Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Program: Kenyan Spring Protection

Impact: 160 Served

Project Phase:  Decommissioned

Project Features

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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 Ematere Village, Shieywe Location, Lurambi Constituency of Kakamega County. Munanga Spring serves 160 people, 98 females and 62 males who are from 20 different households. Community members have used the spring for a very long time, and have noticed that the water flow has decreased as a result of climate change. These households use the water for drinking, cooking, washing and bathing. Domestic animals also drink from this same source.


People have to walk as far as 2 km to find a spring other than Munanga. They search for other sources in order to reduce the recent outbreaks of water-related sicknesses. They recount that these complications, such as diarrhea, typhoid, and strange skin diseases, have taken the lives of neighbors. Since then, the community has been feared into constantly searching for new water sources.

Fetching water from these other springs has cost precious time, causing the village to lag behind in development. Secondly, traveling to other springs is financially costly. Landowners force outsiders to pay for each visit to their own community spring. While the Munanga community pursues these costly endeavors, their own spring remains contaminated. This contamination is caused by rainwater run-off, bathing, animals, and children's play.

Protecting this spring will help ensure that there is enough water to go around. There are many factors that can contribute to a spring's low yield, and this project will alleviate many of these problems. Building a proper catchment area will keep water from mixing with and sinking into the muddy spring bed. People will no longer have to wait for water to settle. An installed spout will provide a steady flow of water more efficiently than the spring's natural flow.  And, most importantly - water will be now be safe for the community!

The sanitation situation is also critical. A few households have latrines, though fly-ridden and pungent. Because of this, open defecation is evident along community roads. WEWASAFO also noticed that the community does not make use of dish racks, clotheslines, compost pits, and animal housing. Puddles of stagnant dirty water are left around the community, allowing for the breeding of flies and mosquitoes.

The community is enthusiastic about this project's prospects! They join hands, unified and prepared to protect their spring. The Village Elder urges WEWASAFO to help them begin construction and teach the community about hygiene and sanitation.

Water and Sanitation Management Committee Training

This training was held from November 17-18 at Mary Munanga's compound. All of the training had to be conducted inside her home because of heavy rains. There was a total of 16 women in attendance. The purpose of these sessions was to equip the committee with the skills needed to maintain and mange their spring.

The committee will take ownership of this project by contributing 20%, thus greatly increasing its sustainability. They will need to provide the following local materials: hardcore, ballast, bricks, clean sand, and fencing poles. They must also be prepared to host work teams throughout the construction process.

The committee also selected five households that will most benefit from new sanitation platforms (easy-to-clean concrete latrine floors). These families will have to sink their own pits and provide extra sand, bricks, and wall materials. These new latrines will decrease the level of open defecation present in the village.

The committee was informed of their responsibilities at the spring:

- Provide security and set rules

- Plant grass and indigenous species

- Build a fence

- Maintain and repair

- Register the committee

- Run income-generating activities

Beyond protecting the spring's water, the committee can also promote the following hygiene practices:

- Boiling and treating water

- Using mosquito nets

- Draining stagnant water

- Washing hands

- Constructing latrines

- Using a life straw

The participants appreciated the workshop and requested a review training in the future. It was agreed that the facilitator would return in three months to do so, when WEWASAFO will also check the status of the spring protection process.

Community Health Worker Training

The community health worker (CHW) training was held from November 19-20 at Mary Munanga's homestead. It was attended by 15 community members, all of which were female. The training purposed to equip these women with the skills needed to practice and promote good hygiene practices in their community. After the sessions, they are expected to reach out to at least five households in order to share what they learned.

Participants brainstormed a list of common diseases and their preventative measures. For malaria, households can use mosquito nets, drain stagnant water, and clear bushes. The facilitator used pictures to illustrate how diseases are transmitted and that the core cause of many of them is fecal matter. Barring this transmission can be done by interacting with the environment in a healthy way, such as always using latrines and washing hands.

Participants went on a transect walk through their community, identifying and evaluating sanitation facilities such as bathing rooms, latrines, compost pits, dish racks, clotheslines, and hand-washing stations. Almost nobody had constructed a dish rack, hand-washing station, or compost pit.

This group also attended a session on proper food and water handling, personal hygiene, environmental hygiene, and hand-washing. There are 10 steps to thorough hand-washing, and each woman had a chance to practice in front of the group. This will also be important information to pass on to each of the five households.

The facilitator listed the roles of a CHW:

- Make sure each household has sanitation facilities

- Educate pregnant women on health matters

- Make sure kitchen gardens are planted with indigenous species

Five people in the group were elected to take the title of CHW.

Participants were very happy with the training and agreed to practice and share everything they learned.

Project Results:

Spring Protection

The protection of Munanga Spring is complete and is now in use by community members. This spring initially served 20 households but now serves over 20 households. This population increase is because many families heard the good news about accessible clean water. The community is very happy that their water is now safe for consumption, thanks to the construction that prevents contamination from both surface runoff and human activities.

A community member rejoices that she no longer has long walks ahead of her, saying, 'It is now easy for us to fetch water from the spring, it saves a lot of time and the water is always sufficient and clean even when it rains." And old woman villager also voiced her gratitude to the donors, saying that the protection of the spring will act as a stepping stone for development in the community; she says that the lessons they learnt from training had helped them start health groups that are now conducting income-generating activities.

Cases of waterborne diseases have been gradually decreasing. The village elder says that "since we started consuming this water after protection, no case of ailment has been reported, not even simple stomachaches." He says that money that had been saved for treatment can instead be used for children's education and community development.

Household Sanitation Platforms

Hygiene and sanitation standards around the spring have also improved tremendously. The trainings conducted on the importance of sanitation facilities such as latrines have really made an impact. As of now, all homesteads in the spring vicinity have latrines as other homesteads further out are in the process of constructing them. The five families that benefited from new sanitation platforms are now using them. They are very grateful, saying that the platforms were easy to install and are easy to clean and use.

Living standards were instantly improved and will continue to improve now that the community has access to clean water. This especially alleviates the burdens previously on women and children who are responsible for all domestic chores.

Thank You for unlocking potential in the Munanga Spring Community.

Project Updates

November, 2019: A New Direction at Munanga Spring

Projects, like water itself, are fluid.

Sometimes there are unique circumstances that can neither be resolved nor reversed that turn a well-loved water point into one that has failed to meet the expectations of both the community it serves and our own commitment to help provide access to safe and reliable water.

Unfortunately, Munanga Spring is no longer meeting the water needs of Ematere community members, despite repeated efforts, spent resources, and a lot of patience from the community and our team. As a result, we are decommissioning this water point.

It is important to note that the community members, area leaders, and water user committee have all been involved in the entire decommissioning process. In the instance of Munanga Spring, since protection it has fluctuated between having a low discharge to being seasonally dry when the rainy season ends. After carefully excavating the spring to evaluate all elements of its construction, no issues were identified and all eyes of the spring were found intact and directing into the spring box.

However, the most pressing concern is that someone has constructed a pit latrine within a 30-meter radius uphill of the spring. This means that inherently, the waste is infecting the groundwater that is feeding the spring. Our water quality testing confirms that the water is contaminated and not fit for human consumption. Because this contamination cannot be reversed even if the latrine were no longer in use, the community agreed that decommissioning it was the best course of action.

While we will no longer be monitoring this water point in the same way we do others, we are actively working with this community to identify a different water point that may be viable for protection or construction in their area. We will be sure to share another update on our future progress as we continue to work toward our promise of providing clean, safe, and reliable water to those who need it most.

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.


SVPC Small Group
Madison Valley Baptist Church
3 individual donor(s)