Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 140 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/11/2023

Project Features

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Community Profile

A normal day in Musango begins when women wake up early in the morning to fetch water in order to get their children off to school and do household chores. Once they get all of the household chores done, they move on to weeding and watering their garden or farm. Men go out with their motorbikes which they use to taxi people around. Maize is the crop produced most in this community because it sells well.

Water Situation

A 70-year-old community members says that Ham Mwenje Spring has been there since he was born.

The water is contaminated by chemicals, algae, and feces. It's even worse when it rains as things are washed downhill into the water. Animals are free to come and go as they please to drink from and defecate in the water.

Many have come to trust this water source to meet all of their needs. They believe it is safe for drinking. Others disagree, saying they spent too much of the past year treating family members suffering from waterborne diseases like typhoid and cholera. Diarrhea is a common symptom that many accept as normal.

Sanitation Situation

Less than a quarter of households in the area have a basic pit latrine. As for personal hygiene, most people bathe in a huge river that passes through the area.

There are some sanitation structures in the community such as clotheslines, but a lot of important sanitation structures are missing: pit latrines, compost pits and hand-washing stations.

Here's what we're going to do about it:

Hygiene and Sanitation Training

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.

Project Updates

06/30/2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Musango Community, Ham Mwenje 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.

Handwashing demonstration with tippy tap

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 Musango, Kenya.

We trained more than 32 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.

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.

Homemade mask tutorial

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.

Awinja puts on the mask she made at training

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.

A girl shows the informational pamphlet on COVID-19 she received at training

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.

07/25/2019: Giving Update: Musango Community, Ham Mwenje Spring

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to protect Ham Mwenje Spring for Musango 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…

05/24/2018: Musango Community Project Complete

Musango Community now has clean water! Ham Mwenje 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

Community members elected Violet Seth to the organizing secretary of this water point and all of the happenings around it. She was highly responsible as our contact person who helped us arrange hygiene and sanitation training for this area of Musango.

She organized and recruited community members who were very excited about this opportunity in just two days time. Attendance was higher than we expected. Since the spring is such a busy hub for the community, it proved a great venue that attracted even more participants as the training went on. There was a constant total attendance of at least 17 community members. This was a unique group because of the number of elderly people who came and were willing to learn.

We handed out new notebooks and pens so people could record or draw what they were learning.

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, personal care like handwashing, environmental hygiene, hygiene promotion, and many other things.

Training was held at the spring so that the men helping our artisan could also listen and learn.

We visited later and saw that they established handwashing stations of their own at their various homesteads. We saw those who didn't have dish racks or clotheslines begin gathering the materials to build them, while others were busy tidying up their home environments.

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.

These smooth and stable latrine floors are much safer and easier for people to clean.

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.

Excavating the area to make way for the foundation.

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.

As the wing walls and headwall were curing, the stairs were set and ceramic tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. This protects the concrete from 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. This was one of the longest parts of construction; the spring box was so large that it took a lot of time to gather the stones, gravel, and sand they needed to fill it up. It took about two weeks of patience for the concrete to dry.

Filling the source area or 'spring box' with materials that will keep contamination out of the water.

All of the community members who were waiting to drink clean water met us and the elders at Ham Mwenje Spring. They had been patiently, yet eagerly, waiting for completion of the project, and for it to be officially handed over for their use.

"When I gave birth to my firstborn child, I was affected with typhoid from drinking water from this unprotected spring. I spent a lot of money treating it for quite some because this spring was open to contamination," Mrs. Lilian Were said.

"I thank God it is protected and it will reduce waterborne diseases."

03/16/2018: Musango Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Ham Mwenje Spring is making people in Musango Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know your community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

Project Photos

Project Type

Protected Spring

In many communities, natural springs exist as water flows from cracks in rocky ground or the side of a hill.  Springs provide reliable water but that doesn’t mean safe. When left open they become contaminated by surface contamination, animal and human waste and rain runoff. The solution is to protect the source. First, you excavate around the exact source area of the spring. Then, you build a protective reservoir for water flow, which pours through a reinforced pipe in a concrete headwall to a paved collection area. Safe water typically flows year-round and there is very limited ongoing maintenance needed!

Giving Update: Musango Community, Ham Mwenje Spring

July, 2019

A year ago, you funded a spring protection at Musango Community in Kenya – creating a life-changing moment for Lucia Eddah. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Musango Community 3.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Musango Community 3 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!

On a recent field visit to Ham Mwenje Spring in Musango, we saw many positive changes in the community since the spring was first protected a little over a year ago.

Musango villagers are still very enthusiastic about the availability of clean water from Ham Mwenje Spring. It has given them a facelift and has strengthened our connection and trust with them. Thus, more people from the area have begun to ask us to help protect more springs in this community.

The water at Ham Mwanje is clear and the discharge remains strong, even during the dry season.

Community hygiene and sanitation standards have both improved greatly, as first noticed by homesteads' cleanliness. Community members now sweep and burn rubbish and cut long grasses around their homes. This concept was adopted after the training that was done after the implementation of the project. Beneficiaries of the sanitation platforms now not only use but also clean their latrines using water from the spring as well.

Lucia, Violet, and Field Officer Lillian

Caretaker Violet Seth has personally felt and seen the positive impacts the protection of Ham Mwanje Spring has brought to her community.

Violet takes a drink

"Since implementation, we have had clean water all through [the year], unlike before," Violet explained.

"The area has become much cleaner and even more accessible, even during the rainy season. Time used to fetch water has [been] reduced, [compared to] before protection [when] a lot of time used to be wasted scooping water from the ground to fill a container. Cases of water-related diseases like skin [problems] have [decreased], [because] before the water was protected it used to affect some individuals' skin but now that is history."

Violet and Lucia

For 10-year-old Lucia Eddah, the protection of Ham Mwanje Spring has meant more than just clean water for her.

"We have a lot of water now that takes me [only a] few minutes to fetch, unlike before when the spring was not protected," Lucia remembered.

"I used to scoop water from the ground and many times I could scoop dirty water. [The spring protection] has made my evening hours easy since I normally fetch water after school, then do my homework, so [it] takes [very] little time [to] get down to my books."

Lucia and Lillian

Violet's happiness was contagious!

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 Musango Community 3 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 Musango Community 3 – 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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