Buyonga Spring, Kidinye Community

Regional Program:
Western Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude 0.06
Longitude 34.74

150 Served

Project Status:

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"This spring is the happiness welling from within each one of us!"

Derrick Amisi

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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

This unprotected spring is located on Mr. Alfred Igunza’s land, approximately three kilometers from Kidinye Secondary School where we built a rainwater catchment tank (click here to check out that project!). Geographically, it is found in Kidinye Village, Ikumba sub-location, Central Maragoli location of Vihiga County. The majority of families living around the spring are from the Maragoli people, a sub-tribe of the larger Luhya Tribe of Western Kenya. These people practice farming of different crops such as maize, cassava, tea and beans and raise animals such as poultry, local dairy animals, etc. Each family does this over a small piece of land though, since the area is highly subdivided because of its high population.

Water Situation

Though the area is densely populated, the spring is fortunately located in a rocky area that is free from most business and agricultural activities. Buyonga Spring serves over 20 different households, or about 150 people. The number of people relying on Buyonga Spring drastically increases during the dry seasons, since neighboring springs no longer flow.

Since Buyonga Spring is unprotected, it is open to contamination from many different sources. Though there are no farms with dangerous fertilizers and pesticides, we noticed that open defecation threatens the water. During the rains, any human or animal waste is washed into the spring’s water. It is also contaminated by people who dip their hands and buckets into the water.

Moreover, it takes a long time to draw water from Buyonga Spring! If you look at the pictures in the “See Photos & Video” section, you will see that the community has improvised a discharge pipe. This small pipe only yields a little water and is located inconveniently low.

Women and children are those seen most at the spring to fetch water. They use buckets and jerrycans, most of which do not have covers. Once home, the water meant for drinking is normally poured into a container with a lid, but that water was still open to contamination on the trip home.

Sanitation Situation

About 70% of families here have a pit latrine of their own. Most of these were too old; smelly, dirty, and almost full. As we walked around the community, we observed that open defecation is an issue, particularly near the farms. Not many households had a bathing room for personal hygiene, either.

We were not able to find any hand-washing stations, nor did we see any simple tools like dish racks or clotheslines. However, everybody got very excited when we mentioned the opportunity to learn about this during hygiene and sanitation training!

We met Judith Musera, a woman who helps her family on the farm every day. She was at the spring and told us “We do face a lot of health problems related to hygiene. Even more so during dry seasons when this spring is overwhelmed and hygiene standards in most households are obviously compromised due to water scarcity.” Without enough water, people can’t keep clean.

The biggest problem in this community is malaria, though. The majority of people lack mosquito nets, and those who have them don’t have enough to protect everyone in the home. Mary Magoka, another mother here, said that the “poverty index in this region is still high. Some households are headed by either children or the elderly because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic that has swept their parents away.” Any assistance to this community will be greatly appreciated.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members will be trained for two 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. It will also result in the formation of a committee that will oversee and maintain their new spring protection system. They will take up activities such as digging extra drainage and fencing to protect the spring from wild animals. Other training participants will take up the gauntlet of health promotion; they will be community health workers responsible for teaching others about the good hygiene and sanitation practices they learned during training.

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 a few helpful hands.

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

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

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection and sanitation platforms with the community near Buyonga 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, Erick Wagaka, with you.

The Water Project : 4582_yar_5

11/21/2016: Buyonga Spring Project Complete!

We are excited to report that the project to protect Buyonga Spring in Kidinye 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

We arrived ready to start hygiene and sanitation training at 9am Saturday, August 13th.

It was really difficult to find a good time to hold training. Our contact person in the community was Mrs. Judith Musera, who had to walk door-to-door begging her neighbors to make time in their busy schedules! Those living around Buyonga Spring have been participating in extensive coming-of-age rituals with their sons. Almost every household in this community has a son of the proper age! If not participating in cultural activities, a woman or man would be on their farm. We had to reschedule multiple times. Mrs. Musera started telling people that “You must be willing to make sacrifices at times, knowing that the outcome will be worth it!”

1 kenya4582 training

13 people ended up attending. They decided to hold sessions at the spring, since taking care of the spring would be one of the topics. Other 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. Primary healthcare actually caused quite the debate among participants; we were trying to empower locals to take their health into their own hands. A common attitude people have is that “the government should take care of me, and it’s not my responsibility.” A majority agreed that they should do the best they can to prevent disease at the local level, while a few held to their opinion of government responsibility.

There were so many questions asked as people actively participated during our lessons. After our hand-washing demonstrations, a participants challenged the others saying, “Why not use a shortcut? The ten steps [of hand-washing] are unrealistic!” Later during our focused group discussions about disease transmission routes, he apologized for his rebellious attitude. Everyone saw the importance of getting rid of germs with thorough hand-washing!

kenya4582 hand-washing

Training was very successful. Many of the spring users have already dug pit latrines. In fact, beyond the five sanitation platforms e’ve already casted, four more families have made formal requests for their own platforms. A majority of community members have started treating their water. They are using the SODIS (solar disinfection) method, since all they need is a transparent container with a lid.

Jentrix Vugutsa is a local mother and farmer who has used Buyonga Spring for years, so she made sure to attend hygiene and sanitation training. She said, “The efforts of The Water Project have not only brought us many sanitation platforms but also the new technique of water purification that is very cost-effective for most of us. We know this has not come without a sacrifice, for only the equation of sweat plus sacrifice is equal to success. Please thank the donors for us, they are real Samaritans!”

