Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 90 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

People in Mukoko Community must traverse a steep hill to reach Mshimuli Spring. The road leading to the spring is very narrow and it is engulfed by tree branches and thick grass which is dangerous because it may cut the skin.

Mshimuli Spring is located in Kakamega County and borders Rosterman Village, which is known across Kenya as a major mining town. The spring is also close to a church called Pentecostal Assemblies of God.

The weather was very hot and still on the afternoon we visited the spring. Although once we arrived at the water spring, a pure and fresh breeze began. It became cooler as the day progressed and it later rained in the evening, so we had to wait for the rains to stop before returning back home.

Most of the 90 people living in this part of Mukoko are farmers. The green village draws birds and other animals to seek refuge here. There are decent primary schools nearby. And there is a well-established market center where the residents buy and sell goods. Some homes are permanent while others are made of mud walls and grass-thatched roofs.

A typical day starts when the sun rises in the morning. The women prepare the children for school as the sun gradually rises, spilling golden rays of light over the soaring valleys. The sounds of barking dogs and crowing roosters wake up the rest of the sleeping villagers. At about 6:30am, most of the morning house duties are done and the children are off to school.

The mother goes to the spring for water and then feeds the livestock while the father heads to the farm. At 5pm the children leave school and help their parents to close the day as the smell of home cooking fills the air and the sun slowly drops with a beautiful sunset view.

The 90 people who use Matolo Spring collect water with 10-liter plastic containers. The container is submerged into the spring while the individual is crouching and holding it until it is filled up.

The water is very dirty and smelly. It is open to contamination such as farm activities and soil erosion. The water is full of algae, dragonflies, reeds, rotten leaves and tadpoles. They bring the farm animals to drink from the spring which may indicate the presence of fecal matter hence the water is very unsafe for drinking.

Contaminated water spreads diseases not only through drinking but also through bathing, when the bacteria will get into the body. Without access to clean water, there is no way to clean food, dishes or the body, which brings about mental health issues including depression and anxiety. The community members use a lot of money visiting the hospitals instead of using it for other things.

"We use so much time to clean the water source because it has a lot of algae," said Emily Vihenda to us during a visit to the spring. "Protecting the spring will save us the time to work on other things that will improve our lives."

The community members are so happy because they thought they had been forgotten on matters concerning water, but are grateful that their spring will finally be protected.

In addition to clean water challenges, the members of the community need to be enlightened on better hygiene practices. They dispose of waste in the farms and use dirty water for cleaning which may cause the spread of deadly diseases. People put out buckets for rainwater during the rainy season and drink it without treatment - assuming it is safe and clean.

Fewer than half of all households have latrines. Most that exist are made of brick walls and grass roofs. The floors are often just mud, which leaves them prone to collapsing during the raining season. But there are some positive signs. For example, most of the community members have clotheslines which is a good hygiene practice.

What we can do:


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 Mukoko Community, Mshimuli 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.

Community members use social distancing while listening to Trainer Erick at the spring

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 Mukoko, 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. 

A woman holds up her COVID-19 informational pamphlet received at training

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.

A boy helps create the new leaky tin handwashing station at the spring

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.

Trainer Erick demonstrates the 10 steps of handwashing

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.

A girl washes her hands at the new leaky tin

By the end of training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s spring, along with a sign with reminders of what we covered. The village elder promised to ensure that no one would interfere with the sign.

Trainer Erick installs a plastic sign written in Kiswahili with reminders of handwashing and social distancing at the spring

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. 

The younger generation was determined to participate in the training

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.

May, 2019: Mukoko Community, Mshimuli Spring Project Complete

Mukoko Community is celebrating its new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Mshimuli 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 Mshimuli Spring was successful and water is now flowing from the tap.

"We have been struggling to access clean water from this spring since I can remember," said Mrs. Khanaka. "Before protection, the spring was so dirty and full of algae so we had to wait till very early in the morning or late in the evening so that we can fetch water since it is only during those occasions that the algae would have settled down."

"We are indeed grateful that we can now fetch clean water at any time of the day."

