Shitaho Community

Regional Program:
Western Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude 0.26
Longitude 34.77

189 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

A normal day in Shitaho Community starts at 5:30AM when parents wake up to help their children prepare for school. Once children are sent out the door, parents take care of morning chores. These include fetching water from the local spring, washing dishes, collecting firewood, and many other tasks. After these are done, they work on the farm to grow vegetables and tend to the banana trees. Around 10AM, local “mamas,” or businesswomen, carry a tray of vegetables and bananas to see at the local market. They walk to the market with the faith that they will sell all they have; they never forget their empty bottles saved for the kerosene they will buy at the end of the day. When the mamas get back home, they start cooking dinner for their families.

Women in Shitaho Community appear to have the longest list of responsibilities. Families are basically fueled by woman power. The men tend to leave their farms early to join their friends for alcohol. Women overstretch to cover for their husbands’ laziness, trying to pay for both household needs and school fees. This project is bringing these lifestyles to light. Men have already started to realize how much their wives do for them and their children, and they’re starting to come around and embrace community development. The men have vowed to join hands with the women to bring lasting change to Shitaho Community.

Shitaho Community is home 189 people from 27 different households.

Water Situation

These 189 people rely on Jared Spring for their water. Women tend to use a 20-liter plastic container, and children opt for a lighter 5-liter container.

The community fixed a pipe at the mouth of the spring to siphon water out and into the container. A woman and a child just has to set their container down and wait for it to fill; the hard part is lifting it up and bringing it back home! Once home, the water is normally consolidated in a 100-liter plastic barrel. If the family needs more drinking water, it is poured into a covered clay pot stored in either the kitchen or living room.

We know that Jared Spring is contaminated because of the numerous reports of waterborne disease. Our visit to the spring confirmed this fact; the water flowing up to the pipe is open and subjected to erosion, surface runoff, and animals.  Jared Spring is also located at the bottom of a slope, with rain often funneling contaminants straight into the water.

Sanitation Situation

Under half of households in Shitaho Community have their own pit latrine. The ones observed are made of mud walls, sugar sacks for doors, and grass for roofs. Logs are lain out over the pit to form a floor on which users have to balance. Since so few families have their own pit latrine, open defecation is an obvious issue.

We found no hand-washing stations and only a few helpful sanitation tools like dish racks or clotheslines. Garbage is often piled up at the edge of the banana plantations. The garbage pile is burned when it gets too high.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

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.

Training will also result in the formation of a committee that will oversee operations and maintenance at the spring. They will enforce proper behavior around the spring and delegate tasks that will help preserve the site, such as building a fence and digging proper drainage.

Plans: Sanitation Platforms

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrines.

Training will also inform the community and selected families on what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, such as bricks, clean sand, hardcore, and ballast. The five families must prepare by sinking a pit for the sanitation platforms to be placed over. All community members must 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 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. Mrs. Rose Mukoshi said, “We are ready and willing to avail the required local materials because this will be an answered prayer. Ill health cases have been reported consistently as a result of use of unsafe water, unhygienic environment and ignorance about proper hygiene practices.”

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/20/2017: A Year Later: Shitaho Community

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Jared Spring in Shitaho 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 Betty Muhongo Majani with you.

The Water Project : 1-4590-yar

01/13/2017: Shitaho Community Project Complete

We are excited to report that the project to protect Jared Spring in Shitaho, 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 began on October 4th, 2016 and was held at Mrs. Rose Mukoshi’s home. Mrs. Mukoshi is a very well known and active community member who dived right into this project. She was honored to host such an important training at her home. We worked with the village elder, Mr. Miwa, to notify all of the community members about the time and place.

Training was attended by 11 participants, out of which six were female and five were male. They were active and interested in the topics, asking questions especially about how to build a good pit latrine.

1 kenya4590 training

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.

8 kenya4590 training

By the end of the three days, participants formed a water and sanitation 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.

