman and chairman of the water user committee chairman Wanyama Mukachelelwa.


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!

December, 2022: Muhoni Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Muhoni 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: "I no longer worry about water."

March, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Muhoni 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!

Farmer Florence Mukachelelwa, 61, recalled what life was like in the Muhoni Community before her community's spring was protected last year.

"Ever since I married in this community, morning hours [were] never good for me, especially during school days. The thought of carrying jerrycans to fetch water really disturbed me. This [is] because accessing water [in] the spring was hectic, time-consuming, and risky. We had no clear path directing one to the collection point; this was disadvantageous to the community members. The catchment area was exposed to contaminants, meaning [the] water collected was not safe for use. We did also waste a lot of time fetching water; discharge was low as much water had diverted from the improvised pipe," Florence shared.

Collecting water is now much less dangerous and tedious for Florence and the other community members in the Muhoni Community.

"Clean, safe water is a basic human need; every household and community is entitled to it. We are enjoying access to clean, safe, [and] sufficient water. The spring is accessible to all age groups with minimal difficulties. Nowadays, we no longer worry about overcrowding as the discharge rate has drastically improved. [The] time to fill a 20-litter jerrycan is 45 seconds," she continued.

Having ready access to water from the spring has made a difference for Florence, allowing her to be at ease. She no longer hangs on to the anxiety that her water will make her ill. She can properly care for her livestock, which will give her a better output and help her provide for herself and her family.

"I no longer worry about water. It is safe for drinking. Cases of infections related to water [are] now a thing of the past. My body feels strong and healthy, allowing me [to] create ample time [to] look after my dairy cows and poultry," Florence 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 Muhoni 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 Muhoni 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.


Project Sponsor - Da Bomb Bath Fizzers