Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 490 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2019

Functionality Status:  Water Flowing - Needs Attention

Last Checkup: 04/04/2024

Project Features

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It was a chilly but sunny morning when we first visited Shitsuvio Community. It is a rural area characterized by green trees, overgrowth, and lush farms. It is calm; the loudest sounds are from livestock, roosters, and barking dogs.

Most of the families we visited farm to make a living; they are involved in planting sugarcane as a cash crop to sell to local sugar factories. Other crops such as maize, beans, and various vegetables are planted for the family to eat. Any excess is sold or traded at the nearest market.

It was a very difficult experience to see where these 490 people are getting their water. They have no other choice but to use dirty water from Shihevi Spring to meet their drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs. The area around the spring is muddy, and many women admitted that they have tripped and slipped into the spring on multiple occasions.

"Clean and safe water is the important resource that every human being depends on. In this community, we are suffering in terms of fetching and consuming dirty water," said Mr. Omuchidi.

The water itself looks disgusting. The spring is entirely open to all kinds of contamination, including wild animals that drink from it directly. There are always several people suffering from typhoid in this community at any given time, which is a direct result of drinking this dirty water. Treatment and medication have cost families a lot of time and money.

What we can do:


"Our current hygiene and sanitation standards are not addressed. Most homes do not practice the right activities as they lack correct information on the same," said Mrs. Flora Msteven.

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

Around half of the households here have a latrine. But unfortunately, the latrines we happened to see were in a pathetic state. The bad odor was enough to keep us away. The floors of most of these latrines are wood slats suspended over the pit. This wood is prone to rot, which puts the user in danger of falling through into the pit.

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new concrete 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

April, 2019: Picture Update for Shihevi Spring Final Report

We have uploaded some new pictures for the Shihevi Spring final report. It turns out that while the pictures of the completed spring were correct, the training and construction pictures were from another nearby project. Please take a moment to check out the pictures on the project page's "Photos" tab to see what's new. We are so grateful for your generous support that makes this wonderful work possible!

April, 2019: Shitsuvio Community, Shihevi Spring Project Complete

Shitsuvio Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Shihevi 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 Shihevi Spring was successful and water is now flowing from the discharge pipes. The only challenge throughout the entire process was diverting the water for construction. Shihevi Spring has multiple spring eyes and tons of water available, so it took an extra day or two to dig an alternative path for all that water.

"Our spring is an answer to so many problems that we have been going through before protection of Shihevi Spring," said Mrs. Mkongolo.

"Major problems encountered were the contraction of various water-related diseases, massive use of resources leaving the community in abject poverty, using a lot of time in fetching the water, disputes among women during fetching water, and premature deaths. I am so excited because such scenarios will never reoccur as protection of the spring is going to curb all the mentioned vices. God bless you!"

Every community in Africa has its own culture. This culture is expressed in the ways they dress, the ways they eat, the type of rituals they subscribe to, and their social lifestyle. This region is occupied by the Luhya Community. In Kenya, the Luhya Community is known for its traditional dance locally known as Isukuti, which literally translates to "it is good." Isukuti dance involves drums and vigorous dancing. Whenever and wherever there is an important function, Isukuti dance must accompany that function.

During the official handing over of Shihevi Spring, the entire community including the member of county assembly were so happy that they looked at the spring and said "it is good!" And for this reason, Isikuti dance was broke out among the people there. The bright faces, smiles, and laughter signified great satisfaction with the provision of clean and safe water.

The Process:

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, 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 pipes were 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 pipes. A member of county assembly was very sympathetic to the women who fetch water from Shihevi Spring and added even more stairs down the steep hill so that they can easily reach the spring.

The ceramic tiles installed under the discharge pipes protect 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 pipes.

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. After the backfilling was done at the reservoir area, the community members were already waiting and ready with poles and nails to help the artisan fence in the area.

We went as a team to meet the community at the spring to do an official handing over ceremony. 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 had appointed community members to plant grass for preventing erosion, and they had already done so by the time we returned for the ceremony.

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 village elder went door to door to let people know about the upcoming hygiene and sanitation training and the importance of what they could learn there. The weather that day was cool with a little sunshine. The training was done at the spring site, so the slight breeze from the spring made the environment very comfortable for learning.

This training was one of its kind. A number of participants kept asking questions and others remaining excited throughout the entire training. The most interesting part was the time that leaders were being voted on for the spring committee; all participants were happy to be involved in the voting process and each had something to say.

Participants learned about:

– Leadership and governance for the spring committee
– Management and maintenance of the spring

– Family planning
– Personal hygiene, including handwashing

– Dental hygiene
– Waterborne and water-related disease, along with water treatment methods

"I am so excited after attending today's training forum. Many a time I walked to some homesteads to educate them on water and sanitation, but most of the times I have faced rejection. As a community health volunteer, I am so happy as you have played a great role of both making my work so easy and putting more emphasis on what the majority of individuals are unaware of and suffer due to the same," said Mrs. Achieva.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

February, 2019: Shitsuvio Community, Shihevi Spring Project Underway

Dirty water from Shihevi Spring is making people in Shitsuvio 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: Shitsuvio Community, Shihevi Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shitsuvio 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!

"Before the spring was protected, it was difficult and we were straining so much to get water from the point."

"We used to fall and break jerrycans whenever we were sent to fetch water."

"Now, getting water from this point is so easy and convenient."

"I can even go there and get water in the morning and still make it to school on time."

"I am able to get water from the spring within a very short time and spend more time on academics."

Robina with Field Officer Jacklyne 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 Shitsuvio 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 Shitsuvio 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.