Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 240 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/10/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

A normal day for the people of Shihingo begins very early in the morning when they get up to eat breakfast. They want to get out to their farms in the morning hours to beat the hot noontime sun. If an adult doesn't spend the majority of their time on a farm, then they're out looking to get hired by others for manual labor.

Farmers use a lot of what they grow to nourish their families, selling the surplus at the local market. This area is special because it is on the highway that connects three counties: Kakamega, Bungoma, and Uasin-Gishu. This gives small businesses great opportunities to sell their products to those traveling to and fro.

Mr. Lukulu is the village elder here, and he is the one who formally reached out for help.


Hundreds in Shihingo rely on Mulambala Spring's water for cooking, drinking, and cleaning. Mr. Lukulu says that this spring has existed for a very long time.

A little bridge has been constructed over the spring so that people can access the deepest part without getting their feet wet. Women carry 20-liter jerrycans that they plunge under the water in an attempt to fill it, but they must use a smaller container to fill it the rest of the way.

This spring is entirely open to contamination. It is even worse after it rains when rain washes debris into the water. There is algae floating on top, and the water itself is murky. After drinking this water, community members suffer from diarrhea, coughs, stomachaches, headaches - often ending in a typhoid diagnosis.


While the majority of families have pit latrines, we found them to be old and dangerous. Wooden slats were used for the floor, which are finally beginning to rot away thanks to termites, weather, and overuse. It is not unheard of for these floors to break while the latrine is being used, resulting in injury or death for its user! We look forward to telling them how to not only build latrines but how to maintain them too.

What we can do:


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 the handling, storage, and treatment of water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it's consumed. Hand-washing will also be a big topic.

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.

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

August, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Margaret Masitza Mulama

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.

Our team recently visited Shihingo 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 62-year-old farmer and mother Margaret shared her story of how the coronavirus has impacted her life.

Margaret Masitza Mulama outside her home.

Field Officer Patience Wanyonyi Njeri met Margaret outside her home to conduct the interview. Both Patience and Margaret observed physical distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. Their questions and answers have been edited for clarity and length.

Margaret shares some of the changes she has seen in her community since the protection of Mulambala Spring.

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

"We now enjoy access to clean and safe water, which was not the case before when the water was exposing us to a risk of contracting waterborne diseases."

Margaret and another woman observe physical distancing at the spring.

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

"Easy access to clean and safe water eases the process of sanitation around the household."

Margaret fetches water at Mulambala Spring.

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?

"Now we have to maintain social distancing at the water point. We have to wear face masks while going to fetch water, and before and after fetching water, we have to wash our hands."

Margaret washes her hands with soap and clean water from Mulambala Spring using the tippy tap handwashing station she set up in her home compound.

How has COVID-19 impacted your family?

"My son who works in Nairobi is experiencing financial difficulties due to loss of work. He now has to survive from hand to mouth. This, in turn, affects me because he supports me. Now it gets me worried about him all the time."

Margaret with 2 of her sons at home.

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

"Wearing of face masks, washing hands using the handwashing stations installed in the households, and social distancing at the water point during drawing water."

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.

Margaret checks on her banana plants.

What restriction were you most excited to see lifted already?

"The curfew being extended, and the lifting of lockdown - now we can travel."

What restriction are you still looking forward to being lifted?

"Allowing elderly people to go to church. I am looking forward to attending church after such a long time."

Camera operator Allan Amadaro talks with Margaret during her interview.

When asked where she receives information about COVID-19, Margaret listed the radio, television, and our team's sensitization training.

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

"We have been able to social distance. and we can now make our own face masks."

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Shihingo Community, Mulambala 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.

Trainer Shigali installs a prevention reminder chart at the spring warning of COVID-19

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 Shihingo, Kenya.

We trained more than 31 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.

Trainer Olivia issues COVID-19 informational pamphlets to participants

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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

Handwashing volunteer

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.

Homemade mask tutorial

"The participants were so much impressed by the way facilitators made and installed the handwashing station close to the spring. Clayton Lugulu requested all participants to make handwashing stations in their homes and ensure that they use them correctly. He also urged participants to read the sack with COVID-19 messages every time they come to draw water and ensure that they follow what is written on the sack because it will be so bad if COVID-19 enters their village," recounted Trainer Shigali.

Sewing a mask

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 follows 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.

