Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Uganda WaSH Program

Impact: 310 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/11/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

A normal day in Karongo begins as early as 6am, when men wake up to arrive at the Kinyara Sugar Factory on time for work. Most work on the sugarcane plantations cutting down cane that is ready for processing. Women tend to remain at home to work in their gardens to get enough food to put on the table. Maize, 'matoke' (plantains) and beans are most popular. Any excess is sold in the Towasaati and Kabango markets. Beyond this, women are also expected to watch the children and do all of the household chores.

In the evenings, men like to go to the trading center to socialize with their friends before dinner. Dinner here is prepared fairly late, with families eating at about 9pm before bedtime.

One of the biggest challenges in Karongo is the pull to make more money. Most youth here have dropped out of school to cut sugarcane.

But one of the special things about Karongo is the great level of teamwork; farmers help each other prepare fields for sowing each year.


People living in Karongo rely on surface water to meet all of their needs. An open, unprotected spring brings water to the surface. Locals use a wooden board as a bridge, suspended over the widest part of the spring. Standing in the middle, one can balance and scoop up the clearest water available – away from the cloudy, algae-covered banks.

But no matter where you stand and fetch your water, there’s no doubt this spring is contaminated. Animals are free to come and sate their thirst. The water smells, and people who drink it complain of constant diarrhea. Children under five struggle to fight the strain this dirty water puts on their bodies.

Mr. Jadri Robert told us that "there are high cases of skin infection because of the kind of water being used by the community members is not safe. Diarrhea cases are also high, hence a lot of money and time is spent on treatment."


Less than half of households living in Karongo have a pit latrine, most of which are made of mud walls and have no doors or roofs. Because of these poor conditions, open defecation is a big issue here, with people seeking the privacy of farms and brush to relieve themselves. Flies, animals, and rainwater then spreads this contamination throughout Karongo – even to the spring from which people fetch drinking water.

When asked why so few people have pit latrines, they complained that they simply don't have the tools they need to dig with.

Here’s what we’re going to do about it:


Training’s main objectives are the use of latrines and observing proper hygiene practices, since these goals are inherently connected to the provision of clean water. Open defecation, water storage in unclean containers and the absence of hand-washing are all possible contaminants of a household water supply. Each participating village must achieve Open Defecation Free status (defined by one latrine per household), prior to the project installation.

This social program includes the assignment of one Community Development Officer (CDO) to each village. The CDO encourages each household to build an ideal homestead that includes: a latrine, hand-washing facility, a separate structure for animals, rubbish pit and drying rack for dishes.

We also implement the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach with each of our village partners. This aims to improve the sanitation and hygiene practices and behaviors of a village. During these sessions, village leaders naturally emerge and push the community to realize that current practices of individual households – particularly the practice of open defecation– are not only unhealthy, but affect the entire village. CLTS facilitates a process in which community members realize the negative consequences of their current water, sanitation and hygiene behaviors and are inspired to take action. Group interactions are frequent motivators for individual households to: build latrines, use the latrines and demand that other households do the same.

Spring Protection

Over continued visits to the community, the viability of a hand-dug well diminished. We just couldn’t find a good construction site for a well that would yield safe, clean water. The terrain here is very hilly; a great place for flowing springs but a difficult place to dig a well.

Considering the convenience, reliability, and long history of this spring, the community has decided to unite with us to build a spring protection system for their current source. Once construction is completed, the spring will begin yielding clean drinking water.

There’s a lot of work to be done: Community members will have to help our team clear the land around the spring, diverge the water, build a catchment area with walls allowing for discharge pipes and steps in and out, and dig drainage. Local families will host our spring protection artisans while they begin the sanitation improvements needed for a successful partnership. We all look forward to making these improvements together!

This project is a part of our shared program with The Water Trust. Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (formatted and edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Uganda.

Project Updates

December, 2018: A Year Later: Karongo-Dum Community

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to protect a spring for Karongo-Dum Community in Uganda. 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...

