Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Program: Kenyan Spring Protection

Impact: 285 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2015

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/07/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

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).

Background Information

This unprotected spring is located in Lutani Village, Handidi sub-location, Lubao location, Kambiri Ward, Shinyalu Constituency of Kakamega County. The spring is serving 25 households totaling 285 people out of which 165 are female and 120 are male. The community members use this spring for domestic and farming purposes.


There are many factors contaminating this spring. People have to step into the water as they fetch it, animals are kept near, and many other activities take place near the spring. For example, the sugarcane crop that grows near the spring is sprayed with various chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which run into the water during rainy weather. This contamination has resulted in numerous cases of stomachaches and waterborne diseases.

Since there are pools of stagnant water around the spring, malaria cases have been rampant. "Malaria to my children has become the order of the day, I never finish a month before my children are infected," says Mama Erick. Typhoid and Diarrhea are also a big problem for the community. Mrs Henry says, "I wasted Ksh 6500 treating typhoid in my family this year, if I had reared poultry I would be very far economically."

Due to lack of awareness about water pollution, many people continue to wash clothes, bathe, and water animals at the spring.

The sanitation situation in this community is critical, with many latrines in disrepair. The women say they fear their children might fall through the big holes in the floors, and thus let them find bushes for relief.

A few people are aware of the proper sanitation practices, such as using dish racks and clotheslines, but the majority lacks this awareness. No hand-washing facilities were seen around the latrines.

The community members learned about the organization during the protection of Bweselese spring. They are more than willing to contribute to this project in any way possible, and are looking forward to a more hopeful future.

Water and Sanitation Management Committee Training

WEWASAFO held training from September 29th to 30th with a total number of 15 attendees out of which eight were female and seven were male. These community members received information relevant to ensuring proper management and maintenance of Henry Jose Ongulo spring. Participants also received relevant skills on proper governance, record keeping and funds collection and management.

The workshop equipped participants to:

1. Be equipped with relevant skills for operation and maintenance of the water source

2. Facilitate acquisition and development of management and leadership skills for communities to be self-reliant

3. Enhance community capacity to effectively monitor and supervise the water catchment area and related health education activities in the village

4. Be equipped with skills to collect funds and keep records for operation and maintenance of water facilities

5. Understand channels of water pollution and prevent this from reaching the water catchment area

The facilitator used role-plays to encourage people to contribute their time and resources to improving their environment. After, community members agreed to contribute many materials needed for the protection and sanitation project.

The group also agreed on those in the community who would most benefit from sanitation platforms.

Beyond training, the group members will also have the following responsibilities:

- Acquire all needed materials for spring protection

- Acquire materials needed for the beneficiaries' sanitation platforms

- Fence in the spring

- Own and manage the spring

- Provide unskilled labor

- Formulate rules to govern the spring

- Raise funds to maintain the spring

- Keep records of the spring, monitor and evaluate activity

They worked together to estimate the community's level of water consumption, brainstormed ways to protect their water catchment area, thought of sources of pollution, and listed waterborne illnesses. With this information, the group was able to think of various ways to prevent bad health and hygiene, such as: always using latrines, cooking food thoroughly, covering food, washing hands with water and soap, and boiling and treating water.

The village elder, Mr. Henry Jose, closed the training by encouraging participants to go into the community and share what they learned.

Community Health Workers Training

WEWASAFO also invited 14 more community members to a training session held from October 1st to 2nd. These classes included the hygiene practices included above. However, these participants are not expected to carry out the same responsibilities as the committee.

Results of the project:

Spring Protection

Protection of Henry Jose spring located in Lutani Village, Handidi sub location in Lubao location of Kambiri Ward within Shinyalu constituency in Kakamega County is complete and now in use by the community members. The spring beneficiaries use the water for domestic, irrigating the farms and watering their animals.

This spring is protected and it is no longer open to contamination. The community members are now happy that they no longer have to step in the water as they fetch which has really helped in reducing the contamination rate.

After the trainings conducted by the Wewasafo wash team on operation and maintenance together with sanitation and hygiene at the spring, the community members are now aware that farming activities done very close to the water catchment area lead to contamination of the water point. With that in mind, they promised to avoid farming activities near the water source.  They are now confident that they are accessing clean safe drinking water from the spring.

Cases of continuous stomachache and out breaks of water borne diseases like typhoid and diarrhoea are expected to reduced tremendously. Also Malaria cases in the households living near the spring will reduced since the community members have take an initiatieve to create cut off drainages to avoid breeding grounds for malaria.

Since the community members are now aware of water pollution, the water sanitation management group has come up with the rules and regulations governing the spring. Beneficiaries are not allowed to wash clothes, water animals or bathe at the spring but instead should do it at their homes so as to avoid contamination of the water.

Household Sanitation Platforms

The sanitation platforms (cement slabs for safe latrine construction) for beneficiaries around the spring have been cast, installed and are now in use. Beneficiaries admitted that the slabs are safe even for the elderly and children use. They no longer worry about children falling into the latrines.

After the training conducted by Wewasafo wash team for the beneficiaries, many people are now aware of the proper hygiene practices such as having dish racks, bathing rooms, latrines  and clotheslines.

The community members are happy and very satisfied with the project and they are passing their sincere gratitude to The Water Project and their donors through Wewasafo for changing their lives.

Project Updates

August, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Keziah Ongulo

This post is part of a new series by The Water Project meant to highlight the perspectives and experiences of the people we serve and how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting them. We invite you to read more of their stories here.

