Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 147 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2016

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

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).

Background Information

Andrea Mutende Spring is located in Ejija Village, Shiyunzu sub-location, South Butsotso location, Shirere ward, Lurambi division in Kakamega County. The spring is currently serving 21 households, totaling a population of 147 people. The spring has been named after the owner of the land where the spring is located. Andrea Mutende is married to a wife who has blessed him with eight children; five boys and three girls.

A normal day in Ejija Village starts off with people preparing to go to the farm. Women go to fetch water for household use. Children are also preparing to go to school at this time. The men prepare farm tools as they wait for girls and their mothers to prepare breakfast for the family. Once breakfast is ready, they all partake together and then children go to school while the parents go to the farm to cultivate sugarcane. The community is special in the sense that it lies within the sugar belt zone that cultivates sugarcane and supplies Mumias Sugar Company located 26 kilometers away. This is a cash crop that greatly boosts the community's economy.

The Current Source

Ejija Village is allowed to use Andrea Mutende Spring, but its water is unprotected. The water point is contaminated. It was gathered from the initial survey that community members have been complaining of rampant waterborne disease within the community.  Water quality tests were done that prove contamination of the water point. Some sources of contamination are: surface runoff, human and animal activity, proximate farming, bacteria, and soil erosion. Community members use 20-liter containers to carry water from the spring to their homes. Most of them do not have covers, and are occasionally wiped clean with leaves. Water is then stored in larger containers at home. Locals know to treat the dirty water first by boiling, but this unfortunately does not make it safe enough for drinking.

Sanitation Situation

No more than 50% of households have latrines. Most of these are in bad condition, with the floors made of wood that rots over time. Walls are made with either mud or banana leaves. Open defecation is often the more convenient option for community members, who choose to use the privacy of sugarcane fields. Unfortunately, this waste often mixes together with surface runoff that ends in the spring water. No more than 25% of households have hand-washing stations, and less than a quarter have dish racks or clotheslines. Hygiene and sanitation attitudes are poor in this community due to a general ignorance of good personal and environmental upkeep.

Training Sessions

Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least four 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. On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrines.

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.

WEWASAFO staff discussed the possibility of protecting the water point through collaborative efforts with the community, and the community accepted this proposal wholeheartedly. Construction work therefore began by the end of January 2016. We strongly believe that once Andrea Mutende Spring is protected, many challenges described above will be done away with.

Project Results


The training was conducted at the home of Andrea Mutende, the owner of the land where the spring is located. The community was mobilized for the training by the local administration (Village Elder) who through Mr. Andrea Mutende invited beneficiaries of the spring for the Water and Sanitation Management Committee (WSMC) Training and Community Health Workers (CHW) Training. The attendance was good considering the fact that 12 of the 14 members invited to the training were present. The 2 members who were absent sent in apologies.

The training covered a verity of topics that were relevant to the community. These are:

  •  Leadership and governance
  • Group Dynamics
  • Roles and responsibilities of Water and Sanitation Management Committee Leaders
  • Calculating daily water consumption
  • Site management
  • Water pollution
  • Prevention of water related diseases
  • Primary Health Care
  • Disease transmission routes
  • Environmental Health
  • Control measures of common local disease
  • Understanding disease transmission barriers
  • Water handling and hygiene
  • Role of Hygiene promoters
  • Calculation of treatment costs verses Pit latrine use

The facilitators use a number of methods to teach the above topics. These included presentations, focused group discussions, demonstrations, and the use of hand outs.

The training was a great success because participants were able to appreciate the fact that they didn't know that they spend quite lot of resources treating water related diseases. The also were shocked to realize that some of the local diseases can be prevented through proper hygiene at the house hold level. We ended up forming a water and sanitation management committee and identified community hygiene promoters who will work as community health workers.

Mr. Mutende said about the training, "I am very happy to note that since I was born I have been drinking water from this spring for all that long without protection. We have been experiencing cases of water related diseases without knowing that we could have that prevented by protecting the spring. Now that it is protected, I am going to ensure that the community will take good care of it and sustain it so that we can use it for more than 30 years."