Emily Vihenda, the woman who lives closest to the spring, was in tears as she explained how she and her neighbors would go to the surrounding villages' springs to ask for water - but were denied. She is now overwhelmed that they can all enjoy clean water from Mshimuli Spring. She added that although the neighboring community denied them access to water from their springs, she personally would never prevent anyone from accessing water from this spring. She concluded by thanking all of us for the project and she promised the community would maintain it as well as they can.

The Process:

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, and gravel. Some even made extra efforts to work alongside the artisan after delivering all of the materials. 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. Water was carefully diverted around the construction site.

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.

The ceramic tiles installed under the discharge pipe protect the concrete from the erosive force of the falling water and beautify 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 diverted water could then be allowed to flow naturally. As water built up and started flowing from the discharge pipe, the artisan realized that this spring would greatly benefit from a gate valve. The gate valve he installed now allows enough water to build up so that a container can be quickly filled. When the tap is turned off, any water overflow comes up and out of the original 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.

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.

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 will continue to encourage them to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors as we visit for monitoring and evaluation.

New Knowledge

We worked directly with Mrs. Emily Vihenda to set a date for hygiene and sanitation training. She mobilized the other community members and encouraged them to attend. There was a fairly good turnout, but we noticed there were absolutely no elderly men in attendance. When digging in with the community, they shared that man of the men went to see a politician who came to visit in the main town. Those in attendance promised to share the new things they learn with those who could not make it.

The heat was intense on the morning of training. We met under some trees just a few meters from the spring where there was enough shade for everyone to sit comfortably. The younger participants were more engaged than the adults, and were much more eager to respond to questions and participate in demonstrations.

Participants learned about:

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

– Family planning
– Personal hygiene, including handwashing

During this topic, the facilitator encouraged the participants to maintain general cleanliness from head to toe by teaching them how to thoroughly bathe, reminding them of areas most people forget to clean such as behind the ears and the bellybutton.

Most of the people responded by telling us that they previously believed cleaning the bellybutton would cause it to swell or itch, while some even swore to have never cleaned it in all their lives. They were mesmerized to hear that a lot of dirt can accumulate after a long time. Upon hearing that, the younger ones tried to clean their bellybuttons immediately but were advised to wait until bath time when they have clean water and soap.

– Dental hygiene

– Proper water handling

The facilitator also educated participants on ways that they could potentially contaminate water both at the spring and at home. She insisted that they should store their drinking water away from any contamination sources (so not near animals pens or chicken houses).

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

Training went very well, but we will have to walk alongside this group as they begin to implement the new things they learned. Many people weren't doing much at all to take care of their personal hygiene. They'd respond that they bathe once a week or that they had been using the same toothbrush their entire lives. It sometimes takes a long time to change old habits, so we will continue to encourage this community to live healthily.

"I used to rinse my mouth with water after brushing my teeth, but today I have learned that we should not rinse off the paste so that it can continue killing the bacteria after brushing my teeth. I have learned how to properly brush my teeth and now I can say goodbye to bleeding gums and bad breath," said Mrs. Mukoyani.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

March, 2019: Mukoko Community, Mshimuli Spring Project Underway

Dirty water from Mshimuli Spring is making people in Mukoko 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: Mukoko Community, Mshimuli Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mukoko 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!

"Before this project was completed, it was hard for children to get water from the unprotected spring since we had a risk of falling into the water. This is because the place was open."

"Another challenge was that after taking dirty water home, sometimes our parents would feel annoyed and send you back to try and get clean water. Most children feared to get water from the unprotected spring."

"Right now, our lives as children have been impacted positively since the water which comes through the pipe is easier to fetch. Another advantage is about cleanliness since we can now get clean water."

"This water point has helped me achieve so much. I am able to attend school regularly, unlike before, when I used to fall sick more often and miss school. This really affected my performance - I used not to perform well."

"Again, helping parents at home was a problem since one could spend so much time at the water point trying to wait for the water to settle down before getting clean water and this really wasted time. Since this spring was protected, the water is clean, I am able to take less time to go and fetch then come back home and do my homework."

"The clean water has helped us achieve high standards of hygiene and sanitation. Life has become good."

Ramsey at the spring with other children (pre-pandemic)

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 Mukoko 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 Mukoko 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.


Imago Dei Community
19 individual donor(s)