Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 140 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/06/2024

Project Features

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Bukhanga Village is located between the Kabras and Shinyalu area. It is quite rural, surrounded by three churches and the community is peaceful. It has a rocky landscape, wherein we find young men working in quarries to harvest rocks for sale. The buildings are semipermanent structures, some with iron roofs and others with grass-thatched roofs.

People living in Bukhanga Village drink water from Indangasi Spring. This spring pools up to the surface and is completely open to contamination. Activities like washing, cleaning and even bathing are done right around the spring. Animals graze here, too. Untreated waterborne diseases like typhoid are a leading cause of death due to drinking from this source.

Villagers spend a lot of their time drawing water and miss out on other more productive activities. The diseases they get are very expensive to treat. Feeling sick is a part of daily life for people here.

"We are sick all the time and our children are the most affected since they are not keen on drinking clean water," said Violet Ayuma.

As a result, they rarely go for treatment - a habit that can turn deadly if it is a more serious infection.

It was cold and rainy during our first visit, making it hard to navigate the dirt paths that quickly changed to mud. We visited several community members at their homesteads to learn about what living in Bukhanga is like.

The most common livelihood is sugarcane farming since farmers are able to sell their sugarcane to a local sugar factory. Harvesting stone is also popular among the men, with some younger boys even dropping out of school to help get extra stones for sale. Other men find that saving up for a motorbike to taxi people around, called 'boda boda,' is an easy way to make money.

People wake up early at 6am to go fetch water that will be used for drinking, washing and watering the dairy animals. The morning tea is mostly prepared at night so that people can drink it quickly in the morning. The children prepare for school as the adults go to the farm. They come back at around midday and prepare lunch and after lunch they either shower and nap, and those who need firewood for cooking dinner look for it. Bedtime is always around 8pm when the sun sets since there isn't any electricity here.

Other facilities are lacking, for at least 30% of households don't have a pit latrine for using the bathroom. These are made of mud and are practically unusable during rainy weather. Hands are not washed after using the bathroom because people prefer to limit their trips to the spring.

"If you construct latrines here without cement, they collapse. We can't afford cement, and there is a huge risk, especially to children," shared local pastor Julius Shamalla.

What we can do:

Spring Protection

Indangasi Spring has been in existence since the 1950's, and it has served many people from generation to generation. With the current climate changes and human activities around the spring, it will be good to protect the spring so that it can continue serving the community members into the future. Construction will protect it from contamination so that it becomes a safer water source for everyone.

Sanitation Platforms

Community members will vote on five families who would benefit most from cement latrine floors. As the artisans construct these, the rest of the community will be trained on ways they can make their own latrines safer.


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.

Project Updates

July, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Josephine Shamala

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.

Josephine Shamala is a 45-year-old farmer and mother in Bukhanga who relies on Indangasi Spring for all of her daily water needs. An active member of the spring's water user committee, Josephine officially serves as the group's treasurer.

Josephine Shamala stands outside her home in Bukhanga.

Before the pandemic, Josephine also worked as kitchen staff at a local private school, but due to Kenya's school closures that went into effect in March and will remain in place until at least January 2021, she finds herself at home. Like so many parents around the world right now, Josephine is worried about her children missing their lessons, and how their family will fare through these hard times.

Our team recently visited Bukhanga to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point. 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.

Josephine (bottom right) attends a COVID-19 sensitization training in May.

It was during this most recent visit that Josephine shared her story of how the coronavirus has impacted her life.

Team Leader Emmah Nambuye Wekesa met Josephine outside her home to conduct the interview. Both Emmah and Josephine observed social distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. Their questions and answers have been edited for clarity and length.

Josephine sews a mask at training following the step-by-step demonstration.

What is one thing that has changed in your community since the protection of Indangasi Spring?

"Initially we were having problems with our water since it was open to all contaminants, but since the protection of the spring, it has been a long time since becoming sick. There is no need to treat the water because it is clean and safe for drinking. We are very grateful."

Josephine fetches water from Indangasi Spring.

How has having a clean water point helped you through the pandemic so far?

"I have clean and safe water to drink and to do all my chores without fear of contracting the coronavirus. I am very happy."

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Kenya, has fetching water changed for you because of restrictions, new rules, or your concerns about the virus?

"Yes, I am always observing social distancing whenever I fetch water at the spring. I also do not take too long at the spring. I also have to wash my hands with soap and water at the drawing area."

Community members observe social distancing while gathered at the spring for a brief COVID-19 refresher training.

How has COVID-19 impacted your family?

"My children who are in high school are home since schools closed. I fear that they will be affected negatively academically because they do not study properly at home. I am also afraid they have too much time on their hands and can easily get into trouble."

Josephine at home with her family.

What other challenges are you experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

"I am afraid to interact with others since infection moves through interacting with people; I am not attending ceremonies as before like weddings and burials. I was attending to my private school where I would prepare meals for teachers and students, but schools are closed, so I do not get to do that. Life has become very difficult and feeding the family is a huge challenge."

A family portrait with homemade masks on display.

What hygiene and sanitation steps have you and your community taken to stop the spread of the virus?

"We are social distancing always and washing hands with soap as often as possible. I have also learned to make masks for my family. We are wearing masks whenever leaving home and making leaky tins (handwashing stations) at home."

Josephine washes her hands at home using the leaky tin handwashing station she set up.

What restriction are you looking forward to being lifted?

"Schools to open for my children to go back to school with proper safety measures. The children staying at home are a cause of worry for me."

Josephine washes dishes with water from Indangasi Spring.

