Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 315 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/05/2024

Project Features

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Werabunuka is a spring in Malava sub-county among the Kabras people of the larger Luhya tribe.

A normal day in this community begins when members wake up early and engage in different activities as per the schedule of the day.

In most cases, the men are tasked with the responsibility of going to the farm and to help feed the cows. They usually take the cows to drink water from the unprotected spring.

More than half of households have latrines. Many are in a pathetic state and pose a hazard to the user. Women and children go to the spring and fetch water for consumption and household tasks like washing clothes and cooking.

To get to the spring, we boarded a public service vehicle locally known as 'matatu' to Malava. Then got on a motorcycle taxi, known locally as "piki piki" to Chegulo where the spring is found.

The community members use jerrycans and immerse it in the pool of water. Some store the water in the same container used to fetch it, while others use mud molded pots to store water - especially for drinking water since they believe it acts as a refrigerator.

People reported spending a lot of money on medication due to contraction of water-related diseases.

"People from Chegulo are really unfortunate. Since time immemorial, individuals have reported to have suffered due to consuming the water. The health situation is wanting and needs critical attention," Edward Werabunuka said.

One day, on our way to Werabunuka Spring in a matatu, I was reading an article on human anatomy and how a human body functions. The author of the article stressed the fact that a human body cannot survive if all the blood was drained from it.

Immediately, I started comparing a human body to the community where we live and operate. I thought about the significance of water in a community and the importance of blood in a human body. After a lot of thinking, I reached a conclusion that just as a living organism cannot do without blood, a community cannot survive without water.

Water is indeed at the center of all activities in the community. There is a need, and an urgent one, to give humanity access to clean and safe water.

This means that Werabunuka is not only a source of water but can also be a source of life to the people of Chegulo. No wonder the phrase "water is life" was established!

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. 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.

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

October, 2019: Giving Update: Chegulo Community, Werabunuka Spring

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

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

November, 2018: Chegulo Community, Werabunuka Spring Project Complete

Chegulo Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Werabunuka Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of 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.

Spring Protection

Construction at Werabunuka Spring was successful and water is now flowing from the discharge pipe.

No delays were experienced. We had good work weather, and the community was extremely helpful to artisan. They hosted our artisan, cooked meals for him, and delivered materials to the construction site.

In Honor of Mr. Werabunuka

Mr. Werabunuka was a hardworking, noble, caring, and loving man. He was a dad, husband, and friend of the community. He really began his life in Chegulo by caring for everyone around him. He used to call for meetings and strategized with everyone on how best to improve Chegulo Community. Everyone in the community respected him and ran to him to help solve their issues or disputes.

Werabunuka had the needs of his entire community at heart. He struggled to ensure the community got access to clean and safe water. Many a time he approached the local leaders for assistance in protecting the spring but each time he tried, his efforts were all in vain. He tried to source funds from the community but no funds were raised, as most were impoverished.

This failure did not deter him from sensitizing the entire community on how to better access clean water for consumption. The community members still appreciate him for such wisdom. Due to high poverty, people were unable to buy chemicals to treat their water. In this case, Werabunuka discovered the solar disinfection method, where members were encouraged to place their drinking water in a clear container in the sunshine for at least six hours; then, the water was ready for drinking. This kind of information led to Werabunka gaining the nickname ‘professor.'

The death of Mr. Werabunuka came as a surprise to the entire community, and they mourned the loss of a hero. The best and highest hopes of accessing clean water faded away, and community members started suffering again.

This protection of Werabunuka Spring not only provides access to clean water for community members, but it carries Mr. Werabunuka's name and fulfills his biggest dream.

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 latrine of their own. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

New Knowledge

"People perish due to lack of information," said Margret Werabunuka.

Margret learned the importance of taking care of her family and her environment from her father, and was more than happy to host hygiene and sanitation training at her family's home.

"We have suffered for so many decades due to embracing poor sanitation and hygiene practices. The suffering has not only cut short some individuals' life spans, but it has rendered the community underdeveloped. The resources used to develop the community have instead been used to pay for medication and treatment."

Hygiene and sanitation training was organized by the village elder who walked door to door informing his community members of the upcoming sessions.

The availability of participants arriving early to the venue was so encouraging. They were waiting for us when we arrived. The majority of them were excited and had put all of their day's activities on hold just to learn with us. There were 16 participants total.

We covered several topics including but not limited to leadership and governance (participants started a water and sanitation committee); 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, and hygiene promotion. These participants will become ambassadors of healthy living among their own families and their greater community.

The group walked over to the spring that was under construction to learn how to care for it.

People were most surprised about what they learned for washing hands and brushing teeth. They found out that they had not been doing a great job thoroughly cleaning their hands or their mouths. For example, nobody knew that it is also important to brush your tongue.

This group is committed and they all wish the best for everyone. During the training, they all agreed to implement everything that was taught and be good health ambassadors to the entire community.

September, 2018: Chegulo Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Werabunuka Spring is making people in Chegulo 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

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: Chegulo Community, Werabunuka Spring

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Chegulo Community 2.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Chegulo Community 2 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!

The protection of Werabunuka Spring in Chegulo last year has resulted in many positive changes.

People now spend a lot less time fetching water because it is so convenient. Field Officer Jacklyne Chelagat reported that her interaction with members of this community on her most recent visit there further confirmed that there is a decrease in cases of waterborne diseases. The water is now clean, safe, and easily accessible.

"We used to get very dirty water from the spring. Cows, sheep, and goats would come and step in the water source and make the water dirty. At times the livestock could even drop dung at the spring and contaminate the water," remembered water committee treasurer Margret Obembo.

"Since the spring was protected, this is a thing of the past. The water source is safe and cannot be contaminated at all. The pathway and the staircase make the spring accessible. At the moment it is safe and easy to access water from the spring. We are so grateful and we shall never be tired of appreciating [you]," Margaret said.

Ruth Ojiado at the spring

13-year-old Ruth Ojiado reflected on how this project has impacted her as a young person and student in the community.

"Before this spring was protected, we used to take a very long time trying to get water from the spring...We always rushed to the spring to fetch water before we went to school. During those days we would be late for school whenever we went for water from the spring. At the moment, we take a very short time and run to school since the spring is easily accessible."

We are also working with Ruth's school to see if we can help alleviate their severe water shortage so that students like Ruth no longer have to carry water to school at all.

Margret, Field Officer Jacklyne, and Ruth at the spring

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 Chegulo Community 2 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 Chegulo Community 2 – 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.