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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 320 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

"I would really wish to shake hands with the donor of this project. But before that happens, may the heavens bless them for putting a smile on my face and the entire community."


Community Profile & Stories

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

This unprotected spring is located in Wetai Village, Murumba sub-location in Shikoti location of East Butsotso ward within Lurambi constituency of Kakamega County. The spring is serving a total number of 40 households. The number of beneficiries is 320 people out of which 173 are female and 148 are male.

The community members around this spring are mainly farmers who grow food crops like maize, beans, cassava, and bananas for their own consumption. Some also grow sugarcane to sell.

In this community, roles are defined according to gender. Women engage themselves in household chores while most men go out to work as casual laborers in order to earn a living for their families. Women wake up in the morning and prepare their children to go to school, fetch water from the stream or spring, come back to work in their farms, prepare meals for their families, wash clothes, clean utensils and fetch firewood. The circle keeps repeating itself.

Access to clean and safe water is paramount to every individual in the world. Safe water enhances health of the community members and thus faster development can be realized. However, thousands of people in Kakamega County still have no access to clean and safe drinking water.  When men, women and children have no access to safe and clean drinking water, development stagnates.

The Current Source

Community members around Musembe Spring are not exeptional. They have no access to safe and clean drinking water. This is due to the fact that the spring is located on the lower side of a farm and since it is unprotected, it is open to contamination by surface runoff. Farming activities are also done very close to the water catchment area, further contaminating water in terms of fertilizers being washed into the open water source. Other sources of contamination are from human activities such as stepping into the water to fetch or open defication, and soil erosion.

Locals use Musembe Spring’s water for domestic uses such as irrigating farms and watering animals. Water is fetched by stepping into the water to scoop it with a small container which is then poured into a 20-liter jerrycan. Once home, water is then stored in a pot. Most of these containers do not appear to be clean, although community members wash them using water, sand and leaves.

Since it is obvious the water is dirty, many community members choose to boil it before drinking. However, boiling it or not, the water still causes waterborne disease to be rampant in this area. Diseases suffered from are typhoid, cholera, malaria, and other cough-related complications.

While collecting the baseline information we met Albert, a husband and a father of three children. Albert Nandi is one of the spring beneficiaries who has been suffering from typhoid for three years. “I have spent more than 40,000 Kenya shillings on medication. This really pains me because if I was getting clean and safe drinking water, I would have used the money to do income-generating activities,” laments Albert. Albert is not alone; many community members have similar problems.

Sanitation Situation

Sanitation is also a challenge in this community. Most of the community members lack sanitation facilities like latrines, dish racks, clotheslines and compost pits. Most latrines observed are in poor condition, without roofs or doors. Floors made of wood rot away and pose a threat to children and the elder. Because of this, most of the community members resort to relieving themselves in the bushes. This worsens the sanitation and hygiene situation in this area.

Training Sessions

Hygiene and sanitation training will be held over the course of two days: the first day is for learning new health practices, and the final day is meant for the education and formation of a Community Health Worker Group. The training facilitator plans to use CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), group discussions, demonstrations, and a transect walk to teach hygiene and sanitation. The transect walk will teach locals to watch for practices that go on and facilities that are present related to good health and hygiene. Sometimes, a participant feels shame when the group arrives at their household and points out things that are unhealthy or unhygienic; but in Kenya, this affects people to make a positive change. Training participants will also vote on and decide the families that should benefit from the five new sanitation platforms.


Having seen the need in this community and their willingness to join hands with development partners, we propose that this spring should be considered for protection. This, coupled with training, will eliminate all contamination routes.

Project Results: Training

Training was held at Musembe Community Church. The village elder mobilized all of the participants, most of who are either part of the Water User Committee (WUC) or Community Health Workers (CHW). On arrival, the community members warmly welcomed the WEWASAFO team and quickly gathered for the start of sessions. One could easily see their enthusiasm and joy from how they were acting; a sign that the project had been fully accepted and that the community was willing to learn more. The participants were very active and involved throughout the training.

WUC topics were as follows:

– Leadership

– Group dynamics

– WUC roles and responsibilities

– Water point management and maintenance

– Water-related diseases and their prevention

During Community Health Worker training, they covered:

– Primary healthcare

– Common local diseases

– Environmental and personal hygiene

– Handling water properly

– Hand-washing

Training went smoothly, and participants were very grateful for all of the knowledge they gained. “I have gained a lot of useful information and the one I enjoyed most was learning how to wash my hands the right way. I will go and teach all my children… how to do the same so that we all avoid diarrhea,” local farmer Henry Wesaya commented.