Spring Protection

Constructing a spring protection system involves building a concrete structure around the opening of a spring to shield the water from contamination from various sources. The following is the process that is undertaken when protecting a spring:

  • Clearing of the site
  • Setting and casting of the foundation base/slab to specified standards
  • Constriction of wing‑walls
  • Construction of head wall connected with discharge pipes depending on the flow of water
  • Construction of rub walling (Stone pitching)
  • Construction of stair cases for accessing the spring
  • Filling the reserve/source (Basin) with hardcore and covering the whole basin with polythene paper, then back filling with soil
  • Clear the main drainage to ease flow of water from the spring
  • Work on the cut off drainage to avoid run off water from depositing silt and contamination of the protected area.
  • Fence the protected area
  • Plant grass around the protected area

The community contributes to the project by providing laborers to help with the work, and also supplying locally available materials such as sand, bricks, hardcore, and poles for building the fence.  The community also provides accommodations for the artisans working on the project

Seeing the change the spring protection system brings, Mr. Mutende said, "This facility is a great blessing to this community. We are going to secure, maintain and sustain it for our future use. We are very great full for this great support form The Water Project."

Sanitation Platforms

Sanitation platforms are concrete slabs used as stable floors for pit latrines.  Five sanplats were provided for households in this community, and the residents where trained how to construct more in the future. Making pit latrines safe and comfortable to use is an important step in encouraging a community to stop practicing open defecation, which is a significant cause of water contamination and other health problems.

Thank you to all who made this project possible.  Thank you for unlocking potential!

Project Updates

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ejija Community, Andrea Mutende 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.

Trainer Jacky shows how to make a leaky tin

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 Ejija, Kenya.

Team Leader Catherine and Jacky demonstrate handwashing

We trained more than 10 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.

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.

Catherine helps a community member was her hands

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.

A man reads the informational pamphlet on COVID-19

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.

Prevention reminders chart installed at the spring

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.

Observing social distancing at training

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.

Homemade face mask tutorial

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, 2017: A Year Later: Andrea Mutende Spring

A year ago, generous donors helped protect a spring for the Munzeywe Community in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and the contributions of our monthly donors, partners are able to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partner, Faith Muthama, with you.

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: Andrea Mutende Spring

December, 2017

Building the staircase has really helped them maintain the cleanness of the spring and also accessibility to the water point. Spring protection has helped reduce cases of waterborne diseases which was experienced before.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ejija Community, Andrea Mutende 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, generous donors helped protect a spring for the Munzeywe Community in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and the contributions of our monthly donors, partners are able to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partner, Faith Muthama, with you.

Witnessing the changes involved in transforming an open, natural spring into a protected spring is truly amazing- a standing muddy water pool into flowing, clean water. It is equally amazing to witness the transformations that occur in a community that has access to this new source for clean water. Violeta Wesonga, a teacher in Munzeywe shares, "Initially the village used to fetch water from far away, and also used to hire people to supply water for them at the village. Since the spring was protected they have no problem with water, they get clean drinking water from the protected spring- they used to have only dirty water for drinking and cooking."

Violeta Wesonga standing at Andrea Mutende Spring.

The Andrea Mutende Spring has provided an access point for clean water, and it has saved time for many people in the community.  Additionally, the community has received training in hygiene and sanitation practices that improve the sustainable impact that clean water can bring.

Eric Mutende standing at the spring named after his family.

One of the challenges that this community has faced is that during the dry seasons the yield of the spring drops.  It is possible that the low yield could be due to Eucalyptus trees and sugar cane planted near the site of the spring. Because of the consistent monitoring visits, WEWASAFO will be able to determine if the community should adjust the agricultural practices, or whether another water point is necessary for the community to have full, consistent, year round  access to sufficient drinking water. However, Eric Mutende, age 10, says that the water at the spring is sufficient for drinking and for house chores. We continue to walk hand in hand with this community to ensure this is the case for everyone.

While it may seem that one protected spring is just a drop in the bucket amidst a global water crisis, the people in Munzeywe Village experience the direct impact that clean water access has on daily life. We are excited to stay in touch with this community and report back more positive stories.

The Water Project and our partners are committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by monthly donors, allows us to visit communities up to 4 times a year. Read more about our program 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 Ejija Community, Andrea Mutende 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 Ejija Community, Andrea Mutende 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.


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