Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 156 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/02/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the Community

For Mkunzulu Community, a normal day starts by getting up early at 6am to work on the farm. Many people in this community engage in small scale dairy farming, poultry keeping, cash crop farming such as tea, sugarcane, and bananas, and subsistence farming with vegetables and cereals of all kinds. Most crops are stored for a family's own use, while any leftovers can be sold in the local market. Though the income from these crops sales is low, the community members adjust their budgets so as to meet their familys' daily needs.

Village Elder Shadrack Muuchi reached out to us when he heard that we're an organization helping communities protecting springs. He traveled to Shoso Mwoga Spring and asked them for our contact information. From there, he filled out an application and invited us to his own village. With that visit, we were able to confirm their need for water and better hygiene and sanitation.

Water Situation

This location borders two local Luhiya sub-tribes: the Maragoli and Tiriki, both who have lived in a peaceful coexistence, using water from this unprotected spring for a long period of time.

This spring is called Museywa (named after the landowners who live nearby), and serves 156 people from 18 different households. This spring is open to many different sources of contamination, particularly during the rainy season when rainwater introduces extra dirt, farming chemicals, and feces into the water.

People use this dirty water for all of their needs, including drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Containers are dunked directly under the water until full. After drinking water from Museywa, community members suffer from waterborne diseases.

If a household can afford it, they supplement this dirty spring water with rainwater collected in plastic barrels placed outside. This collection of rainwater can help cut down on the trips made to Museywa Spring.

Sine many of the locals are low earners, efforts made to protect this spring on their own did not bear any fruit; they were only able to collect stones, bricks and ballast from households, but they couldn't afford to get cement or hire an artisan.

Sanitation Situation

Over 75% of households in Mkunzulu Community have pit latrines. Those who haven't been able to build their own share with their neighbors. The latrines we visited are mostly made of mud walls and log floors. A rag or iron sheet is normally hung in the doorway for privacy. The log floors are the biggest issue here, since they are very difficult to clean. And the wetter they get, the faster they rot. It is not unheard of for a latrine user to fall through the floor to injury or even death.

The majority of homes also have helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines to dry their belongings safely off the ground. However, as seen in some of the pictures, many utensils and clothes are still being left on the ground. And unfortunately, none of these families have a dedicated place to wash their hands.

Shadrack Muuchi is the leader of Mkunzulu and is well aware of their biggest challenges. "Cases of diseases such as malaria, coughs and stomachaches are very rampant. Though people have mosquito nets, we still suffer from these diseases." He and his neighbors welcome the idea of an enlightening training that will each them how to avoid these problems.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least three days. This training will ensure participants are no longer ignorant about healthy practices and their importance. The facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation), CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development), group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring.

Training will also result in the formation of a committee that will oversee operations and maintenance at the spring. They will enforce proper behavior around the spring and delegate tasks that will help preserve the site, such as building a fence and digging proper drainage.

Plans: Sanitation Platforms

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrine floors.

Training will also inform the community and selected families on what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, such as bricks, clean sand, hardcore, and ballast. The five families must prepare by sinking a pit for the sanitation platforms to be placed over. All community members must work together to make sure that accommodations and food are always provided for the work teams.

Plans: Spring Protection

Fetching water is predominantly a female role, done by both women and young girls. Protecting the spring and offering training and support will therefore help empower the female members of the community by giving them more time and efforts to engage and invest in income-generating activities.

In addition, protecting the spring will ensure that the water is safe, adequate and secure. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water.

Project Updates

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Mkunzulu Community, Museywa Spring

Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.

Handwashing lesson with Trainer Stella

We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to rural communities like Mkunzulu, Kenya.

We trained more than 12 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

Demonstrating air drying hands as the preferred method

We covered essential hygiene lessons:

- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station

- Proper handwashing technique

- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing

- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.

Leaky tin installed at a home

We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:

- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19

- What social distancing is and how to practice it

- How to cough into an elbow

- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.

- How to make and properly wear a facemask.

During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point, along with a sign with reminders of what we covered.

Reviewing the prevention reminders chart

Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.

A woman wearing a homemade mask reads the informational pamphlet on COVID-19

We continue to stay in touch with this community as the pandemic progresses. We want to ensure their water point remains functional and their community stays informed about the virus.

Observing social distancing at training

Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.

December, 2018: A Year Later: Mkunzulu Community

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to protect Museywa Spring for Mkunzulu Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories. Read more...

February, 2018: Mkunzulu Community Project Complete

Museywa Spring in Mkunzulu Community, Kenya is now a protected, clean source of water thanks to your donation. The spring is protected from contamination, five sanitation platforms have been provided for the community, and training has been given in sanitation and hygiene. Imagine the changes that all of these resources are going to bring for these residents! You made it happen!  Now, want to do a bit more? Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this spring protection and many other projects.

Project Result: New Knowledge

Mr. Shadrack Mwochi lives in Mkunzulu and is passionate about seeing change in his area. Ever since he heard about the opportunity for hygiene and sanitation training, he worked tirelessly to inform everyone about the plans. Training was held entirely at the spring site; people were comfortable sitting on the grass in the shade of the trees, and they were happy to witness the ongoing construction. This happened to be a convenient place for us too, since we could do onsite demonstrations of how to best care for and maintain the spring protection system.

People who attended were gifted new notebooks and pens to help them record everything they learned.

