Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 230 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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The Muhoni Community, comprising 230 members, struggles to access sufficient water. Their primary water source is an unprotected spring open to pollution, putting the community's health at risk. Unfortunately, this has resulted in many waterborne diseases, leaving the community members ill and suffering needlessly.

Field Officer Christine Masinde shared her insight. "Consumption of water from this water source causes waterborne illnesses like typhoid, cholera, stomachache, and diarrhea. Malaria is also common due to stagnant water that acts as a breeding space for mosquitoes."

Farmer Juma Oloo, 74, shared how the water crisis affected him. "When it rains, all sorts of contaminants are washed into the spring, making the water more dirty. I try to sieve [the] water before I drink it, but that does not solve the problem of getting waterborne illnesses."

"Last month, I got really sick, then I took self-prescribed medicine thinking it was malaria. After taking malaria drugs, I continued to be sick until I was forced to look for money and go to the hospital. After running some tests, I was told I had typhoid caused by contaminated water. I have spent a lot of money, and I hope this water source will be prevented to save us these sicknesses and hospital bills," he continued.

Juma's life in Muhoni relies on the water from the spring, which means he has no other option but to drink the water even though it may make him ill, causing him to fear for his health and worry about his financial situation.

Besides contamination, the water point faces the issue of overcrowding. As the spring never dries up, people from different areas flock to it during the dry season. This results in long wait times and conflicts among those waiting in line.

11-year-old Christine K (pictured below) shared how the water crisis has negatively impacted her education. She dreams of having this spring protected, so she can have enough time to study to get into a better Secondary school.

"I am always tasked with making more trips to the spring because my older siblings are in high school. It is a tiresome exercise since I have to fetch water in the morning before I go to school and in the evening after school. My grades are generally very low because of [a] lack [of] enough time to study and revise. I hope this water source will be protected before I sit for my national exams to join Junior Secondary School. I believe my academic performance will improve then," Christine said.

Protecting Muhoni's spring will give Juma peace of mind knowing he drinks uncontaminated water, medical bills will no longer consume his resources, and his health will no longer be at risk. And Christine will have time to study and rest, giving her a chance at a brighter future.

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

June, 2024: Muhoni Community Spring Protection Complete!

Muhoni 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.

"[I] am very happy to see this waterpoint constructed and serving our people well. This, in itself, is a dream come true. My grandchildren have always been concerned with the kind of water I take. They always insist I should boil water before consumption. [I] am glad they will have access to clean water whenever they visit me. My grandchildren will be able to get access to safe water for drinking, cooking, animal use, and cleaning," shared 78-year-old Juma Oloo, a farmer and the chairperson of the water user committee.

Juma at the protected spring.

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

"I will be able to go and fetch water from the spring, time to time, as many rounds as I can. The spring is clean. It provides clean water and fetching will save on time. [I] am consuming clean water. I have enough time for carrying out sanitation activities at home and even have sufficient time for studies," said 13-year-old Trìzah.

Trizah, happy for clean water!

"I will create sufficient time for homework and assignments. I promised myself to perform well, compared to the last exams I did. This will be made possible through [the] availability of sufficient, clean water flowing at our spring."

"My mother is one of the happiest people I have met today after [the] completion of this waterpoint. She has easy access to clean and safe water. She will prepare meals for us using water from this waterpoint. I don't think she will have to treat [the] water or boil water like in the past."

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.

Field Officer Amos Emisiko shared, "The community participation during this period was excellent. The community members organized themselves in groups to contribute materials. One group contributed sand, another one bricks, and the other one brought stones. During the construction period, women prepared meals for artisans and community members who were helping in the construction process."

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.

Building the foundation.

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.

Backfilling with stones.

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.

The completed spring.

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.


"Women and children rushed to quench their thirst happily at the newly constructed spring. They couldn't hide their joy when they played with water praising God for the great work that was done. Mr. Juma Oloo wasn't left behind as he marched to the discharge pipe with a clear water glass to demonstrate how clean the water was. The community members sang and danced melodiously due to [the] availability of clean, and safe water in their community," said Amos.

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 Emisiko and Mildred Mboha deployed to the site to lead the event. 15 people attended the training, including 12 women and 3 men.

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.

The soapmaking session.

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] soapmaking activity, the trainer allowed the participants to fully participate in the process as she gave out instructions. One of the participants, nicknamed by the participants as "Mama Mdogo" meaning "small mother", stirred soap with a lot of energy while she was singing. This made the participants laugh aloud. She was happy and referred to herself as an ambassador of happiness, because people like her smile and perceive her as a very funny individual," shared Amos.

Water handling session.

"I enjoyed the topic on dental care. The new method of brushing teeth using water and brush before applying a bit of toothpaste was interesting. I learned that sugar that is left in the month or rather teeth after eating invites bacteria on our teeth. This facilitates [a] conducive environment for bacteria development which brings effects like tooth cavity damage and tooth decay. I learned it is important to brush our teeth and also eat healthily," said 18-year-old Jackline Juma.



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!

April, 2024: Muhoni Community Spring Protection Underway!

The lack of adequate water in the Muhoni 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!

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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!


2 individual donor(s)