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: 04/04/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Shapaya Mavonga 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.


The spring serves water to more than 30 households in the community. Containers are submerged directly under the water or small jugs are used to fill large jerrycans in order to collect the water. The containers are then carried home. The majority of people do not have big water storage containers in their homes. Consequently, they store water in the same jerrycans used to collect it.

Most of the time, water is used to do household chores immediately after it is fetched.

This water is not safe for human consumption, yet these people cannot afford to protect the spring by themselves. Many people in this village have suffered from diarrhea that can be attributed to the unsafe water from the spring.

The spring users are willing and ready to work with the organization to help them protect their water point.

"We are very eager to be helped so as to reduce cases of waterborne diseases," Mrs. Violet Vilika 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 and full of flies 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. Nancy 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

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Shirugu Community, Shapaya Mavonga 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.

Trainer Shigali shows how to make a face mask

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 Shirugu, Kenya.

Trainer Shigali shows how to properly wear a mask

We trained more than 10 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.

A participant reads an informational pamphlet on COVID-19

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.

Trainer Karen Maruti demonstrates 10 steps of handwashing

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.

Community members practice the 10 steps of handwashing along with the trainer

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.

Trainers use the prevention reminder chart 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.

Mr. Shapaya Mavonga demonstrates handwashing with the new leaky tin

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.

Trainer Shigali demonstrates how to cough and sneeze into the elbow

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, Shapaya Mavonga 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 Shapaya Mavonga 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, Shapaya Mavonga Spring Project Complete

Shirugu Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Shapaya Mavonga 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.

New Knowledge

Mrs. Violet Vilika was our primary contact as we planned for hygiene and sanitation training in this community. We picked out the best time and date, and Violet went around the community informing people of the plans. The attendance was as expected, with 15 community representatives present for the training.

Training held at the spring, where construction was just completed

Training was conducted a few meters from the spring under a tree, since the sun was blazing hot that Friday morning. The shade was enough for everyone to hide under. The older people seemed more interested in learning than the younger ones. Some of the younger people seemed unsettled after a few hours into the training, but we managed to involve them by giving them activities to participate in like handwashing.

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.

Community members were especially interested in learning about how their spring protection works and how to best care for it.

"We are very excited to learn how to take care and maintain the spring since we need this water to last generations to come," said Mrs. Obote.

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.

Spring Protection

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

"We had been drinking unclean water from this spring for very many years. I personally will attest that we have suffered for a long time but now God has answered our prayers, and we can now enjoy clean and safe drinking water. This spring will change a lot of lives in this community," said Mr. Mavonga.

"We are indeed grateful for your kind hearts."

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.

A woman smiles as she stands by the spring - excited it's almost finished!

The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination.

The concrete dried over the course of five days. 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.

January, 2019: Shirugu Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Shapaya Mavonga 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, Shapaya Mavonga Spring

October, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Shirugu Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Violet Issac. 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.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shirugu 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!

"A high number of community members who use Shapaya Movonga Spring in Shirugu are now accessing clean and safe water," reported Field Officer Victor Musemi after his most recent visit there to check up on the spring and to interview community members to learn their thoughts on the project in its first year since completion.

"There is a low rate of diseases compared to the past, and [the protected spring] has also empowered the community in terms of agribusiness. Generally, the hygiene standards have improved due to the protection of the spring," Victor said of the community.

"Community members are so grateful for this project and they really appreciate [our team] for the help [with] construction of the spring...[They] also promise to protect the environment and the spring for the next generation."

One person Victor met at the spring was Violet Issac, a community member who depends on the spring for her daily water needs.

"I am very happy with the protected spring project and now I enjoy clean and safe water," said she said.

"The state of cleanliness at the spring has improved because the community has embraced the protected spring. The community members now draw clean and safe water from the protected spring. Women don't queue for water as was the case in the past before the spring was protected."

Celestine Isaac fetching water

10-year-old Celestine Isaac met Field Officer Victor at the spring with Violet as well, and Celestine was happy to share her thoughts on the project too.

"This is so great to me, really water is life which has enlightened the community. Personally, [I] am a great beneficiary of this project in terms of accessing clean water for cooking, drinking, bathing, and washing utensils and clothing," she said.

Celestine and Violet enjoying the spring water

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 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 – 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.


2 individual donor(s)