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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 200 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

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).

Welcome to the Community

This unprotected spring is located in Givunji Village, Kivagala sub-location, North Maragoli location, Sabatia Sub-County of Vihiga County. It serves 30 households with a total population of 200 people, out of which 70 are male and 130 are female. During the dry seasons, it also serves the students and staff of the nearby school, Kivagala Primary.

Most who live around Kavehere Spring wake up very early to start working on their farms. Most farmers in this area grow tea so that they can sell the leaves to the nearby Mudete Tea Factory. Community members who do not practice agriculture engage in brick-making. This is a very united community that looks forward to working together on this water project.

The community that uses Kavehere Spring witnessed the water project recently completed at Mido Spring, and asked us to protect their water source as well. After our first visit to Givunji Village and Kavehere Spring, we accepted their application, deciding that this group will greatly benefit from a project.

Water Situation

The spring is a permanent water source. Even though the spring is not yet protected, people are looking to it for their physical and domestic needs. Since the spring is unprotected, it is open to contamination from surface runoff, erosion, animals, and waste. The area around the spring is also overgrown, and a few people have been scared by and even bitten by snakes! Even though locals face danger from both the water itself and the area around, they still fetch the spring’s water. This is because the nearest alternative water source is more than seven kilometers away! “We are aware that this water is not safe, even this environment is not safe, but we have no option because Mido Spring is very far from here. Going there will waste much of our time, yet we have to toil to put food on the table at the end of the day and also send our children to school, we cannot waste one and a half hours going to the spring!” explains the spring’s landowner. Instead, locals do their best to save time but often sacrifice their health, suffering from diarrhea and other complications.

Beneficiaries use gourds to draw water from the spring and fill larger buckets and jerrycans. They tote these containers home and dump water into earthen pots – pottery tends to keep the water cooler. Containers are wiped with tree leaves and sand, then rinsed to clean.

Sanitation Situation

Sanitation and hygiene is also a challenge in this community. Most homes are overgrown with grasses and bushes, and residents often complain of mosquito bites. In other homes, mosquito nets are being used to fence gardens to keep chickens away from vegetables, instead of being used to prevent malaria! Only a few homes have latrines, with the rest of the families using the privacy of bushes or shade of trees for relief. The families that have pit latrines keep them relatively clean, but the pits are uncovered. This creates both a smelly and inviting environment for flies! Local mason and father Jacob Andati told us “We are situated far from any health facility. We have many cases of stomach distress, most of which are dealt with locally. The community members will appreciate your input in terms of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.”

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Sanitation Platforms

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. On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrines that have sanitation platforms (concrete pit latrine floors).

Based on the initial visit, the facilitator decided to focus on the following training topics:

  • Proper handling and treatment of water and food
  • Dangers of open defecation
  • Protecting, preserving, and managing community water sources
  • Practicing personal and environmental hygiene

Training will also inform the community and selected families on what they can do to help make this project a success. They will mobilize local materials such as bricks, clean sand, hardcore, and ballast. The five selected families will also prepare by sinking a pit for sanitation platforms to be placed over. All community members will 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 with 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. The sanitation facilities and trainings will also enable, enlighten and build the capacity of the community so that they can take matters into their own hands.

Recent Project Updates

11/15/2017: A Year Later: Kavehere Spring

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection system and sanitation platforms for families living around Kavehere Spring. 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 with you.

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08/26/2016: Kavehere Spring Protection Project Complete

We are excited to report that the project to protect Kavehere Spring in Kenya is now complete. 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 help keep the water flowing! Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this well and many other projects.

We just updated the project page with the latest pictures, so make sure to open the “See Photos & Video” tab to enjoy!

Project Result: New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held near the spring to allow for onsite demonstrations. By working with the Kavehere Spring landowner, we were able to encourage 16 different household representatives to attend. Everybody was on time to our sessions and participated well in each learning activity.

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Topics included but were not limited to:

  • Community contribution and responsibilities
  • Leadership and governance
  • Group dynamics
  • Forming an effective water user committee for management and maintenance of the spring
  • Water pollution
  • Water-related diseases
  • Building disease transmission barriers
  • Proper handling of food and water
  • Importance of having and using a latrine

We used demonstrations, group discussions, question and answer sessions, and a transect walk to teach about the above topics. The transect walk took training participants through their community, highlighting health practices and picking out the dangerous ones. The 16 locals were made aware of how some daily habits should be improved upon or eliminated altogether, and how other new practices should be adopted. For example, some locals were accustomed to drying their clothing on the ground as opposed to using a clothesline. Clotheslines are cheap and simple to construct, and will keep clothing safe for wear.

