Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 140 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/07/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Peninah Spring is located in Malava of Kakamega County. It is predominantly inhabited by the Kabras sub-tribe of the Luhyia.

A normal day begins at 5am. The wife of the house prepares children to go to school. She then proceeds to the farm where she spends most of the day either planting, weeding, or harvesting - depending on the season of the year.

Villagers practice small-scale farming by planting food crops such as sugarcane, maize, cassava, and beans. They also keep dairy cattle. A good number of the community members have wood lots on their pieces of land, which serve as a source of firewood and also for income generation when they sell the trees for timber or building projects. Some families oversee fish ponds that are filled with water from Peninah Spring.


Peninah Spring serves 20 households who use the water for drinking, irrigation during dry seasons, and household chores.

Fetching water is predominantly a female role. Members of the community use small plastic containers to draw water from the unprotected spring and pour it into large plastic jerrycans. After drawing the water they carry it to their respective homes.

A member of the community visited Matete Girls Secondary School that had benefited from the construction of a 50,000-liter water tank. Upon inquiry, he visited the office and explained that he had an unprotected spring in his community.

"For a long time, this spring remained unprotected. It is a reliable source of water and serves many members of the community. It does not dry up during the dry season," Mrs. Beatrice Mukhwana, a resident near the unprotected spring, explained.

"This community will greatly appreciate the protection of this spring"

This spring is open to contamination, predisposing its users to waterborne diseases, such as typhoid, diarrhea, amoeba, and malaria.

"It is a God-given opportunity and the idea of protecting the Peninah Spring will solve their water problems," another community member said.

Protecting the spring will help empower the female members of the community by allowing them more time to engage and invest in income generating activities. In addition, protecting the spring will ensure that the water is safe, adequate, and secure.


Less than half of all households have latrines. It was noted that quite a number of homes still do not have pit latrines with some people forced to share sanitation facilities.

In the community, we observed toilets with walls made of iron sheets. Some had mud walling. On other occasions, the walls are made of timber. The cleanliness of most toilets in the community is poor.

Some members of the community have compost pits in which they throw litter or garbage. Upon decomposition, the manure is used in the farms during planting season.

The sanitation facilities and health promotion campaign will enable, enlighten, and build the capacity for the community to take action on matters related to community health.

The community is willing to provide the locally available materials (sand, bricks, gravel) and to attend health and hygiene trainings.

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.

Project Updates

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Eshitirira Community, Peninah 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 Eshitirira, Kenya.

We trained more than 15 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: Shitirira Community, Peninah Spring

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

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

February, 2019: Shitirira Community, Peninah Spring Project Complete

Shitirira Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Peninah 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 Peninah Spring was successful and water is now flowing from the discharge pipe.

"I thank God for enabling [you] to protect the spring. As a community we shall maintain the protected spring against any misuse or interference. As a community we are indeed very grateful," said an excited Wycliffe Sumba.

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. The committee plans to build a fence around the spring area to protect the construction and water quality, keeping wild animals away.

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 has been trained to form a very strong management committee that will oversee all the activities carried out at the spring. Also, the group is being advised to always seek the advice of our organization when there is a major issue that may require our help.

All training sessions were planned with the help of Madam Peninah Mwanzo, who mobilized the members of the community to attend the training. The participants were recruited mainly from those who depend on Peninah Spring for their water.

It was sunny outside when we met under a tree by the spring construction site. Madam Peninah arranged for plastic seats, and the environment was conducive for learning.

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.

Handwashing demonstration

The participants were shown the ten basic steps of handwashing to enhance hygiene and sanitation standards. This was interesting because most participants realized that they hardly follow any of the required steps. However, they agreed that the steps, once learned, are easy to practice.

Participants also elected leaders amongst themselves who will oversee the spring, delegate upkeep chores, and enforce rules for spring use.

Group picture

"Thank you so very much for the teachings on water sanitation and hygiene. I will put the teachings into practice at my home to improve the hygiene standards and will also educate others who did not have an opportunity to attend the training," explained Mrs. Peninah Mwanzo.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

January, 2019: Shitirira Community, Peninah Spring Project Underway

Dirty water from Peninah Spring is making people in Shitirira 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: Shitirira Community, Peninah Spring

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shitirira 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!

"My life has really changed because I [live] near the protected spring. After school, I fetch clean water, which helps me to wash utensils, clothes, and [do the] cooking. I don't queue because the water discharge has increased. [I] am happy I take clean and safe water from the protected spring," said Babra Kati, a 10-year-old girl living in Shitirira.

Babra shared this comment with Field Officer Mary Afandi on Mary's most recent visit to Shitiriru to check in on Peninah Spring and to interview community members on their thoughts on the project in its first year since completion.

"The community members are now enjoying clean water," Mary said in her reflection of the visit.

"The clean water has resulted [in] reduced diarrhea and typhoid diseases. Sanitation platforms, on the other hand, have acted as models in the community. People have established [more of their own] sanitation facilities. Most of the community members have improvised handwashing facilities. This is [a] big change in the community. The protected spring has really contributed towards [the] improvement of quality life in this community," she said.

Peninah fetching water from the spring

Peninah Mwanzo is not only the namesake for this spring but also a farmer and leader in her community. Peninah met Field Officer Mary at the spring to share her perspective on the project's impact on her community in the last year.

"Initially, community members were taking unclean water which had bacteria and dirt particles," said Peninah.

"After protection, the water is clean and we have no more waterborne diseases...Everybody loves this water as it's very clean and we drink while very happy. We are very grateful to [you]."

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 Shitirira 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 Shitirira 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.


Jackson Family