Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 134 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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The community of Nangurunya, consisting of 134 people, faces a constant struggle to access an adequate amount of water to meet their daily needs. Unfortunately, the water they manage to collect is often contaminated, leading to cases of typhoid and other water-related illnesses, as reported by community members.

"Daniel Musava spring is not safe for its dependents. The catchment area is exposed to contaminants, drainage [is] blocked, and [the] collection area is filthy, allowing for [the] collection of contaminated water," said our field officer Samuel Samidi.

"The catchment area being exposed to contaminants makes water unsafe for drinking. [With the] consumption of water from the source, one can contract typhoid, cholera, or other water-related infections," Samuel continued.

"With my age, I really need to take good care of my health. That entails consuming clean, safe water whenever I feel the urge. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with typhoid, [and] the journey to recovery was not a walk in the park. I sought medical attention in our local health unit. By the time I was recovering, all my personal savings had been consumed, and [I] even got into debt," said 54-year-old Erina Nekesa, shown below, collecting water from the spring.

Collecting water in the community poses risks beyond water-borne infections. To gather water, community members have to navigate slippery, muddy rocks covered in algae and lean down to submerge their containers. It is physically challenging, especially considering a full jerrycan of water can weigh up to 40 lbs. It's a tedious process that wastes people's time and energy.

"We have a challenge in [the] supply of clean, safe water. This has impacted [us] negatively in our planning as community members. Getting water for [our] use at home has affected my study time both in school and at home. On various occasions, I get to school late, and this has never been received well by my teachers. During these instances, I get punished," said 15-year-old Hannah N., seen below collecting water.

It is a struggle for the people of Nangurunya to obtain clean water, as the time-consuming process of collecting water and waiting for a turn often leads to tardiness for work or school. Lack of access to clean water causes frustration and impedes progress in daily life.

The protection of the spring will enable people like Hannah and Erina to focus on making improvements instead of wasting their resources.

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

April, 2024: Nangurunya Community Spring Protection Complete!

Nangurunya 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.

Happy for clean water!

"Clean, safe water is a basic human need. No one person should be deprived of it. For many years now, typhoid, diarrhea, and sore throat complications have been a menace in this community. My household has fallen victim [to] the infections numerous times, draining our finances. Protection of the spring guarantees us access to clean water, keeping our health safe," said Simon Indwale.

Simon at the protected spring.

"Accessibility to the spring has been eased, allowing all age groups [to] access the water point at any given time of need. [The] installation of stairs has allowed for easy accessibility. Before [the] protection of the spring, members used to get injured in the course of water collection. To access the spring, one had to maneuver through the gradual slope, and this was a challenge whenever it rained as it was steep. Installation of additional stairs has helped solve the challenge," Simon continued.

"Development in a community comes about when the members live a healthy life. Clean, safe water is one of the components that promote a healthy life. Access to clean, safe water will positively impact members' lives encouraging growth. Living a healthy life will allow me [to] put much focus on developing myself financially. When financially stable, I will be able to consider [a] good education for my children and grandchildren. [With their] health not being compromised, my children and grandchildren will be able to have time for class and also to play," concluded Simon.

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

"Our household hygiene standards will improve. My mother used to spend a lot of time fetching water when we were at school, compromising house chores. She will now be able to do her house chores more frequently, like cleaning the house, clothes, and utensils, due to [the] availability of water. She will also be able to have ample time to tend to her farm, that has been her source of income," said 12-year-old Salome.


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.

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.

Beginning the brickwork.

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.

Setting the discharge pipe.

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.

Backfilling the reservoir box.

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 planted grass and helped build the fence.

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.

Celebrating clean water.

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 Amos, Mitchell, and Dorcas deployed to the site to lead the event. Seventeen people attended the training, including nine women and eight men.

The soapmaking 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.

A favorite session was the ten proper steps of handwashing.

Learning proper handwashing techniques.

"Simon, a participant in the training, felt that the steps took too long and that by the time one completes the steps, food will have gotten cold. This raised a debate amongst the participants, with some backing Simon while others in disagreement with his opinion. The facilitator explained to the participants that clean hands were a determinant of one's health and that if ignored, one was likely to compromise his or her health. It was unanimously agreed that the ten steps were critical and should be adopted to promote healthy living," said Field Officer Rachael Obura.


"The training has been enriching. We have gathered a lot of information that relates to hygiene and sanitation standards. We have been reminded that health standards dictate the level of growth and development in a community. As a community, we are still lagging behind when it comes to development. Adoption of all the positive information we have gathered in the training will allow us [to] improve ourselves and the entire community. We promise to disseminate all we have learned to members who never managed to attend the training," said Simon Mmula, chairman of the water user committee (mentioned above).


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!

February, 2024: Nangurunya Community Spring Protection Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Nangurunya 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!


Maycie 's Campaign for Water
7 individual donor(s)