We covered several topics including leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; the spread of disease and prevention. We also covered water treatment methods, environmental hygiene, hygiene promotion, and many others. Since we were right at the spring, we could run through our hands-on management and maintenance demonstrations.

We spent an entire session on hand-washing and its importance. When, how, and why should one wash their hands? We also taught participants how to construct their own hand-washing stations with local and affordable materials.

These participants have formed a committee to both take care of the spring and promote hygiene and sanitation in Mkunzulu. They voted on leaders, and those leaders immediately took up their roles. It didn't take long for the committee to build a fence around their spring to protect it.

Participants gather for a group picture behind the spring that's still under construction.

Mr. Mwochi said, "This training has really touched on important aspects of hygiene, water and sanitation." He and the rest of the participants felt grateful for what they learned.

Project Result: Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed and are ready for use. These five families are happy about this milestone and are optimistic that there will be much less open defecation. People without proper latrines would often use the privacy of bushes, but now have a private place of their own. It is expected that proper use of latrine facilities provided by the sanitation platforms will go a long way in reducing environmental pollution here. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

Project Result: Spring Protection

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, fencing poles and hard core (crushed rock and gravel). Accommodation and food for the artisan were provided, and we asked a few people to volunteer their time and strength to help the artisan with manual labor.

The artisan and a volunteer assess the area behind the discharge pipe and talk about the construction of the spring box.

The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of polyethylene, wire mesh and concrete. After the base had been set, both wing walls and the headwall were set in place using brickwork. The discharge pipe was fixed low in place through the head wall to direct the water from the reservoir to the drawing area.

As the wing walls and head wall were curing, the stairs were set and the tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. This reduces the erosive force of the falling water and beautifies the spring. The process of plastering the head wall and wing walls on both sides reinforces the brickwork and prevents water from the reservoir from seeping through the walls and allows pressure to build in the collection box to push water up through the discharge pipe.

Lastly, the base of the spring was plastered and the collection box was cleaned. The source area was filled up with clean hardcore and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination.

Community members at the spring to celebrate the arrival of clean water.

This process transformed Museywa Spring into a source of flowing, clean water. It was just mere minutes after work wrapped up that we saw community members coming down the path to fetch water. 74-year-old Susan Museywa said, "I am happy to be here this day in my life to witness this beautiful spring. Our people have been suffering for lack of safe water, but now we are the happiest people. This new source of water will take away all our pain and shame of not accessing safe clean water." She and her neighbors no longer have to drink water with the fear of waterborne diseases.

Being on the border of two different tribes, this community witnessed regular conflicts and disagreements over water. The protection of this spring has brought peace to Mkunzulu.

January, 2018: Mkunzulu Community Project Underway

Mkunzulu Community will soon have a clean, safe source of water thanks to your donation. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Museywa Spring, and often suffer physical illnesses after doing so. Our partner conducted a survey of the area and deemed it necessary to protect the spring, build new sanitation platforms (safe, easy-to-clean concrete floors for latrines), and conduct sanitation and hygiene training. Thanks to your generosity, waterborne disease will no longer be a challenge for the families drinking the spring’s water. We look forward to sharing more details with you as they come! But for now, please take some time to check out the report containing community information, pictures, and maps.

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!

A Year Later: Mkunzulu Community

December, 2018

“Our neighbors who used to laugh at us as we tried to get water from our dirty spring before protection, are now admiring our spring.” – Shadrack Mwochi.

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Mkunzulu Community, Museywa Spring.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mkunzulu Community, Museywa Spring maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to protect Museywa Spring for Mkunzulu Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – and we’re excited to share this one from local team member Wilson Kipchoge with you.

The lives of community members have improved due to the fact that they now have safe, clean drinking water that is free from contamination. This community used to struggle a lot in trying to get water to meet their daily needs, but now they have their own safe water source.

People no longer worry when drinking water from Museywa Spring. This change was brought about by the protection of their spring, which makes it look very beautiful and helps it produce a lot of water.

11-year-old Clarence Akanga told us that he hasn't gotten sick since he started drinking water from the spring protection.

"I take a very short time to fetch the water since so much comes from the pipe. Before it was protected I used to struggle a lot to fetch water."

Children gathered at the spring

The community's appreciation for this reliable water source is obvious. The area is kept clean and the spring still has a fence to protect the spring box. There is a sense of pride throughout the community; when you visit, you can see a variety of trees and flowers at each household.

Protection of the spring is only one step along the journey toward sustainable access to clean water. The Water Project is committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by donors like you, allows us to maintain our relationships with communities by visiting up to 4 times each year to ensure that the water points are safe and reliable.

This is just one of the many ways that we monitor projects and communicate with you. Additionally, you can always check the functionality status and our project map to see how all of our water points are performing, based on our consistent monitoring data.

One project is just a drop in the bucket towards ending the global water crisis, but the ripple effects of this project are truly astounding. This project in Mkunzulu is changing many lives.

Shadrack Mwochi with Clarence Askanga

"Our neighbors who used to laugh at us as we tried to get water from our dirty spring before protection are now admiring our spring," said Shadrack Mwochi.

This is only possible because of the web of support and trust built between The Water Project, our local teams, the community, and you. We are excited to stay in touch with this community and support their journey with safe water.

Read more about The Water Promise and how you can help.

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mkunzulu Community, Museywa Spring maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Mkunzulu Community, Museywa Spring – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


Scandinavians for Life
The Hermosillo Family
Manna Healing with Amy J’s students and clients
Bass Network
35 individual donor(s)