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.

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. Beyond these five families, there are three others who as mentioned, have sunk pits in preparation for sanitation platforms.

4 kenya4582 construction

Project Result: Spring Protection

Spring protection construction began on August 4th.

The rocky area of the spring was excavated to create space for setting the foundation base using concrete and wire mesh. Cement was topped with a waterproof coating. After the base had settled, both wing walls and the head wall were built with bricks. The discharge pipe was fixed low through the head wall to direct water from the reservoir to the catchment area. As the wing walls and head cured, the staircases and spring basement were plastered, and tiles were placed directly below the discharge pipe. These tiles were included to reduce the erosive force of falling water.

3 kenya4582 construction

The process of plastering the wing walls and head wall on both sides followed. This was done to reinforce the brick and to stop headwaters from seeping through the walls, creating enough pressure in the collection box to push water up through the discharge pipe. The collection box was then cleaned, and waters from all the spring eyes were channeled into it. The drainage area was filled with clean hardcore and covered with a polythene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination. Finally, landscaping and cut-off drains were made to direct surface water away and keep it from pooling.

The biggest challenge to this project was the cultural initiation rites that lasted all of August. Our artisan needed help collecting construction materials and excavation, but all of the men and boys were caught up in their activities. Still, these lovely community members wasted no coin on construction materials. Instead, girls and women harvested sand and transported it to the spring. Children hammered down rocks into ballast and hardcore. In Kenya, this would be considered child labor, so we cautioned the community against it! But children were so eager to help their mothers and to have a clean water source. We have learned from these schedule conflicts, and will always check for activities that could be local to each community in the future.

It’s also important to recognize the sacrifices made by our own skilled artisan from WEWASAFO, who had to travel a long distance from home. One of the families near the spring offered a room in their home, but our artisan had to decline. His wife had just given birth to twins, and she had nobody else to take care of her!

The number of households going to Buyonga Spring has already increased. “We are happy that our village was considered as one of the beneficiaries of this project. Everyone is happy that we now fetch our water with ease, said Mrs. Judith Musera. Mrs. Musera is pictured below with her baby and husband in front of the latrine they constructed.

10 kenya4582 finished latrine

Mrs. Musera’s neighbor, Mr. Derrick Amisi, was very excited when he saw the finished spring. He noted that the discharge pipe was in the perfect position that allows people to comfortably place their jerrycan below to catch water. Before, the improvised pipe fixed between stones forced many people to carry smaller cups to fill their jerrycans, or to go home with jerrycans half full. He said, “Life has more meaning when the component that adds taste to it is a spring of life that puts a smile on the faces of its users, joy in our hearts, and assurance that we are safe. This spring is the happiness welling from within each one of us!”

8 kenya4582 protected spring

We are grateful for everyone who contributed to make this project a success!

The Water Project : 6-kenya4582-protected-spring

10/26/2016: Buyonga Spring Protection Project Underway

We are excited to let you know that work is happening around Buyonga Spring. As can be seen in the picture, our artisans have arrived and begun construction. Hygiene and sanitation training will also invite community members to learn about healthy habits they can adopt in their daily lives. 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 soon.

Thank You for caring for the thirsty!

The Water Project : 1-kenya4582-construction

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Vihiga, Kidinye
ProjectID: 4582
Install Date:  11/14/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 06/01/2017

Visit History:
11/01/2016 — Functional
12/03/2016 — Functional
03/01/2017 — Functional
06/01/2017 — Functional

A Year Later: Buyonga Spring

November, 2017

Since this spring was protected and some homes given sanitation stations, there has been a great improvement in terms of hygiene and sanitation in this community.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection and sanitation platforms with the community near Buyonga 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, Erick Wagaka, with you.

The community who use Buyonga Spring have recorded a tremendous change ever since this spring was discovered for use, courtesy of the spring protection initiative. Because the community members took heed of what they got from the hygiene and sanitation training, the rates of diarrhea outbreak have reduced. Now they know what it takes to maintain WASH facilities unlike before this venture. Most of the household environments are also clean and one can walk freely without fear of stepping on unnecessary waste. They have also learned about safe garbage disposal, not just anywhere as they used to.

Judith Musera, Treasure of the Water User Committee, was happy to share her thoughts about the spring protection as well. “Since this spring was protected and some homes given sanitation stations, there has been a great improvement in terms of hygiene and sanitation in this community. The community elder keeps urging everyone to clean his/her environment. Because of the health message given during the training on environmental hygiene, the majority have applied them in their households. The sanitation platforms that were installed have also helped to cut down rampant open defecation cases. The spring protection has been a big blessing to us indeed. We now have clean water thus reduction in diarrhea cases in the area.”

As children, absenteeism in school because of diarrhea cases has greatly reduced,” says 11-year-old Sherline Awinja. “This is because we drink safe water from this spring. When we get home in the evening we don’t waste a lot of time in the spring waiting for others to fetch water. This time round we rush and get water fast then get enough time to do our homework. The spring area is clean and since almost all homes have latrines so that reduces the rate of open waste disposal. I would like to thank those that brought this project here,” she says.

We reached several spring users who were told to reach out to the rest on ways of maintaining this spring in order for it to survive over time. This information was also shared with the other spring users in neighboring communities that at times gets water from this very spring. We will continue to monitor this project and visit the community to ensure a healthy lifestyle.

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.


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.