Project Results: Spring Protection

Construction began on January 15th, and began with the collection of locally available materials such as bricks, sand, and ballast. The site was cleared and excavated at the discharge point until three feet of water was flowing. Hardcore was mixed and then cast to form the foundation and walls for the catchment area. Pipes were fitted, drainage dug, and the site was fenced in, all of which presented no challenge to the construction team.

During construction of the spring protection project, the elderly men of this community slaughtered a chicken for the artisans as their form of prayer that the spring would last for a very long time. The community members could not wait for the project to be handed over to them since they were eager to draw fresh water.

The spring is now protected and free from surface run off. All the contamination routes have been blocked. Women and children now have an easier time drawing water as opposed to when they had to step into the water to fetch. Now that construction is complete, the community members are very happy and satisfied with the project. Local mother Nancy could not hide her joy:

“I am very happy about this project. For many years, politicians have used this spring as their campaign tool. Every election time they persuade us that if we vote for them they will help us protect but once they are elected, you will never see them,” said Nancy, “For now I know the health of my family members will improve since we are getting safe water. I would really wish to shake hands with the donor of this project. But before that happens, may the heavens bless them for putting a smile on my face and the entire community.”

Sanitation Platforms

In order to prevent contamination of the water sources resulting from open defecation, five vulnerable households that lacked toilets received sanitation platforms. The sanitation platforms for Musembe Spring are now serving a total of 30 family members.

Thank You for your generous heart that makes all of this possible!

Recent Project Updates

11/20/2017: A Year Later: Musembe Spring

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection and sanitation platforms for the community surrounding Musembe spring in Kenya. Because of these gifts and 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 partner Jonathan Mutai with you.

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03/14/2016: Musembe Spring Protection Project Complete

We are excited to report that, thanks to your willingness to help, the community surrounding Musembe Spring in Kenya has a source of clean water. The spring has been protected from contamination caused by surface run-off and animals, keeping the water safe to drink and use. The community has also received training in sanitation and hygiene practices. Together these resources will go a long way towards stopping the spread of disease in the area.

We just posted a report from our partner in the field including information about the community, GPS coordinates, and pictures of the project (including community members showing their gratefulness!).

The Water Project and community of Musembe Spring Thank You for unlocking potential!

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02/18/2016: Musembe Spring Protection Project

We are excited to share that work around Musembe Spring has begun. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from this 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 GPS coordinates.

The Water Project and the community of Musembe Spring Thank You for giving the hope of clean water and good health.

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Kakamega, Lurambi, East Butsotso, Shikoti, Murumba, Wetai Village
ProjectID: 4563
Install Date:  03/14/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 07/26/2017

Visit History:
05/07/2016 — Functional
08/17/2016 — Functional
02/25/2017 — Needs Repair
05/31/2017 — Needs Repair
07/26/2017 — Functional

A Year Later: Musembe Spring

September, 2017

“The production in subsistence farming has increased due to good health enjoyed now after project implementation and the increase in work force or labor force,” said community member Henry.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection and sanitation platforms for the community surrounding Musembe spring in Kenya. Because of these gifts and 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 partner Jonathan Mutai with you.

YAR_4563_2Musembe spring implementation has changed the lives of the community members as waterborne diseases that used to be a threat are now a thing of the past. Community members drawing water from this spring are now enjoying good health as they are accessing safe and clean water for drinking and for general chores. They are now investing their resources in the right way unlike before where they could spend their resources in seeking medications rather than development.

The project beneficiaries still need improvement in water handling to ensure that the current clean water accessing from the protected spring are maintained clean. Also operation and maintenance of the facilities needs improvement as the staff we will conduct monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the facilities serves the intended purpose.
YAR_4563_1Jonathan spoke with community member Henry Musemi about any changes after the spring protection. “The production in subsistence farming has increased due to good health enjoyed now after project implementation and the increase in work force or labor force,” said Henry. “Before the project implementation, in a family of five you could find three people are sick hence relying on two people. Then the ratio of consumption to production couldn’t merge.”

15-year olYAR_4563_4d Nikson Mutami also said “I am accessible to safe and clean water at any time I want. Water that is free from diseases. It is unlike before where I usually miss going to school just because of water borne diseases.”

This spring protection water project has greatly helped the community members. They are now enjoying safe and clear water for drinking as well as for the general use. The community members are welcoming and hardworking people, their environment looks conducive as they do planting of trees that beautify their environment and bringing good breeze.

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.


Archery Transport LLC
Sims Chapel Missionary Baptist Church
William S & Blair Y Thompson Family Foundation
Girl Scouts Troop 1152
6 individual donor(s)

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Country Details


Population: 39.8 Million
Lacking clean water: 43%
Below poverty line: 50%

Partner Profile

Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO) works together with less privileged and marginalized members of communities in Western Kenya to reduce poverty through harnessing and utilization of local resources for sustainable development.