Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 200 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2024

Functionality Status:  Functional

Project Features

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Community Profile

The community of Lusumu, comprised of 200 individuals, is currently confronting the obstacle of their sole water source, an unprotected spring being unreliable.

Field Officer Mildred Mboha shared, "There is an issue of reliability with the water point. Someone may need water at a particular time, but when reaching the water point, he or she might find that the water is in a dirty state or people are crowded, forcing [them] to wait for it to settle or go home without the water."

Being forced to go without water is frustrating. Yet, collecting water in this community can be just as difficult. The water is polluted, and there are long lines, so people go to collect water at odd hours, risking their safety traveling alone.

"I fetch water very early in the morning, at around 5:30 am, because I want to get clean water before anyone [else] comes to fetch, meaning also that I have to forgo my sleep. This sometimes [puts] my life at risk, especially when people plant sugarcane, and it happens that the sugarcane has grown, so I have to pass near the plantation. There is limited water for house chores because I only manage to go for [a] few trips, so there is [a] restriction on the fetched water at home," shared 16-year-old Agnes R., shown below.

Risking her life for unclean water makes life in Lusuma Community disheartening for Agnes.

Farmer Moses Mulunda (pictured below) can commiserate. He shared, "When the water becomes cloudy, sometimes it is unsafe for consumption or even use. When we drink the water, we cough, making us usually doubt the water we use and [wish] it could be made better and [more] convenient."

Field Officer Mildred continued, "People tend to suffer from waterborne diseases, especially when it rains because the stormwater makes its way to the water point. [As] a result, people spend a lot of money treating such diseases."

Protecting the spring will enable people like Agnes to no longer worry about long lines, removing the need for her to travel at unsafe times. Then she can use her time more effectively, dreaming of a bright future. And Moses will no longer worry about becoming ill by consuming the water and will have the health and energy to focus on other essential things.

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: Lusumu Community Spring Protection Complete!

Lusumu 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.

"Access to water is essential for my family to pursue our future aspirations. Having clean and safe water readily available will enhance our health and well-being, allowing us to pursue our goals with renewed vigor. Moreover, it will relieve our children of the burden of water-related illnesses and the time-consuming task of fetching water from distant sources, enabling them to focus on their education. This will create opportunities for them to excel academically and pursue their dreams. Access to water means regular attendance, hydration, and improved concentration on their studies, empowering them to achieve their aspirations and make positive contributions to society," shared 73-year-old farmer Moses Mulunda, the chairman of the water user committee.

Moses fetching water.

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

"The dependable water source will enhance my health, as it is now fully protected from contamination. Previously, relying solely on a chlorine dispenser left it vulnerable, but now, it is secure and free from impurities. Improved hygiene will be achievable, as I can bring ample water for household tasks, ensuring cleanliness in both school and home attire. With the assurance of reliable water, I can better manage my time, allocating it efficiently for studying, recreation, water collection, and household chores," said 10-year-old Isaac.

Isaac (right).

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.

Laying 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.

Setting the discharge pipe.

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.

Plastering 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.

Setting the tiles.

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.

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 plant grass to prevent erosion.

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 spring is complete!

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.

"Upon arrival at the site, the water committee chairman delivered a gratitude message, thanking all who supported and facilitated the smooth running of the project, particularly acknowledging the organization. He also emphasized the importance of maintaining cleanliness at the water point. Prayers were offered, and the meeting concluded with everyone participating in a group photo to mark the completion. The water users were overflowing with joy, expressing their gratitude through songs of praise and endless messages of thanks to The Water Project for addressing their long-standing issue, which had previously gone unresolved. This brought immense relief to the community," Field Officer Mildred Mboha said.

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. 19 people attended the training, including 13 women and 6 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.

Soapmaking training.

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.

"The participants demonstrated a high level of commitment and enthusiasm throughout the hygiene training. Their consistent attendance at each session, active engagement in discussions, and eagerness to learn new concepts were evident. For instance, during the dental hygiene session, participants asked insightful questions about proper brushing techniques and eagerly participated in the hands-on demonstrations. Additionally, they expressed enthusiasm for implementing the hygiene practices learned during the training in their daily lives. Overall, their positive attitude and dedication contributed to the success of the program," facilitator Mildred Mboha said.

Nineteen-year-old chemistry student Rebecca Nekesa was enthralled with the training she received. "Soapmaking emerged as the most captivating subject for me. As a chemistry student, I found myself familiar with most of the reagents, enabling me to effortlessly explain them to my fellow trainees and engage actively in the entire soapmaking procedure. This reinforced my belief in the practical significance of what is taught in school. With further knowledge, I aim to be able to craft soap at home using the required ingredients."



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: Lusumu Community Spring Protection Underway!

The lack of adequate water in the Lusumu 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!