Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/07/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

A normal day in Mwichina begins at 6am. Parents get their children ready for school so that they can get to the farm before the late day's heat. From our interactions with the members of this village, we realized that a large number of people are primary school dropouts. On asking why, we learned that it was because of scarce resources here. It is difficult for parents to get their children all the way to secondary school. A number of boys drop out of school to engage in the "boda-boda" business (motorbike taxi) as the girls often marry into another family at a young age.

Water Situation

Community members rely on Mwichina Spring to meet all of their water needs - drinking, cooking, and cleaning. A person aims to carry as much water as possible to limit the number of trips made to the spring. Most often, an adult carries a 20-liter jerrycan and a smaller container to bail water. Jerrycans are dunked under the surface and the cup is used to fill the difference.

Mr. Elisha Abuneri reported that "this spring has been existing ever since I was born. My grandparents used it and our children are also using it."

Mwichina Spring is unprotected and open to all forms of contamination, especially during the rainy season. It's even convenient for animals that come to sate their thirst. After drinking this water, community members suffer from waterborne disease. Thomas Nabwayo told us, "Our village has been faced with water-related diseases. Cholera and typhoid have been our visitors, with a few succumbing to it. We are encouraging our members to treat their water before drinking and to put up sanitation facilities in their homes, as it is vital."

Sanitation Situation

Over half of the households in this area have a basic pit latrine made out of thatched mud with timber floors. Many of these are very rickety, putting users at risk of falling through. Most households that don't have a pit latrine share with a neighbor or extended relative, but there is also a chance that open defecation occurs. There are no hand-washing stations set aside for personal hygiene. Community members report that they most often grab some of the water they boiled in the kitchen to rinse their hands.

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. Handwashing 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.

Community members have already told us that they’re extremely excited for the chance to learn new things.

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

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Mwichina Community, Mwichina 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.

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 Mwichina, Kenya.

We trained more than 24 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Before there were any reported cases in the area, we worked with trusted community leaders and the Water User Committee to gather community members for the training.

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.

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.

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.

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.

September, 2019: Giving Update: Mwichina Community, Mwichina Spring

A year ago, your generous donation helped Mwichina Community in Kenya access clean water.

There’s an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water at Mwichina Spring in Mwichina. Month after month, their giving supports ongoing sustainability programs that help this community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Read more…

May, 2018: Mwichina Community Project Complete

Mwichina Community now has clean water! Mwichina 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 done on sanitation and hygiene.

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held at Mr. Abuneri Atswenje's homestead since he lives so close to the spring. There was a positive response to our invitations, with a total of 34 community members in attendance. Most of these participants were women since the people here are accustomed to the traditional view that women should be most responsible for water, sanitation, and hygiene.

However, we will continue to encourage men to take equal responsibility, for these things directly affect the health of their families.

We covered several topics including 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, hygiene promotion, and many others. Since we were near the spring, we could run through hands-on management and maintenance demonstrations.

Most of the training participants followed us to the spring to learn about important upkeep.

We spent an entire session on handwashing and its importance. When, how, and why should one wash their hands? We also taught participants how to construct their own handwashing stations with local and affordable materials.

Everyone kept engaged throughout training and asked questions whenever they didn't understand.

''I wish this training could go on and on. We are gaining more and more information on things some of us had no idea about,'' Elder Ochango 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 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.

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.

The spring's water was diverted so that a solid concrete foundation could be lain.

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 source area was filled up with clean hardcore and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination. Community members were prepared to get water as soon as they knew the concrete was dry. We met them there as they filled their plastic containers full of clean water.

"We promise to take good care of the spring and encourage all our members to be a part of the group (water committee) we are forming," Mr. Abuneri said.

"This will help us improve economically as a community."

February, 2018: Mwichina Community Project Underway

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

Giving Update: Mwichina Community, Mwichina Spring

September, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Mwichina Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Jane Mandela. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mwichina 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!

There has been peace and harmony in Mwichina since the protection of Mwichina Spring last year.

Before the protection of this spring, women could come and start gossiping about one another as they waited a long time for the water to clear up before fetching it, and while they waited their turn in line. Now the source is well protected and no more than two minutes are wasted at the spring to fill up.

A year later, the spring is well-maintained and the community has even proactively collected money from each household, just in case repairs may be needed. Nathan Mbaye, a community member in Mwichina, shared some of his thoughts on how the WaSH projects have impacted his life over the last year.

"Some of us didn't have our own latrines and we used to share the same latrine with our in-laws which is against the culture in this place. But since the introduction of [the] sanitation platform, we now own a latrine and this has enhanced respect amongst ourselves."

20-year-old Jane Mandela also met us at the spring. Jane, along with the rest of her family, depends on Mwichina Spring for their daily water needs.

"Personally my life has really changed because I could spend a lot of time at the spring waiting for the water to clear up and yet I had homework that I was to do," Jane explained.

"Nowadays we have every reason to smile because we can access the source and draw water immediately and the water is very clean. We are not worried at all. "

Nathan, Jane, and Field Officer Betty at the spring with Jane's son

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 Mwichina 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 Mwichina 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.