Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 190 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/16/2024

Project Features

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For the 190 people who live in this area of Muting'ong'o, the Haron Amkabwa spring is their primary water source.

Our field officer Christine Masinde shared, "The beneficiaries tried to protect the spring on their own, but it was not done by an expert. The structure is in bad condition. People have to step in dirty water as they fetch water. One of the pipes came out of the headwall, and a piece of iron sheet is used as an improvised discharge pipe. The drainage is blocked too. Therefore the cleanliness of the water is not guaranteed."

The spring offers plenty of water, but it is not easy to collect, requiring community members to stand ankle-deep in water to place their collection containers under the improvised spouts. And sadly, the water people manage to collect is contaminated despite their best efforts.

Christine reported, "Consuming contaminated [water] from this spring causes diarrhea and other water-related diseases like cholera, typhoid, and dysentery."

"I used to get frequent headaches and stomachaches. At first, I didn't know that it was related to the contaminated water because I used to take painkillers to stop the pain. One day I saved some money then I went for a blood test which revealed that I had typhoid. I had to spend a lot of money on treatment. Since the issue of contaminated water has not been resolved, I still get sick from drinking dirty water," said Salome Amkabwa, shown above collecting water at the dilapidated spring.

"The partially protected spring has a lot of water, never goes dry, and it serves many people. [But] the surrounding [area] is dirty, and there is stagnant water at the drawing point where people step in it as they fetch water. There is no cut-off drainage to direct dirty water away from the spring during rainy seasons. No fence has been erected to protect the spring eye from being interfered with by animals and humans," said Christine.

"There is a time I fetched water, then as I was climbing the steep slope, I slipped and fell due to the mud after the rains. I hurt myself badly that I had to be taken to the hospital. Since water is a basic need, after recovery, I still make several trips to the spring to fetch it," said 12-year-old Marvin K., shown above collecting water.

If the spring is reconstructed, community members will be assured that they can access clean and safe water more easily every day.

What We Can Do:

Spring Reconstruction

Although the community attempted to protect this spring, it does not meet World Health Organization standards, which ensure that the water is protected from contamination and safe to access. Local expert artisans will remove the previous spring elements and correctly install new components to ensure the community’s access to clean, sufficient water.

Reconstruction by The Water Project artisans will ensure that this spring has all of the necessary components of a spring protection, which include:

  • Stairs to provide access during any season
  • Drainage channels to avert stagnant water
  • Fencing to prevent the spring box’s filtration layers from being compacted by people and animals
  • Correctly positioned discharge pipe(s) that allow(s) water-collection containers to sit beneath without human intervention
  • Cement floor with tiles that preclude structure erosion
  • Walls that channel water for proper drainage
  • A chlorine dispenser to treat water for added safety

Reconstructing 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. Reconstructing 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 training, we work closely with both community leaders and the local government. 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.

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.

Project Updates

March, 2023: Muting'ong'o Community Spring Protection Complete!

Muting'ong'o Community now has access to clean water! Thanks to your donation, we transformed Haron Amkabwa Spring into a flowing source of naturally filtered water. 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.

"Waterborne and water-related illnesses will be minimized since water is clean, and we don't have to step in the water anymore as we fetch it. Stairs have been installed for easy access by ages, including small children and the elderly," said 46-year-old Rosebella Wabongo.

Rosebella continued, "Time wasted at the water source will be converted into income-generating activities to support my children. Since my husband died two years ago, I am the sole breadwinner. Hospital bills have been lifted off my back. Food, clothing, and education for my children are now my priority."

Children were just as excited as adults about the new water point.

"I drink water without fear of getting stomach upsets because our water is very clean. Less time is spent fetching water, which has increased my playtime and study time," said 9-year-old Ibrahim M.

"Before this spring was constructed, my mum never allowed me to go to the spring alone for fear of me getting hurt while fetching water. Ever since the spring was protected, my younger siblings and I make as many trips as possible to the spring and back in the absence of our mother because it is easy and safe to access the water point."

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 into gravel. Because people must carry most items by hand, the material-collection process can take 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 around the construction site from the spring's eye. 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. Hence, 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, back pressure could force water to emerge elsewhere. Too low, and community members could not 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 all other exits to force water through the discharge pipe only.

We filled 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 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 area member of the County Assembly cut the ribbon at the entrance to officially allow people to fetch clean water. The area assistant chief, the village elder, community policing forum chairman, us, and the beneficiaries were present during the handing-over ceremony. They were all happy to see clean water flowing. To crown it all, the County Assembly member bought soda and biscuits (cookies), which were shared by the people who were present," said field officer Christine Masinde.

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 Christine, Patience, Patricia, Mildred deployed to the site to lead the event. Thirty-four people attended the training, including 21 women and 13 men. We held the training at a community member's homestead.

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.

"During the soap-making process, the participants keenly noted down the ingredients and the procedure to be followed. At the end of it all, the Member of County Assembly, Mr. Geoffrey Sikolia, gave out cash to buy soap-making ingredients and distributed it equally to the participants. He appreciated the facilitators for providing free training for the participants and urged them to adopt what they had been taught to improve their health and for economic growth," shared field officer Christine.

"This training will transform our lives positively since we have been empowered economically and healthwise. I believe if we put into practice what we have been taught, we will spend less money on hygiene-related diseases," said Rosebella, who was 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!

January, 2023: Muting'ong'o Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Muting'ong'o 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!


Project Sponsor - Breakthrough Church