Wuluvai Spring

Regional Program:
Western Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude 0.08
Longitude 34.76

270 Served

Project Status:

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"As a mother, I am very much confident that we shall no longer worry about risks that we used to expose ourselves to by consumption of contaminated water. I have personally witnessed the transformation brought to this community!"

Emmy Agaziva

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Stories and 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

Wuluvai Spring is located in Minyika Village, Kivagala sub-location, North Maragoli location, Sabatia Ward, Sabatia sub-county of Vihiga County. Wuluvai Spring has been used for drinking water since its discovery by community members in 1924. Now, 270 people from 30 different households rely on this unprotected spring.

The people around Wuluvai Spring are peasant farmers who work the land every day. They grow crops such as sugarcane, potatoes, and other kinds of vegetables for their families, and grow crops to sell such as tea leaves. It is a hilly area that experiences a good level of rainfall.

We found out about Wuluvai Spring and the surrounding community while completing a project at Hedwe Spring. One of the community members who fetches water from Hedwe Spring mentioned the plight of their neighbors. When we heard this, we decided to pay a visit to Wuluvai Spring.

Water Situation

An unprotected spring is one that is open to contamination. Wuluvai Spring is particularly contaminated by nearby farms; when it rains, fertilizers and pesticides are washed into the water. Animal and human waste also joins the mix of contamination.

There is so much activity around the spring, between children playing and animals roaming free. The water is also dirtied during the fetching process. Women and children bring small containers to dunk for filling their larger 20-liter jerrycans. When full, the water container is supported on the head and carried approximately a half kilometer back home. When home, water is separated by use. Drinking water is stored in covered clay pots to keep it cool, and water for cleaning is either poured into 100-liter plastic containers or kept in the fetching container.

Some women boil or treat their water with chemicals before serving it to their families, but there is still a high risk of waterborne disease such as typhoid and cholera. Many people here choose to travel long distances in search of clean water instead of drawing it from their unprotected spring. We met Peter Kakeyi, a farmer who drinks the water from Wuluvai Spring. He said “I suffered a stomachache just a week ago after drinking raw water from this Wuluvai Spring!”

Sanitation Situation

Under half of households in this area have their own pit latrine. These are made with mud walls, grass, and rusty iron sheets. The floors are packed down with cow dung. The biggest challenge is floor upkeep; they get filthy but are near impossible to clean. During our visit, it was obvious that open defecation is an issue because of the lack of latrines.

We were able to find at least one place to wash hands, but more emphasis needs to be put on cleanliness. The community is ready and willing to attend hygiene and sanitation training to learn about the practices they can adopt to lead healthier lives.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

This community requires training on good hygiene and sanitation practices for them to improve the environment they live in. They will learn about how to keep a clean environment and maintain personal hygiene.

Community members will be trained for three days on a variety of health, hygiene and sanitation topics. This training will result in community members donning the roles of health workers and water user committee members. The training facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Training), CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), and ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) methods to teach community members, especially the women and children who feel the burden of household responsibility. Training will equip each person with the knowledge needed to practice viable and effective health solutions in their homes and at the spring.

During training, we will take this community on a transect walk to sensitize them to some of the more serious health threats. 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.

Plans: Sanitation Platforms

The five families chosen by the community will receive a sanitation platform, which is a concrete floor that makes a great foundation for a safe and clean latrine. These families will prepare by sinking a pit that the concrete slab can be placed over. These five new latrines will go a long way in reducing the level of open defecation in this community!

Plans: Spring Protection

Locals are eagerly preparing for this spring protection project. They have agreed to gather the local materials needed for construction to begin, which include sand, ballast, hardcore, bricks, fencing poles, and even some helpful hands!

These people are in need of safe and clean water to eliminate waterborne disease and thus save time and money that is spent on treatment. This time and money can be invested in economic activities. Students can stay in school all the time, and academic performance will improve.

Once Wuluvai Spring is protected, locals will have clean water for drinking, domestic chores, and farm irrigation.

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/15/2017: A Year Later: Wuluvai Spring

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection and sanitation platforms with the community near Wuluvai Spring in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners can 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, Wilson Kipchoge, with you.

The Water Project : 4580_yar_1

11/28/2016: Wuluvai Spring Project Complete

We are excited to report that the project to protect Wuluvai Spring in Minyika Village, 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 spring protection 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! And please enjoy the rest of the report from our partner in Kenya:

Project Result: New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held right outside of Mr. Peter Kakayi’s home. This was central to and convenient for all participants, and Mr. Kakayi’s property also boasted many trees to share our venue.

Mr. Kakayi was our contact person leading up to training as well. He reached out to all users of Wuluvai Spring, inviting them to attend training regardless of age or gender. Everyone should have information about clean water, hygiene, and sanitation practices.

Our first training session was held on a sunny day with few clouds in the sky. Most participants arrived on time, but a few were a bit late. Total attendance was 15 community members, who actively participated by asking and answering questions.

