Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 240 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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The 240 people who live in Muyala rely on the unprotected Ongong'i Spring as their primary water source. Not surprisingly, the water is contaminated, making community members sick.

The spring is hard to spot amongst the surrounding farms, and although it has sufficient water, runoff from the nearby fields flows into the spring, making the water unsafe to consume.

As a result of consuming the water, people often suffer from diarrhea and fever and end up spending their money on medical treatment and medications—even money meant for children's school fees.

"I have had [the] flu because of drinking this water without boiling [it], and even diarrhea. Last month, I went to the hospital," said 45-year-old farmer Roseline Afula, shown above carrying water from the spring.

Not only is its water open to contamination, but the spring itself is difficult to access. It is tucked into a grassy crevice between fields, and people must bend down to scoop water up to collect it. But when the water is stirred up, it becomes cloudy, and people must wait for the water to settle again before fetching more.

"Getting water here is time-consuming. I fell into [the] water with [my] school uniform, and it forced me to skip school," said 17-year-old Kevin M. (shown below).

The proposed spring protection should help ease community members' struggle, making it easier for them to collect safe water without consuming their time or making them ill.

The Proposed Solution, Determined Together...

At The Water Project, everyone has a part in conversations and solutions. We operate in transparency, believing it benefits everyone. We expect reliability from one another as well as our water solutions. Everyone involved makes this possible through hard work and dedication.

In a joint discovery process, community members determine their most advantageous water solution alongside our technical experts. Read more specifics about this solution on the What We're Building tab of this project page. Then, community members lend their support by collecting needed construction materials (sometimes for months ahead of time!), providing labor alongside our artisans, sheltering and feeding the builders, and supplying additional resources.

Water Access for Everyone

This water project is one piece in a large puzzle. In Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Uganda, we're working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources that guarantee public access now and in the future within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. One day, we hope to report that this has been achieved!

Training on Health, Hygiene & More

With the community's input, we've identified topics where training will increase positive health outcomes at personal, household, and community levels. We'll coordinate with them to find the best training date. Some examples of what we train communities on are:

  • Improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits
  • Safe water handling, storage & treatment
  • Disease prevention and proper handwashing
  • Income-generation
  • Community leadership, governance, & election of a water committee
  • Operation and maintenance of the water point

Chlorine Dispensers

Installing chlorine dispensers is an important piece of our spring protection projects. Protecting a spring provides community members with an improved water source, but it doesn’t prevent contamination once the water is collected and stored. For example, if the water is clean and the container is dirty, the water will become contaminated.

We ensure that each chlorine dispenser is filled with diluted chlorine on a consistent schedule so that people can add pre-measured drops to each container of water they collect. That way, community members can feel even more confident in the quality of their water.

Project Updates

May, 2024: Muyala Community Spring Protection Complete!

Muyala Community now has access to clean water! Thanks to your donation, we transformed their spring into a flowing source of naturally filtered water. We also installed a chlorine dispenser to provide added protection and trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these components will unlock the opportunity for community members to live better, healthier lives.

Community celebrating the newly protected spring!

"This waterpoint will act as a conflict resolution since community members have been fighting for a long time while collecting water due to inadequate accessibility. It will reduce unhealthy issues and improve our economy at large. There will be no time wastage at all. [The] flow rate [has] increased after protection, [so] I will spend minimal time fetching water, thus allowing me to have ample time to do my chores at home. My children, who are students, will use minimal time fetching water, giving them ample time to study which will improve their academic performance at school," shared Roselyn Osundwa, the 47-year-old chairperson of the water user committee.


"[The spring] will help me get income. Being able to easily access water will help me generate an income by planting vegetables throughout the year, which I will sell and earn money from. It will bring [a] difference in their (her children's) lives because they will be able to have enough time to go and play with other kids, which will improve their social status. It will also give them ample time to study," continued Roselyn.

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

"Being a pupil, I see myself creating ample time for my school work. This will help me improve my academic performance. Before [the] installation of this waterpoint, I wasted valuable time getting water. [Now] I [can] wash my clothes frequently and bathe at least twice a day. My parents will utilize this water by planting vegetables, so they can sell them and pay my school fees on time," said 11-year-old George.


When asked how the waterpoint will impact his life, George said, "It will impact my learning at school because I will be at school on time, thus improving my performance. It will also help me create a strong relationship with my teachers because I will be much [more] available to my teachers. My teachers will be able to have time to teach me because I will be much [more] available at school because this waterpoint will reduce unhealthy issues which made me [be] absent at school."

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 have to carry most items by hand, the material-collection process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.

Community members gathering materials.

When the community was ready, we sent a truck 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, 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, which prevents cross-contamination.

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 would not be able to access the water easily. We embedded the pipe using clay (or mortar when the 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 close all other exits to force water through only the discharge pipe.

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 thick plastic 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. 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 planting grass.

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.

Community members at 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.

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 families and friends.

When the day arrived, facilitators Mercy, Joyce, Jacqueline, Adelaide, Faith, and Joy deployed to the site to lead the event. 11 people attended the training, including seven women and four men.

Training session.

We covered several topics, including community participation in the project; leadership and governance; personal, dental, and environmental hygiene; water handling and treatment; spring maintenance; the importance of primary health care and disease prevention; family planning; soapmaking; how to make and use handwashing stations; and the ten steps of handwashing.

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.

Field officer Mercy Wamalwa said that site management, the operation and maintenance of the waterpoint, were crucial topics.  "This topic was vital as [it] would determine the longevity of the protected spring. Facilitators were able to name various parts of the spring and their functions. The group was shown how to handle all parts of the spring. [We] also [were] able to teach on when and how to properly clean the spring. The topic was [very] engaging as all participants posed a question. Their enthusiasm was detected from how they listened intently and with eagerness to get more information for the betterment of their lives."


When asked the most interesting topic for him, 28-year-old Mohamed Shikuku responded, "The facilitator was able to train [us] on health promotion, as this would be the main activity of the water user committee, alongside keeping a lookout for any issues in the spring that need attention in terms of cleanliness and promoting good health and proper hygiene in the community. In this session, the facilitator had [us] answer questions, mostly [about our] daily activities, concerning personal and environmental health and hygiene. With the help of demonstrations, the group was educated on [the] proper methods of dental [hygiene] and handwashing. The facilitator demonstrated [to us] how to brush [our] teeth. The majority [of us] were mesmerized because it was a new style. [The] facilitator encouraged [us] to adopt the new style, to keep [our] teeth strong and healthy."


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members. 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 and there is guaranteed public access in the future. 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 Kenya, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, we’re working toward complete coverage. That means 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!

March, 2024: Muyala Community Spring Protection Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Muyala Community costs people time, energy, and health every single day. Clean water scarcity contributes to community instability and diminishes individuals’ personal progress.

But thanks to your recent generosity, things will soon improve here. We are now working to install a reliable water point and improve hygiene standards. We look forward to sharing inspiring news in the near future!

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!


Andreas Bday Campaign for Clean Water
12 individual donor(s)