Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/02/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

The people of Shitungu Village wake up very early in the morning prepare their children for school and work on their farms. The community keeps dairy cattle and grows maize, groundnuts, bananas and other vegetables. In addition to that, the men often harvest sand to sell to construction companies to earn a living.

This community is special because the money they earn from dairy farming and crop production allows them to send their children to school.


210 people from about 30 different households all report to rely on Omar Rashid Spring. The water they fetch from here is used for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and watering their crops when it doesn't rain. However, this water source is open to contamination that is causing its drinkers to fall ill. They suffer from diarrhea, headaches, and stomachaches that are often diagnosed as typhoid. And since this water slowly pools at the surface, the area has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes - making malaria a reality for those fetching water on a daily basis.

Mrs. Monica Rashid told us "The water and sanitation condition in this community is very bad. Most of the children and adults suffer from cases of diarrhea and typhoid. Getting clean water for the community has been difficult."

At the time of our visit to Omar Rashid Spring, nobody was fetching water. It was late morning, and everybody was already out working on their farms.


Quite a large number of households don't even have a basic pit latrine. In fact, at least half of them either share a latrine or practice open defecation. Most of the latrines we got to visit were made of wooden slats, mud, and iron sheets. We need to focus on hand-washing during training, because there were no hand-washing stations to be found.

We found lots of clothes drying on bushes and the ground. Extra tools are needed to keep clothes, dishes, and other belongings up off the ground.

Here's what we plan to do about it:


Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least two days. This training will ensure participants have the knowledge they need 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. One of the most important topics we plan to cover is open defecation and its dangers, as well as having and using a pit latrine.

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. The fence will keep out destructive animals, and the drainage will keep the area’s mosquito population at a minimum.

Sanitation Platforms

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

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 chosen for sanitation platforms 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.

Spring Protection

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. With the community’s high involvement in the process, there should be a good sense of responsibility and ownership for the new clean water source.

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. Furthermore, there's a mixture of Christians and Muslims in Shitungu. We're excited to see how clean water will bring together both of these religious groups.

This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water And Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Shitungu Community, Omar Rashid 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.

Facilitator Rose (right) holds the chart with a community member while a volunteer reads the prevention reminder tips to the group

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 Shitungu, Kenya.

Handwashing demonstration

We trained more than 16 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Due to public gathering concerns, 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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

Everyone practices the 10 handwashing steps

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.

Trainer Janet Kayi advises against handshake greetings due to the risk of transmission

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.

The chart installed at the spring

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.

Trainer Rose says "Do not cough into your hand, like this"

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.

May, 2018: Shitungu Community Project Complete

Shitungu Community now has clean water! Omar Rashid Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of clean water thanks to your donation. The spring is protected from contamination, five sanitation platforms have been provided for the community, and training has been given in sanitation and hygiene.

New Knowledge

A hygiene and sanitation training was held at Mr. Omar Rashid's home since he's the one living closest to Omar Rashid Spring. He also made the rounds in Shitungu to let everyone know about the big event and how important it is to learn things that will improve both community and individual health.

When we arrived, we were happy to see he managed to gather 20 participants who all sacrificed their valuable time to be there early for us.

Training participants received new notebooks and pens to help remember what they learned.

The field officer clearly communicated the areas of needed improvement for Shitungu, which included the following topics and more:

– Hand-washing and personal hygiene

– Handling water and food hygienically

– Safe waste disposal

– Water treatment

Construction at the spring had just finished, and so the entire group walked over there for a hands-on demonstration. They learned how to properly use, manage, and maintain Omar Rashid Spring. More importantly, they learned how to fetch, handle, and store clean water so as to ensure it’s still clean at the time of consumption.

Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed. These five families are happy about this milestone of having a private latrine all their own, and are optimistic that people will no longer leave waste outdoors. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

Spring Protection

Community members provided all the required locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, fencing poles and gravel. Accommodations and meals were provided for the artisan, and we asked a few people to volunteer their time and strength to help the artisan with manual labor.

The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of polyethylene, wire mesh and concrete. After the base was set, both wing walls and the headwall were set in place using brickwork. The discharge pipe was fixed low in place through the head wall to direct the water from the reservoir to the drawing area.

As the wing walls and head wall cured, the stairs were set and the tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. This reduces the erosive force of the falling water and beautifies the spring. The process of plastering the head wall and wing walls on both sides reinforces the brickwork and prevents water from the reservoir from seeping through the walls and allows pressure to build in the collection box to push water up through the discharge pipe.

The source area was filled up with clean hardcore and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination.

Since the concrete around the spring needed time to dry, we set a day to meet community members there and celebrate. This wasn’t only a chance to celebrate the concrete drying, but clean water, too!

People brought their containers to fetch clean water for the first time.

"This will help reduce waterborne diseases! The water is no safe and clean for drinking... I promise to make sure all of the community members take good care of our spring," Mr. Juma Were said.

February, 2018: Shitungu Community Project Underway

Shitungu Community will soon have a clean, safe source of water thanks to your donation! Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Omar Rashid Spring, and contend with the consequences on a daily basis. 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 here. Please take some time to get to know your community through the narrative and pictures posted to this page. We look forward to reaching out again with good news!

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!


David J Tsiang Foundation
1 individual donor(s)