Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 315 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/09/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Mutao is a typical rural area with different farm activities; sugarcane plantations, maize plantations, and domestic farming and livestock rearing just to mention a few. The area is far from the town so it's peaceful. Upon entering the village you can hear the calm songs of birds and the calls of other animals. The buildings here are made of mud.

Farming isn't the only livelihood, though. Alcohol brewing in this community is quite high and the method used to prepare the brew is dangerous.

The 315 people living in this part of Mutao have no clean water. They fill containers at Shimenga Spring, which is heartbreaking to see. Nothing has been done to protect the quality of water and it is totally open to contamination.

A few homes use water guard to treat water before drinking it while others say "water does not have a bad heart" and consume it directly from the water source.

"Water is life and my community people have suffered greatly as a result of consuming the dirty and unsafe water from our unprotected Shimenga Spring," said Village Elder Seth Shivitsi.

"Children, in many cases, do not go to school daily due to being sick after consuming the dirty water. A lot of money has been used to cater for medication on those diseases that are water-related, including typhoid, diarrhea, and cholera."

The lack of clean and safe water has caused people to contract these water-related diseases. They use most of their resources to treat these illnesses and are left poorer than before.

What we can do:

Member of County Assembly, Honorable Gladys of Isukha, learned of spring protection projects before she was elected. When she took over the leadership of the ward, a piece of her main agenda was to ensure that she helps her ward by connecting us to springs that need protection.

In her company and that of the village elder, we moved around the villages in her ward to vet unprotected springs for protection. We were humbled to see the way she had the problems of her people at heart and how she interacted with community members. Water is life and she knows exactly that.


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.

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

Latrines are in poor condition and are not clean. They also lack vent pipes and the odor is terrible. On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should most 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

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Mutao Community, Shimenga 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 Mutao, Kenya.

We trained more than 14 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.

June, 2019: Mutao Community, Shimenga Spring Project Complete

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

Mr. Shimenga, who owns the land where the spring is located, was so happy when the spring protection process was complete. He told us that ever since he was born, he has seen women and children go through a lot of challenges whenever they fetch water. In his remarks, he said that even when his time comes to join his ancestors, he will go a very peaceful man knowing that his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and generations to come will access clean and safe water.

"This project will help people access water from the spring with a lot of ease. The number of accidents and injuries people have been having as a result of slipping and falling down due to muddy, slippery paths is over. We can now move easily to the spring and get clean and safe water without any difficulties," said Mr. Shimenga.

The Process:

The community worked alongside our artisan to make this spring protection successful, gathering supplementary materials like sand and stones and making meals for the work team.

The spring area was excavated with jembes, hoes, and spades to create space for setting the foundation of polyethylene, wire mesh, and concrete.

Shimenga Spring was a more complicated spring to protect because there were many different sources of water flowing into the area, and the artisan intended to capture all of the water. The process of excavation was therefore very demanding, but once this was done the remaining process carried on with ease.

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 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

The village elder was mandated to go around the village to ensure that each household in the community would be represented in the training. Attendance was wonderful. The area member of the county assembly, Madam Gladys Mukongolo, is really trying to improve Mutao Village in terms of development - and this was one factor that affected the attendance positively.

Hygiene and sanitation training took place at Mr. Shimenga's homestead near the spring, where it was spacious enough to accommodate participants.

Participants learned about:

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

During this topic, the facilitator took the participants through a list of activities they should undertake to keep the spring clean, accessible, and to ensure that it serves the community for a long time.

The village elder, locally known as "Likuru" who was at training assured the community that he would personally oversee the management and maintenance of the spring. He further warned the community that serious disciplinary measures would be taken against anyone found misusing or mishandling Shimenga Spring.

– Family planning
– Personal hygiene, highlighting handwashing and dental hygiene

The facilitator introduced the idea of a "tippy tap," which is a hands-free handwashing stations made out of a jerrycan, string, and sticks. They demonstrated how to make one of these and how to use it properly. Participants were receptive and welcomed the idea of a tippy tap, promising to introduce it into their homes immediately.

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

"We are so happy and we shall do anything within our ability to follow up on what we have learned. As a village elder, I will ensure that each homestead installs the tippy tap next to their latrine so that each person washes their hands after using the toilet," said Mr. Nyundo.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

April, 2019: Mutao Community, Shimenga Spring Project Underway

Dirty water from Shimenga Spring is making people in Mutao Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to solve this issue by building 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 again with news of success!

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: Mutao Community, Shimenga Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mutao 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!

"We used to take a lot of time going to look for clean water, which affected my playtime."

"We now get to look tidy among our peers and have easy access to sanitation after our games."

"I now get to clean my football outfit every day and wash my hands often due to the COVID-19 pandemic."

Loreen washes her hands 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 Mutao 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 Mutao 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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