Mr. Godfrey Mbalilwa spoke on behalf of the other participants, saying “We are very grateful for the health messages on hygiene and family planning, in particular. The message has come so timely and have been well put as per our expectations. Besides, we are very privileged to have been taught on water point management and ways of preventing water contamination. We can never take it for granted!”

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. We will continue to encourage these five families to build walls and roofs to protect their new platforms.

28 kenya4590 sanitation platform

Project Result: Spring Protection

Construction to protect Jared Spring began on November 30, 2016.

Before any construction can really start, though, the community must gather materials such as stones and sand. Since Shitaho Community is located in an urban area next to Kakamega Town, there were no stones or clean sand to gather. Instead, construction materials are usually just purchased at the market. Community members didn’t have any money to spare, and realized that they’d need to transport these materials from the rural areas outside of town. This was a long and tedious task for volunteers who walked heavy-laden back and forth to the construction site.

12 kenya4590 construction

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 kenya4590 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 housed and fed our artisan as he worked there.

17 kenya4590 construction

Rosebella Soli is one of the local mothers who saw the transformation at Jared Spring. She said, “It is very nice just to imagine that we will be drinking water from a protected source. Women and children who come to fetch water from this spring now have an extra advantage of drawing water without fearing to slide into the water point. With this spring now protected, we hope that cases of diarrheal diseases will drastically reduce. Glory be to God for making the project a success!” Community members gathered at Jared Spring to celebrate the completion of this project. They sang songs of thanksgiving as women filled their first jerrycan of clean water.

27 kenya4590 protected spring

“Shitaho” is a local word that means “a place where water is drawn.”  Jared Spring is the first to be protected in this village. When the spring was under construction, people from the village gathered around to watch the artisan and offer any help they could. A man from a neighboring village was passing by and noticed the work being done. He asked the locals, “How much money did you pay for this spring to be protected?” He was shocked to learn that they paid nothing but their time and effort. When he heard this, he literally begged that our artisan go help him protect his village’s spring. He wouldn’t leave without drafting a formal request, asking for a pen and paper, he immediately sat down and wrote out an application letter to give to our artisan. We hope to see him again soon!

The Water Project : 20-kenya4590-protected-spring

12/08/2016: Shitaho Community Project Underway

We are excited to share that work in Shitaho Community has begun. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Jared 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. Check out the tabs above to read more about this project!

The Water Project and Shitaho Community Thank You for giving the hope of clean water and good health.

The Water Project : 5-kenya4590-family

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Kenya, Kakamega, Shitaho
ProjectID: 4590
Install Date:  01/13/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 01/31/2018

Visit History:
03/09/2017 — Functional
05/19/2017 — Functional
09/03/2017 — Functional
01/31/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Shitaho Community

December, 2017

Health has positively improved, and thus many resources that used to be spent on medication are now used for other developmental activities.

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Jared Spring in Shitaho 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 Betty Muhongo Majani with you.

During this visit to the spring, we were amazed at how much the number of people fetching water here has grown. Since the spring protection last year, more roads have constructed between Shitaho and Kakamega Town. This construction destroyed a tap system that was already in place, forcing many more to come to the spring to get clean water.

Sanitation has also improved, with the majority of families implementing what they learned during training. Compost pits, dish racks, and clotheslines were observed during this visit.

Rose giving a thumbs up for clean water!

Rose Mukoshi is the secretary of Jared Spring’s water committee. She met Betty there to talk about some what she’s seen: “I am very excited, for you have removed a thorn that was piercing so painfully. In our community everybody is excited to have access to clean and safe water. Health has positively improved, and thus many resources that used to be spent on medication are now used for other developmental activities.”

Yvonne Makanji relies on this spring to provide water for all of her needs. Most importantly, drinking.

17-year-old Yvonne Makanji came to fetch water while Betty was there. She added “I am thankful for this clean and safe water. It has improved my academic performance, since I no longer miss class lessons due to health issues that resulted in drinking dirty water from the unprotected spring.”

Betty notes that there’s great cohesiveness and unity on the water committee, and that they’re doing a lot more than just water. They’re supporting each other in economic ventures, such as farming fish.

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.


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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.