Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 105 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/02/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Most of the 100 people in Burachu B Village of Kakamega County are peasant farmers. They grow sugarcane to sell to local sugar factories and maize to meet their personal food needs.


The women go to fetch water from the unprotected spring early in the morning before the scorching sun comes up. Even so, some days they must go to Shitende Spring at least three times.

The photos show them standing in the pool of water as they dip their containers in.

Even when the water looks clear, we know that the water is contaminated as it is completely unprotected from rainwater that washes dirt, chemicals, and animal feces into the water. Cholera, typhoid and diarrhea plague the community on an ongoing basis.


The latrines are in bad shape as most structures are made of mud. The roofs are made of thatched grass. The holes to squat over are not favorable for children, as they are too big.

There are no hand-washing stations in this village, but most households have some form of sanitation tool like a dish rack or clothesline - although some people still dry their clothes on the ground.

Here’s what we’re going 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 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 (formatted and edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

August, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Magdalene Wanjala

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 Burachu B to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point, Shitende Spring. 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 Magdalene Wanjala shared her story of how the coronavirus has impacted her life. Magdalene is a 34-year-old farmer and mother, and she is dedicated to ensuring the longevity of Shitende Spring. That is why she also serves as Secretary of the spring's water user committee.

Magdalene Wanjala

Community Engagement Officer Jemmimah Khasoha met Magdalene outside her home to conduct the interview. Both Jemmimah and Magdalene observed physical distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. The following is Magdalene's story, in her own words.

Magdalene shares what has changed in her community since the protection of Shitende Spring, and she shows 2 of her new norms during the pandemic: frequent handwashing and wearing a mask.

"What has changed since the installation of this water point is that we can now access safe and clean water very easily and fast. There is no time for rumor-mongering at the water, which caused hatred in the community initially.

During this pandemic, having clean water is the greatest blessing we had. One requirement was to wash hands more often and this clean water is serving us well and also being used for cleaning surfaces.

Magdalene (right) fetches water while community members observe physical distancing and wear masks at the spring.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we had to adopt new rules like maintaining a distance of 1 meter from each other while at the spring, washing hands before fetching water, and avoiding idleness at the water point. The sanitation and hygienic activities that we are undertaking to stop the spread of COVID-19 include washing hands as many times as possible and wearing masks when leaving home.

Magdalene washes her hands with soap and clean water from Shitende Spring using a leaky tin handwashing station she set up on the dishrack at her house.

The outbreak of COVID-19 brought negative impacts on our lives. Children are uncontrollable for they keep playing from morning to evening. The education system was shut down, thus making children even forget what they learned in school.

Magdalene helps her daughter Lilly put on her mask.

The other challenges that we are experiencing include unemployment. We used to do casual labor, like washing people's clothes and weeding their farms, but currently, there are so many people with no jobs. Economically, food items are insufficient in quantity making prices rise. Since churches were put on hold, spiritual life was affected, too.

Magdalene sifts her maize harvest before airing it to dry.

The restriction on going to church has been partially uplifted and at least now a few people can go to church. Curfew times have also been uplifted, thus enabling people to at least work evening hours and get income.

Having children go back to school is the restriction we are really looking forward to seeing uplifted. The places of worship also should be fully opened."

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

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

"The refresher in handwashing, more information on COVID-19, how it's spread, and prevention measures. We were also taught to make masks which is really helping us now, especially when going out of our home [because they are mandatory]."

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Burachu B Community, Shitende 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.

Building a tippy tap handwashing station

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 Burachu B, Kenya.

Handwashing session

We trained more than 11 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.

Homemade mask tutorial

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.

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.

A man holds the prevention reminder chart

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 man shows the COVID-19 informational pamphlet received at training, translated into local languages

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: Burachu B Community, Shitende Spring

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

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

August, 2018: Burachu B Community Project Complete

Burachu Community now has clean water! Shitende 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 organized in the early days of our visiting Burachu. During community engagement, the field officer was able to remind community members of the training, working together to set a specific date. Being a farming community, farmers had to spare valuable time from working on their farms.

Mr. Abraham Okumu went house to house inviting everyone who uses Shitende Spring. The training took place at one of the homesteads right by the spring, with 17 ladies and five men in attendance. Inquiring about why there were so few men, the field officer learned that the men don't mingle with the women well. When invited, they also pointed their fingers at the women and said water and cleanliness was all their responsibility.

The day was chilly, and cold crowned the air. The roads were almost impassable with mud all over due to the heavy rainfall the previous night. While we normally use motorbikes to get around, we had to commandeer a full vehicle to arrive on time.

