Ogola Spring

Regional Program:
Western Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude 0.45
Longitude 34.74

500 Served

Project Status:

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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

Mukhonje Village is highly populated, with about 600 people from 85 different households. (Editor’s Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people.  This community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)

Normal days in this village start even earlier than  those in neighboring communities. The men wake up and go directly to where they are brewing alcohol from sugarcane. After they’ve checked on that, they’ll head to the sugarcane plantation. This all happens around 5 am, when the children are forced to rush to the unprotected spring and fetch water to prepare breakfast and baths. Women are on their toes finishing the house chores so that they can later join their husbands on the farm. If not working on a sugarcane farm, a woman might be found in her own household garden nurturing cassava or potatoes. If the family has harvested enough crops, a woman might also venture to the local market to set up a booth.

Since everybody here has such a busy schedule, there is very little crime.

Water Situation

The water source this community relies on is Ogola Spring. Its water is used for drinking, cooking, cleaning, watering animals, and irrigating farms during the dry season.

The children bring small cups or bowls to help fill a larger jerrycan. If this small container is forgotten, a person is forced to cup their hands and fill the jerrycan. Since the source is unprotected, it is open to contamination from many different sources. When it rains, feces, chemicals, and other waste can wash into the water. Animals have free reign to drink directly from the water. Since so many households rely on Ogola Spring, it is often over congested with long waiting lines. During our visit, contamination was evident, and locals described the constant illnesses suffered after drinking this water. Most living here have spent a lot of money treating diarrhea and typhoid.

Sanitation Situation

Over half of households have pit latrines, but most of them are in bad shape. Floors are made of mud and cow dung, and the walls are made of woven banana fibers. Less that a quarter of families have a place to wash their hands after using the latrine. They don’t even have helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines to dry belongings up off the ground. Trash disposal is a huge concern in this area. Most families tend to throw their garbage in the kitchen garden, and the others just throw it all over the compound.

Mr. Gerishon Matsanza, the assistant chief, took us on a tour of his village. He said, “I am humbled by your visit in our community, but am totally ashamed to disclose the health situation at hand. Indeed we are lagging behind in terms of developments since most of the people have been spending time and resources going to the hospital. This is because most are affected by typhoid and diarrhea and also lack proper information on sanitation and hygiene, thus causing their health to deteriorate.”

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). The sessions will result in the formation of a water user committee that will oversee and maintain the spring protection. It will also result in the education of community health workers who are tasked with educating other neighbors in the village.

Based on our tour of the community, we’ve decided to highlight water handling and storage, waste disposal, and hand-washing.

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

Community members have agreed to start collecting the materials need for construction. These include sand, rocks, ballast, and hard core. When our artisans arrive, families living around the spring will offer accommodation and food. The community’s help with this project will contribute to the ownership and responsibility they take towards the spring protection.

When Ogola Spring is protected, community members will be able to spend valuable time that was previously wasted on more constructive activities. The cases of diarrhea and typhoid will decrease.

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.

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/20/2017: A Year Later: Ogola Spring

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Ogola Spring in Mukhonje Village, 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 Christine Luvandwa with you.

The Water Project : 1-4585-yar

01/03/2017: Ogola Spring Project Complete

We are excited to report that the project to protect Ogola Spring in Mukhonje 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 in an open field near the spring. Men, women, and children sat on the ground together for the three days of sessions! It was truly an honor to see how dedicated they were to improve life in Mukhonje Village.

During our first visit to this area we were lucky to meet Mr. Gerishom Matsanza, the local sub-chief. When he heard we were planning for training, he decided to take the initiative of inviting and mobilizing families. He recruited village elders to go door to door announcing the time and place for training sessions with the aim of getting at least one representative from each household.

4 kenya4585 training

When we arrived for the first session, we found participants already there and waiting for us to begin. There was a total of 20 participants who were eager to learn.

Training topics included but were not limited to leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; the spread of disease and prevention. We also covered water treatment methods, environmental hygiene, and hygiene promotion. We also took a session to emphasize proper maintenance of the spring protection project. The community should refrain from washing clothes, water animals, farming with fertilizers, and open defecation in the vicinity. We encouraged positive activities such as building a fence and digging proper drainage, which will prevent water pollution.