March, 2018: Karongo-Dum Community Project Complete

Karongo-Dum Community in Uganda has a new source of safe, clean water thanks to your donation. A spring has been protected from contamination, and now clean water is flowing. Community members have also received training in sanitation and hygiene, and plan to share what they learned with their families and neighbors.

New Knowledge

We trained the newly-formed water sanitation committee (WSC) at Robert Musinguzi's home for three full days.

The entire committee was trained, 10 total members including a chairman, village health trainers, local council chairs, and an opinion leader. Everyone was respectful and fully participated in each activity.

Training taught committee members about their different roles. There is a WSC chairman, vice chairman, secretary, treasurer, two caretakers, and a mobilizer.

Working together to map out the community.

Since many people in rural areas are illiterate, our training facilitator used simple language and many pictures. Participants also formed small groups to discuss the pictures and what practices they illustrated.

Training raised awareness on keeping water clean, routes of contamination, hand-washing, hygiene practices, and gender. Lessons equipped the WSC with the right knowledge to do their job well, including managing finances and keeping records. They are now able to be effective ambassadors of good hygiene, sanitation, and health in their neighborhoods. They even have a community plan to carry out everything they learned.

"I didn't know hand-washing was that important in controlling diseases," Mr. Robert Musinguzi said.

"I am happy that The Water Trust has trained us in these areas!"

Spring Protection

The community was so helpful once our artisans arrived; they provided food, rooms to stay, and volunteered their time to work alongside them. Community members gathered small stones that the artisans could use along the sides of the catchment area. With their efforts, clean water was flowing from the spring in no time.

The area is first cleared and leveled out, and we excavate back from the spring eye. Ballast is then mixed with cement and sand to make concrete. A wire mesh is lain on the excavated space before the concrete is added in order to create a strong foundation. This foundation is left to cure overnight.

Some of the ladies taking a food break while the men are working on the spring box behind them.

Next, the walls are raised with brick. The artisan then installs a pipe low in the collection wall to direct water from the reservoir to a concrete or plastic spring box. He then backfills the spring source with hardcore until water is flowing from the discharge pipe. The area around the spring is then landscaped, fenced, and drainage is dug.

We were privileged to be there as some community members came down the path to fetch their first containers of clean water.

"We have been moving about three kilometers to the nearest well to get safe drinking water, which would take approximately four hours with the wait at the source. But the new spring is easily accessible, the water is clear and tastes good," Mr. Peter Olema said.

September, 2017: Karongo-Dum Community Project Underway

Karongo-Dum Community in Uganda will soon have a source of clean water, thanks to your generous donation. A spring is being protected, and the community will attend sessions on sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these resources will go a long way toward stopping the spread of disease in the area. We just posted a report including information about the community, project details, and pictures. Please look there to read about how the community decided a spring protection system is the best solution for their area. We’ll keep you informed as the work continues!

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: Karongo-Dum Community

December, 2018

The joy we saw on the face of Nicholas illustrates how the ease of getting water from the spring is making a difference in this community.

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Karongo-Dum Community.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Karongo-Dum Community 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 a spring for Karongo-Dum Community in Uganda. 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 Steven Kwikiriza with you.

People here have access to clean and safe water thanks to the protected spring completed a year ago.

We spoke with Agnes Nawua. She said that she is happy because she used to travel a long distance to fetch water. Now she can get good water from the nearby spring.

Agnes Nawua speaks with out field officer at the spring

Agnes adds that now she can do all her household chores in time because it is quick and easy to fetch water. Now she also has time to take on other activities!

Natural leaders have emerged in the community. They conduct sanitation follow-up activities in the village to promote healthy habits. That means more people are embracing the lessons on improved hygiene and sanitation.

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 Karongo-Dum is changing many lives.

We met Nicholas, a 13-year-old who was in a jolly mood fetching water to take home for cooking supper.

Field officer chatting with the spring care taker

He told us that his family now drinks safe and clean water that no longer has a salty taste thanks to the spring. He is encouraged by the fact that he is less likely to get sick because he does not have to drink from the unsafe water source they used a year ago.

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 Karongo-Dum Community 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 Karongo-Dum Community – 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.


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