7 kenya4580 training

Topics covered included but were not limited to healthcare, environmental health, common local diseases, building disease barriers, water handling, and personal hygiene. Hand-washing was highlighted as one of the simplest and most effective disease barriers. We also taught participants how to build latrines, clotheslines, and dish racks.

By the end of the three days, participants formed a water user committee to oversee and maintain the spring protection. Other participants were equipped with the knowledge to become community health workers. These workers will be responsible for sharing what they learned with the rest of their community by making door-to-door visits. Mr. Ainea Musungu expressed his gratefulness after training. He said “Today is a big day for me because I have been hearing people talk of a seminar but have never attended one; all that has been said about hygiene is true! If anyone is not willing to follow what has been said concerning having a clean compound and personal hygiene, then he or she is like an animal!”

1 kenya4580 training

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. Mrs. Janet Ambani’s family benefited from one of these new platforms. She said that “This project has come at the right time for me, because I had given up on having my own latrine. I dug the pit but had lacked materials for casting the slab, but thanks to you for coming and rescuing me from my lost hopes! I will work hard to erect the superstructure for my latrine.” Below is a picture showing a woman with her new sanitation platform near the pit for her latrine.

16 kenya4580 sanitation platform

Project Result: Spring Protection

Construction to protect Wuluvai Spring began on September 20th.

Construction included clearance and leveling of the site, excavation work, casting of the slab foundation, setting up brickwork for the entire structure i.e, the head wall and wing walls, installing the drawing pipe, building a staircase, plastering the walls and the floor, curing, backfilling to allow clean water to flow, planting grass to conserve the catchment area, erecting fencing to prevent people and animals from stepping in the spring, and digging drainage to prevent soil erosion. That’s quite the list!

8 kenya4580 construction

The community helped us by collecting 20 wheelbarrows full of clean sand, eight wheelbarrows of ballast, 250 bricks, hardcore, and fencing poles. They also fed our artisans and provided accommodations. Everything went well because this community was very organized. The only challenge was that most of the local men helping our artisan were elderly. They often got tired and needed to rest, but they did their best!

Mrs. Tokesi Oyara feared the trek down to the spring in her old age. This spring protection has made things a lot safer, both for fetching water and for drinking it! Mrs. Oyara said “This new safe water source is so good and beautiful. Drawing water from this source has been made easy by building staircases that have made us women to fetch water without risking to slide into the water source.”

14 kenya4580 protected spring

Mrs. Emmy Agaziva is another woman who fetches water at Wuluvai Spring. She couldn’t stop talking about all of the good things that come with clean water:

“For a very long period of time, I have been consuming unsafe water and telling God to have mercy on us that we may not get sick or even die because of dirty water. But now I am more than happy that my prayer has been answered. As a mother, I am very much confident that we shall no longer worry about risks that we used to expose ourselves to by consumption of contaminated water. I have personally witnessed the transformation brought to this community!”

The Water Project : 10-kenya4580-protected-spring

10/26/2016: Wuluvai Spring Protection Project Underway

We are excited to inform you that work to protect Wuluvai Spring is ongoing. 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.

Community members have come alongside our artisans in Kenya to construct the spring protection and five sanitation platforms, and things are going smoothly.

Thank You for caring for the thirsty!

The Water Project : 1-kenya4580-construction

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Vihiga County, Sabatia, North Maragoli, Kivagala, Minyika Village
ProjectID: 4580
Install Date:  11/14/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 02/25/2018

Visit History:
11/01/2016 — Functional
12/03/2016 — Functional
02/28/2017 — Functional
05/31/2017 — Functional
02/25/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Wuluvai Spring

November, 2017

“Nowadays we fetch safe, clean water which is free from any contamination, thus, we are not getting sick.”

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection and sanitation platforms with the community near Wuluvai Spring in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners can 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, Wilson Kipchoge, with you.

The community members are now able to access safe water and sound sanitation because of the protected spring. Before the project was initiated, many people used to consume contaminated water while others shared latrines with their neighbors.  The people of Wuluvai spring work tirelessly in their farms to ensure that they provide food for their families. The environment around the spring looks green and full of fresh air from the surrounding trees.

“I can really say yes my life has been changed by this project,” says community member Tokes Oyara. “Since last year, we are now able to use safe water from this protected spring. Also, some of us did not have our own latrines but since the introduction of sanitation platform, we have seen a very big difference.”

“Nowadays we fetch safe, clean water which is free from any contamination,” explains 9-year-old Joseph Kedemi. “Thus, we are not getting sick every now and then.”

The community could use more information on new techniques of overcoming emerging challenges regarding water and sanitation. The staff will be carrying out regular monitoring and evaluation to make any necessary interventions and will do more trainings when necessary.

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.


Project Sponsor - Christopher J Butz

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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.