At 58-years-old, Mama Keziah Ongulo keeps a lot of irons in the fire, though she might phrase it more like "a lot of trees in the nursery."

Mama Keziah Ongulo stands outside her home in Lutani.

Keziah lives in Lutani, where she depends on Henry Jose Ongulo Spring for all of her daily water needs. Some of these needs include watering her many crops and gardens, of which Keziah is very proud.

Keziah pulls down a bunch of pawpaws on one of her many fruit trees.

Her pineapple farm and pawpaw trees were doing particularly well as she pointed them out the day we visited her, equaled by her banana plants heavy with bunches of fruit. Her tree nursery, boasting of several more species, was also looking green and full of promising young saplings.

But her energy reaches beyond her carefully tended crops. Apart from her farming and family work, Keziah also serves as her area's Community Health Volunteer.

 Video Part 1: Water - Keziah reflects on changes in her community since the protection of Henry Jose Ongulo Spring.

Our team recently visited Lutani to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point. Shortly after, we returned to check in on the community, offer a COVID-19 refresher training, and ask how the pandemic is affecting their lives.

It was during this most recent visit that Keziah shared her story of how the coronavirus has impacted her life.

Field officer Karen Maruti met Keziah outside her home to conduct the interview. Both Karen and Keziah observed social distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. Their questions and answers have been edited for clarity and length.

 Video Part 2: Coronavirus Impacts & Training - Keziah shares how the pandemic has affected her family and community and how they are putting to use information they learned from our team's COVID-19 sensitization training.

What is one thing that has changed in your community since the protection of Henry Jose Ongulo Spring?

"In the past, we used to go far away in search of clean water. This caused a lot of time-wasting. Now we can access the water easily, thus saving time. The water is also very clean and waterborne diseases are a thing of the past in our lives."

Keziah fetches water at Henry Jose Ongulo Spring.

How has having a clean water point helped you through the pandemic so far?

"Having clean and safe water has enabled us to wash our hands as required. We aslo maintain a high level of hygiene so that we can curb the virus."

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Kenya, has fetching water changed for you because of restrictions, new rules, or your concerns about the virus?

"Yes, since the Corona outbreak, we go to fetch water one at a time so that we can observe social distancing. We also wash hands before going to fetch water."

Community members observe social distancing when lining up to fetch water at the spring.

How has COVID-19 impacted your family?

"Coronavirus has really affected our economy, community, and families. We no longer go to church as in the past. My daughter, who lives in Nairobi, lost her job. She was supporting our family, but now we are the ones struggling to support her as she cannot come home due to the lockdown. I also used to do menial jobs to support my family, but with Corona, we cannot go anywhere as most employers have closed down. This has seen my family struggling with making ends meet."

Keziah with family outside their home.

What other challenges are you experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

"Our children are not able to go to school, thus most of them have been roaming around aimlessly."

What hygiene and sanitation steps have you and your community taken to stop the spread of the virus?

"Each home has improvised a leaky tin for handwashing. At least there is also soap for handwashing. People are now putting on masks and observing general hygiene and social distancing so as to defeat this pandemic."

Keziah washes her hands with soap and clean water from Henry Jose Ongulo Spring using a homemade leaky tin handwashing station she set up outside her home.

Like most governments around the world, the Kenyan government continues to set and adjust restrictions both nationally and regionally to help control the spread of the disease.

What restriction were you most excited to see lifted already?

"The dawn to dusk curfew was lifted and this was exciting news as we no longer feared being out late as we engaged in our business."

Keziah points out the growing fruit in her pineapple farm.

What restriction are you still looking forward to being lifted?

"One, we look forward to the government opening up the economy so that our children can get employment again. Two, we hope schools reopen soon so that our children can go back to school."

Keziah and her son check on her tree nursery nestled within their banana farm.

When asked where she receives information about COVID-19, Keziah listed the radio, television, newspaper, loudspeaker/megaphone announcements, word of mouth, and our team's sensitization training.

What has been the most valuable part of the COVID-19 sensitization training you received from our team?

"Training on handwashing was a good refresher as many people are now washing their hands and putting on masks to prevent Corona."

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Lutani Community, Henry Jose Ongulo Spring

Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.

Homemade mask tutorial

We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to rural communities like Lutani, Kenya.

Handwashing demonstration

We trained more than 46 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Due to public gathering concerns, before there were any reported cases in the area we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

We covered essential hygiene lessons:

- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station

- Proper handwashing technique

- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing

- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.

We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:

- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19

- What social distancing is and how to practice it

- How to cough into an elbow

- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.

- How to make and properly wear a facemask.

Prevention reminders chart

During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point, along with a sign with reminders of what we covered.

Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.

Trainer emphasizes social distancing

We continue to stay in touch with this community as the pandemic progresses. We want to ensure their water point remains functional and their community stays informed about the virus.

Everyone practices the 10 steps of handwashing

Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.

Project Videos

Project Photos

Project Type

Springs are water sources that come from deep underground, where the water is filtered through natural layers until it is clean enough to drink. Once the water pushes through the surface of the Earth, however, outside elements like waste and runoff can contaminate the water quickly. We protect spring sources from contamination with a simple waterproof cement structure surrounding layers of clay, stone, and soil. This construction channels the spring’s water through a discharge pipe, making water collection easier, faster, and cleaner. Each spring protection also includes a chlorine dispenser at the waterpoint so community members can be assured that the water they are drinking is entirely safe. Learn more here!


Urban Mattress/Sleep Specialists
Delta Zeta- Lambda Kappa Chapter
2 individual donor(s)