After training, it’s evident to us that general sanitation in the village has already improved. A good number of the homes that didn’t have pit latrines before are now struggling to get those built. A lady from one of the households reports that the community no longer uses mosquito nets to keep chickens out of their vegetables. No clothes were seen spread on the grass to dry as had been happening earlier; each household had a clothesline, which is clear evidence that what was taught is being taken seriously.

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Project Result: Sanitation Platforms

The hygiene and sanitation standards of the village have improved. This is thanks to the Community Health Workers put in place during the trainings. The simple design used for the sanitation platforms (safe concrete latrine floors) is now being adopted by other community members since it is easy to construct, install and use.

Beneficiaries are very excited about their new latrine facilities, saying that they are easy to clean and comfortable to use. Those who draw water from nearby Kavehere Spring are also excited that the issue of open defecation will no longer threaten their water. See an example of a sanitation platform in the picture below! After the sanitation platform is provided, the family that benefits will work on building a wall and roof for privacy.

Project Result: Spring Protection

The construction process to protect Kavehere Spring began on April 10th.

Spring protection involves conducting a water quality test; clearing the site, excavating the land uphill from the spring discharge until three feet of water is flowing; packing hard core; reinforcing and casting the foundation slab, building the main and wing walls; fitting the delivery pipes, inlets, draw off pipe, overflow, and inlet screen; backfilling; installing a pipe low in the collection wall to direct the water from the interception reservoir to a concrete or plastic spring box; landscaping and drainage; fencing the area; digging drainage.

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The community helped by providing clean sand, bricks, sugar sacks, ballast, hard core, and other materials that could be found in their area. When the necessary materials were gathered, the community even helped our artisans with the actual construction. In the meantime, local women cooked for the work team and opened their homes for when they needed rest.

The community is grateful for the project and have promised to guard their water source which they call “a blessing.” Local farmer Mr. Solomon Munaji said, “I was born here, I have been in this place for decades, drinking dirty water and nobody had come in to help us. That is why we shall do everything possible to maintain our protected spring so that it does not break up because I do not know how many decades will pass before good samaritans come again to help, and maybe such an intervention will never be seen in our village again.”

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These men and women are true to their word, they plan to protect their water source. They have already cleared the bushes around the spring, keeping snakes from finding a comfortable living place and also to prevent mosquitos from breeding, leading to a decrease in snake bites and malaria.

“We can now access clean and safe water which will reduce cases of waterborne and water-related diseases,” said landowner Mr. Jacob Kavehere. “I’m sure even the performance of our children in school will improve since none will miss classes as a result of those diseases.”

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06/07/2016: Kavehere Spring Protection Project Underway

We are excited to share that work around Kavehere 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 Kavehere 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:  Vihiga, Sabatia, Maragoli, Kivagala, Givunji Village
ProjectID: 4571
Install Date:  08/26/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 09/02/2017

Visit History:
08/14/2016 — Functional
11/01/2016 — Functional
02/19/2017 — Functional
06/01/2017 — Functional
09/02/2017 — Functional

A Year Later: Kavehere Spring

October, 2017

“Drawing water from this spring takes a very short time, unlike the former frustrations of having to bend down and dip a mug or gourd to reach a dirty pool of water. Things have changed for the better, and we celebrate it.”

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection system and sanitation platforms for families living around Kavehere Spring. 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 with you.

The women and children relying on clean water from Kavehere Spring had so much to say when we visited them that we’ll let them do the talking, not us.

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We met with Vivian Andata, who said, “We can now send our children to the spring without any worry of the fact that they may bring home stormwater collected from any pool. When they are sent, they take a very short time because of the efficient way of harnessing the spring water through the discharge pipe. As a mother, I am also very confident that the water used in my home is safe for drinking and conducive both for cooking food and laundry work. Besides, we no longer have cases of stomach distress that we use to suffer upon drinking the spring water. The community members who got sanitation platforms are now living a more decent life -compared to when they practiced open defecation.”

We also met 10-year-old Vugusta Doreen fetching water from Kavehere Spring, asking her about the biggest change in her life since the project last year:

“We are so happy of the fact that the water we drink will not cause us any stomachaches as it used to affect us before its protection. Coming to draw water from a tiled spring brings joy and motivates us to keep coming here whenever our parents ask us to do so. The spring area is clean and safe even for young children because we don’t fear of anything bad happening to us. Drawing water from this spring takes a very short time, unlike the former frustrations of having to bend down and dip a mug or gourd to reach a dirty pool of water. Things have changed for the better, and we celebrate it. Every day after school, we rush to collect water for washing our school uniform so that we remain neat every day at school!”

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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 four times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.


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.