Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/08/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Jeremiah Mashele Spring is situated in Shirugu Village of Kakamega County. The village is inhabited by the Kabaras people of the Luhya tribe.

The people of Shirugu Village wake up every morning to go and fetch water from the spring. Afterward, they partake in various agricultural activities in their farms such as planting maize for consumption and sugarcane to sell to the nearby Kabaras Sugar Company's factory.


This spring serves more than 30 households who use the water for drinking and various household chores.

The water is gathered using gourds, jugs, and buckets that in turn fill big water containers. The current water source is contaminated due to nearby soil erosion, making the water dirty. Some people also dip their feet inside the water while drawing water from this source, further contaminating the source.

"People in this community suffer a lot from diarrhea and typhoid due to drinking contaminated water in the spring," Nancy Shakava said.


Fewer than half of households have latrines. Because many people depend on the same facility, most of the latrines are almost full. The available latrines are dirty, full of flies that have been attracted by the smell emanating from the latrines.

"My neighbor does not have a latrine so she crosses over to use mine whenever she wants to go for long calls," Mrs. Shakava said.

The average household disposes of its garbage in the kitchen gardens where it decomposes into manure for crops.

"Most of the people in this area do not wash their hands after using latrines and they go on to cook with the same dirty hands, then later on their families start suffering from diarrhea," Mrs. Shakava said.

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

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Shirungu Community, Jeremiah Mashele 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 Shirungu, Kenya.

We trained more than 12 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.

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.

October, 2019: Giving Update: Shirugu Community, Jeremiah Mashele Spring

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

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

February, 2019: Shirugu Community, Jeremiah Mashele Spring Project Complete!

Shirugu Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Jeremiah Mashele Spring has been transformed into a flowing, safe 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 Jeremiah Mashele Spring was successful and water is now flowing from the discharge pipe.

"We shall see no more disgusting, dirty water which was full of tadpoles and some frogs. We as a community had suffered a lot because of the dirty water which was there before. No one since I was born has ever taken an initiative to help us protect this spring," said Mr. Soita.

"I am glad we as a community are going to get access to safe drinking water and I believe there will be minimal reports about waterborne diseases because of the help you people have done to us."

The Process:

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, and gravel. Community members also hosted our artisans for the duration of construction.

The spring area was excavated with jembes, hoes, and spades 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.

The concrete dried over the course of five days, during which a community member wetted the concrete to make sure it would dry without cracking. The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination.

With this spring now handed over to the community, we will continue to follow up with the water committee to make sure everything runs smoothly.

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

The community members came to training in large numbers despite there being work to do on the farms. The weather was sunny as we met at a community member's homestead under a tree, a central meeting place for everyone.

Several topics were covered during the training, such as personal and environmental hygiene, common local diseases and their prevention, and care of the water point. The ten steps of handwashing were demonstrated, along with demonstrations for dental hygiene and water treatment.

The community members were taken through spring maintenance. They were taken to the spring to have an onsite training. The facilitators told them the dos and don'ts of activities around the spring such as not washing clothes near the spring area, not stepping on top of the spring box, and many others.

The community members asked questions and were happy to learn about the parts of the spring and how to ensure that the spring serves them for years to come.

"Through this training, we have learned new things that we have never heard about, the efforts of The Water Project have not only brought us many sanitation platforms but also the new technique of water purification that is very cost-effective for most of us. We know this could not have been possible without sacrifices on the part of various stakeholders to record this great success," said Mr. Shitsimi.

"Thank you for the quality training, more for the concept of solar disinfection of drinking water and community-led total sanitation skills."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2019: Shirugu Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Jeremiah Mashele Spring is making people in Shirugu Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to build a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this 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: Shirugu Community, Jeremiah Mashele Spring

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shirugu 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!

A well-maintained water source is the first thing one notices upon reaching the site - a very big improvement compared to what was seen before as a result of the training held," said Field Officer Jemmimah Khasoha reflecting upon her most recent visit to Jeremiah Mashele Spring in Shirugu.

"From the comments given by the [spring] users, the reduction in the number of illnesses breaking out in the region is also a nice improvement. This community has maintained the spring well and has really followed what they were taught in the training. Their home compounds are clean with very many trees. [It is a] serene environment," Jemmimah said.

While checking up on the spring, Jemmimah also went to interview community members about how the project has impacted them in the first year since the spring's protection.

"The biggest improvement is seen in the quality of water we get. We used to drink very dirty water but as for now, we have water that does not require very many processes of disinfecting it," said Maureen Khavetsa, who depends on the spring for her daily water needs.

Precious Ilahasa smiles at the spring

Precious Ilahasa, a 13-year-old girl, shared her thoughts on the project as well.

"People do not get sick as often as it was a year ago. Our parents also have been able to let us carry clean containers which have been able to let us fetch clean water," Precious said.

Precious, Maureen, and Field Officer Jemmimah 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 Shirugu 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 Shirugu 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.


St. Therese Foundation