July, 2019: Giving Update: Shihingo Community, Mulambala Spring

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to protect Mulambala Spring for Shihingo Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories. Read more…

May, 2018: Shihingo Community Project Complete

Shihingo Community now has clean water! Mulambala 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

Hygiene and sanitation training was held on Mr. Lukulu's land, which is just a few meters from the spring. The venue was chosen because of all the trees that provided shade on such a hot day. It was also convenient to talk about how the spring works and how to make sure it lasts for years to come.

There was a great turnout. Thanks to Mr. Lukulu spreading the news about how important clean water, sanitation, and hygiene are for being healthy, we were able to train 19 community members.

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

– Handwashing and personal hygiene

– Handling water and food hygienically

– Safe waste disposal

– Water treatment

Community members practicing the 10 steps of handwashing.

We took the group over to the spring site so that the artisan could help us explain how things work.

Discussing ways to manage and maintain the spring protection.

Mrs. Sylvei Shihafu is a farmer who sacrificed her valuable time to learn these important things.

"I lack words to express my happiness for...our spring for protection and for today's powerful training on sanitation, hygiene, and other topics," she said.

Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed. These five families are happy about this milestone of having a private latrine of 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 locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, fencing poles and hardcore (crushed rock and gravel). Accommodations and meals were provided for the artisan, too. Men and women lent their strength to the artisan to help him with manual labor.

Men sifting sand that the artisan will mix with cement.

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

As the wing walls and headwall were curing, 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 headwall 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 artisan using a level to check the wall.

The source area was filled up with clean hardcore and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination. We had the chance to celebrate with two of the first women who arrived to fetch clean water from the spring. Their smiles were contagious, proof that the clean water flowing in Shihingo is already causing hope and opportunity to blossom.

Mr. Lukulu

Mr. Lukulu beamed as he watched the clear water flow from the pipe.

"Waterborne diseases for us have now become a thing of the past! As you can see, the new water source discharges clean water that's free from any form of contamination, unlike before," he said.

February, 2018: Shihingo Community Project Underway

Shihingo Community will soon have a clean, safe source of water thanks to your donation! Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Mulambala 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 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!

Giving Update: Shihingo Community, Mulambala Spring

July, 2019

A year ago, you funded the protection of Mulambala Spring at Shihingo Community in Kenya – creating a life-changing moment for Lydia Kasiti. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Shihingo Community.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shihingo Community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

Life in Shihingo Community for the users of Mulambala Spring has never been the same since the spring was protected a little over a year ago.

On a recent field visit there, we saw how the project beneficiaries are now accessing safe, clean drinking water free from any form of contamination. Initially, the community members had a lot of challenges especially during the dry spell of the year. The spring had several sources and collecting water was a time-consuming challenge. Then, last year, all of those sources were captured during protection making the water source have a high yield even during the dry spell.

The spring is quick to fill a 20L container in just 30 seconds, thus saving community members' time. Sanitation and hygiene have improved greatly as a majority of the community members now own pit latrines that are well maintained.

Lydia Kasiti and Justin Mulama

Other changes in Shihingo are evident as well and are directly tied to the spring and the hygiene training. Before a majority of villagers had no clotheslines or dish racks but now, most families do have them.

Then there are the aesthetic differences we saw. Stepping into Shihingo, you are visually drawn into the environment: each and every homestead has well-trimmed flowers that make their homes beautiful and attractive. The extra watering is only possible due to the ease of accessing water.

Justin washes his hands

For 6-year-old Justin Mulama, the spring has changed how he fetches water at home.

"For me, I no longer have the need to carry a bowl for filling my container whenever I come to fetch water here [because the source is so powerful]...we are accessing clean water free from waterborne diseases," Justin said.

Justin's mother, Lydia Kasiti, has been pleased with the changes she's seen in her community over the last year as well.

"A lot of changes have happened since [the] project implementation, [and] we are very grateful for your efforts and we don't forget our sincere gratitude for [the] WaSH projects in our community," Lydia said.

"The waterborne and water-related diseases [we] experienced before have reduced due to [these] initiatives. Further, the training held here helped our community embrace sanitation and hygiene. Handwashing after visiting the toilet was [previously] not common to us, but now we do practice it."

Field Officer Jonathan with Justin and Lydia

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shihingo Community maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Shihingo Community – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


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