When asked where she receives information about COVID-19, Josephine listed the radio, loudspeaker/megaphone announcements, word of mouth, and short text messages from mobile subscribers in addition to our team's sensitization training. She said that local leaders are also attending the small burial ceremonies allowed and share information there as well. 

Josephine's farm animals depend on Indangasi Spring for their drinking water. Pictured here is one of her goats enjoying a snack.

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

"Learning how to make masks. I have been making some and also keeping safe so that I do not get infected and in turn infect my family. Washing my hands with soap as many times as possible has helped me too."

"This community is very careful and is taking all necessary precautions to avoid infection from COVID-19. They still would like us to go back and talk to them some more, saying that our trainings are helpful." - Team Leader Emmah reflecting on her visit with Josephine.

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Bukhanga Community, Indangasi 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.

Team Leader Emmah kicks off training in full personal protective gear

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 Bukhanga, Kenya.

"Embrace the space" and "When in doubt, stick your arms out," says Emmah while explaining social distancing

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.

Trainer Protus installs a new leaky tin handwashing station at the spring

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.

Lucas demonstrates handwashing at the new leaky tin

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.

A woman rinses her hands after washing them with soap

During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s spring. To help enforce social distancing while fetching water, community members helped gather stones to create small rock piles in the grass at least 6 feet apart.

Community members collected rocks to make social distancing markers at the spring

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.

All ages were committeed to helping carry stones for the social distancing markers

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 Betty tries out a well-made tippy tap handwashing station at a household near the spring

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.

November, 2019: Giving Update: Bukhanga Community, Indangasi Spring

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

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

December, 2018: Bukhanga Community Project Complete

Bukhanga Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Indangasi 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 Training

Hygiene and sanitation training was done in consultation with a community leader, the pastor at Love and Truth Church. Some 90% of the church attendees use Indangasi Spring, so it was a good place to hold sessions. The pastor made an announcement in the church and called us and put us on speaker phone for us to hear the community members welcoming the project and inviting us to come and conduct the training.

The weather was sunny and hot, though there were indications from the clouds that it would rain later in the day. That didn't matter, though, since training took place inside the church building.

The training was very interactive. Mrs. Ingangasi, an older woman than most, was conversant in the local dialect and a little Swahili. She was one of the most eager to learn. Those in leadership like the pastor and Mr. Stephen, the village elder, were very active too.

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 out by the spring.

Environmental hygiene information was especially important for this community. The community members were encouraged to dig garbage pits since none had any; they were throwing rubbish on their farms, and they were not recycling plastics.

Some people didn't have latrines to use and were instead going in the bushes outside. Mrs. Violet said that her neighbors were doing open defecation and that they had been talked to - but they were not heeding any of their neighbors' concerns. Since the village elder was there, he promised to take up the challenge of getting all of his community to construct latrines.

Participants have joined a water committee that will oversee the spring protection and ensure that it's cared for.

Trainer Protus teaching about how the spring protection works.

"I have treated typhoid forever and it has never left me. I thought I was observing hygiene but with the training, I know that I will be able to keep typhoid and amoeba away," said Mr. James Kutoto.

"Thank you for the training. I have acquired more knowledge about water pollution."

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.

A sanitation platform drying at the back of a family's homestead.

Spring Protection

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

The community members gathered around Indangasi Spring to offer prayers of thanksgiving. The community was especially grateful about how easy it is to access the water. They promised to maintain the spring so that it can serve them for many more years. They said they are the envy of their neighbors because Indangasi Spring is the first one to be protected in the area.

"Out of persistance, this spring has been protected. My friends are on my case because they want their springs protected too! It's beautiful and safe," said Mr. Julius Shiamala.

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.

Community members shuttling bricks to the artisan at the spring protection site.

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 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. They have already fenced in the spring area and planted grass to prevent erosion.

November, 2018: Bukhanga Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Indangasi Spring is making people in Bukhanga Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install 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 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: Bukhanga Community, Indangasi Spring

November, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Bukhanga 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!

"As a woman and a mother, I am very happy because my family is healthy. I no longer go to the hospital because of water-related diseases. Accessing the water is easy because of the pipe and I take less time to fetch water...I have now started poultry farming since I have enough [water and money] to raise the chickens for business."

These are the words of Josephine Shamalla, the treasurer of her community's water user committee in Bukhanga village. (To hear Josephine in her own voice, along with Nicholas quoted below, check out the video on the Photos tab of this project page!)

On our most recent visit to Indangasi Spring there, Team Leader Emmah Wekesa checked up on the spring and interviewed community members about the impact the spring has had on their lives since its completion.

"This community is happier and more healthy since [the spring] protection. They use less time to fetch water because of [improved] access. They have introduced table banking as a way of helping one another to meet their financial needs though in a special way. They are always available whenever we conduct community engagement and they are grateful for the protection of the spring," Emmah reported.

Nicholas Mahatia at the spring

"My life has changed for the better," said 15-year-old Nicholas Muhatia. "I have gotten used to this water, it is accessible and very sweet. If I drink water from any other source it tastes funny!" he said with a smile.

Mama Indangasi the spring's landowner

What else is going well in Bukhanga?

Emmah reported that the spring is well maintained and the surrounding area is clean. The water user committee meets monthly to address the spring needs, and the water quality tests have always indicated that the water is safe and clean to drink. The number of spring users has also increased since access is now improved.

Josephine, Nicholas, and Team Leader Emmah Wekesa at the spring

As for the future, community members plan to venture into fish farming by using the runoff water from the spring - an idea they say would not have been possible even to think of, let alone do before the spring was protected.

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 Bukhanga 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 Bukhanga 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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3 individual donor(s)