Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 435 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Community Profile

The 435 community members that live in Singong'o daily face the challenge of fetching unsafe water from an unprotected spring that is dangerous to access.

Field Officer Rachael Dorcas shared her experience in the community. "This water point is [an] unprotected source; this has made the water open for contamination from surface runoff. The water point is on a very steep slope which has affected accessibility. The fetching area is also not friendly due to poor accessibility due to [the] lack of stairs and other helping factors to access water easily."

Rachael continued, "Construction of [a] protected spring will enhance easy accessibility through [the] construction of stairs. The protection will also improve the quality of water through controlling surface runoff by [the] construction of [a] drainage channel."

Because the unprotected spring is very difficult to access, it reduces many community members' independence.

“It takes me a lot of time to come here and collect water. [I] am glad my grandchildren help me collect water. When they get to school, I have to come and collect water [alone]. The slope always makes me feel lazy. The accessibility at the access area is also a problem because there was a day [I] nearly got injured,” said farmer Samson Anusu, pictured below carrying water.

Attempting to navigate the spring is exhausting for children and adults alike. They must make many tiresome trips to collect water which steals their time and energy from other crucial activities.

“Accessing water is a challenge; the slope is very steep, not allowing me [to] collect water more than three rounds. The spring is also bushy, [and] looks scary, meaning I can not come here alone for fear of my security,” shared 12-year-old Lowdrick K., shown below.

However, navigating the treacherous slope isn’t the only safety hazard the Singong’o Community faces.

“Cases of stomach aches have been on the rise. They have been advised to treat drinking water before consumption. It's been noted that poor agricultural activities upspring [and the] mixing of stormwater with drinking water could be a reason for the health challenge,” continued Field Officer Rachael. Pictured below is a "waste pit' upstream from the spring.

Contaminated water contributes to water-related illnesses. When families are forced to use hard-earned income on hospital visits or medication, they stay stuck in a cycle of poverty, unable to get ahead. Combine that with wasting time waiting in line at a congested, unsafe spring instead of farming or selling their products at the market, and life in Singongo can be excruciating.

Their spring must be protected to resolve the water crisis in Singong’o Community. When this happens, people like Samson will regain their independence because the spring will be easier to access. And children like Lowdrick will no longer fear what lies in the bush around the spring because that will all be removed. Clean water for all will bring the community a sense of freedom and peace.

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

March, 2024: Singong'o Community Spring Protection Complete!

Singong'o 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.

Celebrating clean water!

"My children will benefit immensely from the completion of this project. Their hygiene standards will greatly improve. My last-born daughter is in Junior Secondary School, and this water point is such a blessing to her. She doesn't have to walk a long distance to look for water. This water point will help her save time and energy to concentrate on her studies, and I believe that she will be able to do well in school. She dreams of becoming a doctor in the future. This project is a godsend to her, our family, and the entire village," said 44-year-old Chairperson of the Water User Committee and farmer Evans Inyangula.

"I grew up using water from the unprotected spring, and we always had health challenges because it was dirty. Accessibility was also a big issue. My children are now able to avoid these risks because water is now easily accessible," concluded Evans.

Evans drinks clean water.

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

"Initially, fetching water from the unprotected spring was quite problematic, especially on rainy days because it was too slippery to descend to the scoop hole. The water wasn't good because it had [a] bad taste and odor. Now, we have stairs which make the place easily accessible. I don't have to worry about falling while carrying water from this water point. The water is safe for drinking, and the awful smell is now a thing of the past," said 14-year-old Prudence.

"My aging parents will greatly benefit from this water point. The availability of clean and safe water will help them maintain high hygiene standards [and] save time for other activities like farming or rearing domestic animals. [The] money that would have been spent on treatment of ailments related to unclean water can now be saved or utilized in income-generating activities," Prudence continued.

Prudence collecting clean water.

"I'm certain that my learning will no longer be disrupted by thoughts of walking a long distance to get water, either before or after school. I can now concentrate on my studies, and I'm sure my grades will also improve because I'll have more time to do my school assignments and revise for exams. I no longer have to worry about being absent from school due to infections caused by unclean water," Prudence concluded.

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 construction.

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.

Crafting the walls.

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.

Backfilling the spring.

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.

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.

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.

"I feel hopeful. Members of this community were so appreciative and promised to take good care of the project," said Field Officer Daniel Mwanzia.

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 Rachael Dorcas and Daniel Mwanzia deployed to the site to lead the event. 22 people attended the training, including 14 women and 8 men. We held the training near the spring.

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.


"Participants were so enthusiastic and eager to learn. They were so excited, and this could be depicted by their smiles, laughs, and responses to questions about how they engage in hygiene activities. At the end of the training, they pledged not only to observe all the practices as highlighted but also to spread the same information to other members of the community who were not in the training," said field officer Daniel (quoted earlier).

A participant sharing teaching posters.

"I believe this training will go a long way in boosting hygiene standards in my community. If only we can observe all the guidelines we have been given, then some infections will be a thing of the past," said participant Marko Imbayi.


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: Singong'o Community Spring Protection Underway!

The lack of adequate water in Singong'o 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!


1 individual donor(s)