Hand-washing was both discussed and demonstrated. It is one of the most important barriers in preventing disease. Hands should be washed after visiting the latrine, before cooking, before and after eating, after shaking hands, and after handling garbage. We also taught locals how to build a hand-washing station out of sticks, rope, and plastic containers.

6 kenya4585 training

By the end of the three days, participants formed a water user 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. They will continue to keep their neighbors accountable so that the overall community can experience improved health.

We asked review questions to check for understanding. Participants answered these correctly, and even dared us to pay them an unannounced visit over the next couple of weeks! They promised that when we visit, we’ll notice improvements in both sanitation facilities and hygiene practices.

Francis Temesi is a 42-year-old farmer who attended the sessions on behalf of his family. “We have suffered as a result of poor hygiene, contaminated water, and poorly-kept environment. That problem is now dead and buried. We shall embrace hygiene and practice what we have been taught,” he promised.

3 kenya4585 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.

15 kenya4585 sanitation platform

Project Result: Spring Protection

Construction to protect Ogola Spring began on December 3rd.

After a spring is earmarked for protection, our artisan arrives to clear the construction site. All bushes and trees are felled with machetes. This is followed by excavating up the slope from the spring output. Ballast is then mixed with cement and sand to make concrete. A wire mesh is lain on the excavated space before the concrete is added in order to create a strong foundation. This foundation is left to cure overnight.

10 kenya4585 construction

On the second day, the walls are raised with brick. The artisan then installs a pipe low in the collection wall to direct water from the reservoir to a concrete or plastic spring box. He then backfills the spring source with hardcore until water is flowing from the discharge pipe. The area around the spring is then landscaped, fenced, and drainage is dug.

The community helped by gathering sand, bricks, hardcore, and fencing poles. They also cooked for and housed our work team during their stay.

22 kenya4585 protected spring

The only challenge to project implementation was the great distance between our offices and this village. Despite the long, poorly constructed roads, our team was still able to make it on time for training.

Sub-Chief Gerishon Matsanza led the celebration when construction around Ogola Spring was done. “Thank you for coming in to protect the spring. This enables the community to access clean and safe water for domestic use and human consumption. The committee officials together with the community health workers will ensure that this project is well-managed and maintained to serve four or even five generations to come,” he announced. Though community members didn’t bring chairs for training, they lugged them to the handing over ceremony. Prayers of thanks were made in Nyasaye, the local tongue, and youth performed traditional dance. The water of Ogola Spring now brings health instead of sickness!

The Water Project : 19-kenya4585-protected-spring

10/25/2016: Ogola Spring Protection Project Underway

Thanks to your help, we are excited to share that work around Ogola 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 tabs above that contain community information, pictures, and GPS coordinates.

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

The Water Project : 2-kenya4585-unprotected-spring

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Kakamega, Mukhonje, Ogola
ProjectID: 4585
Install Date:  01/03/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 01/16/2018

Visit History:
02/27/2017 — Functional
05/09/2017 — Functional
08/22/2017 — Functional
01/16/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Ogola Spring

December, 2017

These days, less time is spent and more is used for studying. My grades have improved!

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Ogola Spring in Mukhonje Village, 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 Christine Luvandwa with you.

The community living around Ogola Spring is feeling happy and secure as they drink clean water from their protected spring. Before last year, they were constantly worried about their health and especially the health of their children.

Sorophina, having filled her container with clean water from Ogola Spring.

We met with Sorophina Dinda at Ogola Spring to talk about how life in Mukhonje has changed with clean water. She said, “The users of this water have increased since the spring was protected; now people from the neighboring village are all coming to get water from our spring. This makes us line up to get the water. We cannot chase them away because they are our immediate neighbors and we will need their help in other areas.”

16-year-old Judith Omala has been benefiting from the clean water too. “As a primary school student, I now have an easy time fetching water for our home. I used to have a hard time because we had to fetch water using small containers, and it was challenging as other users left the water dirty and I had to wait for it to settle. This all cut into my study time. These days, less time is spent and more is used for studying. My grades have improved!” she rejoiced.

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.