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.

The only issue was that a lot of participants came with their own interests. When we got to a certain topic, a handful of people would be extremely engaged in what was happening. But when we moved on, they checked out until another topic of interest! Our trainers did their best to call on and involve those individuals. There was a language barrier with a few of the older participants, but thankfully there were others that could translate from Swahili to their local dialect.

Most everyone enjoyed learning about food security. We discussed drought-resistant crops, some of which should be planted with the rains and others planted when it's dry. The women were very active in this session, for they are the most affected when it comes to ensuring that food is on the table for the whole family. Crops like tissue culture bananas, orange fresh sweet potatoes and cassava are encouraged. The orange fresh sweet potatoes can be used for making flour which can cook chapati and even make porridge - and they only take three months to mature!

Mrs. Everlyn Okumu said, "I must attest that I am not the same woman who came for this training without knowledge. I have learned that success in life does not come just from getting more; it comes with the acquisition of knowledge and information which will keep you moving and help you get more."

Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed and make wonderful, easy to clean latrine floors. 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.

Creating the frame and preparing concrete to make the sanitation platform.

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.

As the wing walls and headwall cured, 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.

Field Officer Jemmimah checking progress. The spring still needs to be filled up and covered behind the discharge pipe.

The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination. It took about two weeks of patience for the concrete to dry.

As soon as the spring protection was ready for use, the field officer made a visit to officially hand it over to the community. The day was very bright and filled with gratefulness as people witnessed clean water coming from the pipe.

"I am very grateful for the initiative taken by our good organization and the donors who have ensured we have clean water. Over a long period of time, we have suffered from having dirty water. The spring is just next to a pathway whereby before protection, anybody could bring their cattle to take water and this would really make it dirty," Mrs. Okumu said.

"I am happy and now that I am the immediate neighbor to the spring, I will ensure the spring is well kept so that the children of our children can use it."

April, 2018: Burachu B Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Shitende Spring is making people in Burachu B 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 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: Burachu B Community, Shitende Spring

September, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Burachu B Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Magdaline Okumu. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Burachu B 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!

Since the protection of Shitende Spring last year, the lives of people here have greatly improved in various ways. The once-frequent trips to the hospital due to diarrhea have reduced in the past year.

Community member Magdaline Okumu told us how before with her children, "a week could not end without them going to the hospital but now, even a month ends. This is a great change that came by protection [of] the water point."

Before the spring protection and health and hygiene training, many households here did not have sanitation facilities such as bathrooms, toilets, dishracks, or even clotheslines. During our most recent visit, it was noticed that the families that did not have these facilities before now have them, and the 5 families who were chosen by their neighbors to receive the sanitation platforms have improved their household's health and sanitation status.

The community members here remain very happy and grateful for their project.

Many have shown improvement in their lifestyles regarding sanitation, hygiene, health, and economic growth compared to when we conducted our baseline survey here. Women have now set up financial merry-go-round style funds within their village, which they use to start and maintain their unique small businesses. These have helped to reduce gossiping among the women, which otherwise used to bring fights. But now, they are happily busy engaging in other endeavors.

Lucy Kweyu with Field Officer Jemmimah Khasoha

"The biggest change that has touched everyone is that we have clean and safe water for everybody. Initially, we used to have a problem with water and it ended up affecting us, especially our children, who used to get sick on most occasions," said Magdaline Okumu.

"Another change is seen with the sanitation of the community members who mostly attended the training. We were given sanitation platforms which had helped us to have good toilets which we use effectively and are easy to clean. This is something we could not get [on our own] but we thank God for the people who out of kind heart did not know us but came in to help us."

"Another change that has occurred is that I personally learned that we should not just sit and wait [for things] to be done. Since the time I attended the training, we formed a group that has helped me. From the merry-go-round that we had, I started a small business and this has changed my life. If I could not have attended the training then I could not have known about all these [possibilities]."

On the younger end of the community spectrum, we also spoke with 13-year-old Shakila Naliaka, a girl chid here.

"My life has changed in...that I have a lot of time after coming [home] from school. I only take...10 minutes to get to the spring [to] fetch water and [I] am back home to do the other assigned work. This is all because the water point was protected [and] stairs and discharge pipes were put [in] which enables us [to] get water easily," Shakila said.

"No fights are happening among us kids [about how] someone has passed you in the queue and/or has made [the] water dirty before you fetch [it]. Protecting this water point has brought us peace and unity."

Everlyn, Jemmimah, and Lucy

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 Burachu B 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 Burachu B 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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