Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 312 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/07/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Community members living in Mwichina fetch their water from an open spring. This spring is called Shihunwa Spring, and it serves 312 people. Though the water is dirty, they use it for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and all other needs.

They don't have a choice!

The water gets even dirtier and the banks get very muddy when it rains. To make it a little easier to fetch water, community members inserted a pipe where the water was coming out of the ground.

Community members have suffered for a long time due to the spring not being protected. Cases of typhoid have been a menace amongst spring users.

"As we all know, water is life. A shortage of clean, safe water leads to widespread waterborne diseases," said Mr. Andayi.

"Some years back, quite a number of our members contracted typhoid. This raised alarm in the entire village due to our loss of three of our members."

Community members do all they can to provide for their families. They run motorbike taxi businesses, farm sugarcane, and work in Kakamega Town as casual laborers. But when they're sick with typhoid or other dirty water-related issues, they struggle to provide and use any available money to pay for treatment.

What we can do:

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.


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

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.

Project Updates

August, 2019: Mwichina Community, Shihunwa Spring Project Complete!

Mwichina Community now has clean water! Shihunwa Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of clean 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

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, stones, and fencing poles. Accommodations and meals were provided for the artisan, too.

Pitching in

The Process

Men and women lent their strength to the artisan to help him with manual labor. The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of thick plastic tarp, 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 were curing, 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.

Lending a hand - and some water - to the artisan

As the community members put it, every commitment has a challenge and truly this spring protection did not escape this truth. We faced the challenge of finding enough quality sand in the area, especially during the plastering stage of the project. This slowed us down for a little while, but we eventually managed to overcome all obstacles in this regard.

Cementing the stairs

The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a plastic membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination. It took about two weeks of patience for the concrete to dry.

Finishing the headwall and wing walls

As soon as it was ready, people got the okay from our field officers to begin fetching clean water. We met them there to celebrate this momentous occasion. During the handing over ceremony, the community members were joyous - an indicator that they were in appreciation of the facility. Mr. Sevelinus Andayi Andala, a businessman in the community and landowner of where the spring is located, said a prayer of thanksgiving to officially open the ceremony. Then, Mr. Jerald Shihunwa, for whom the spring is named, made some celebratory remarks.

“For a long time, we have been drawing water from this water point even though [we were] being exposed to contamination. As a community, we have made efforts to contact [other people] for assistance but [these] had not bore any fruits. We thank God that through [you], we can now access clean, safe water for our own use,” Jerald said.

Mr. Andala and student from the village

All smiles at the spring

Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed. These five families are happy about this milestone of having a private latrine of their own and are optimistic that people will no longer leave waste outdoors. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

New Knowledge

Sevelinus Andayi Andala, the landowner of the spring, was tasked with organizing the training. He gave us the community’s preferred date for training, for he was very much aware of the community calendar when it comes to planting season and other big events.

15 people attended training, with the majority being women. Friday being a working day, one does not expect a large gathering to be represented in the training as a majority of the community members are out looking for their daily bread. All the same, we had 15 participants and this was a good representation of the spring’s users. Training sessions were conducted at Sevelinus’ homestead as it was most convenient to all participants. His home was an easy location for us to carry out our onsite demonstrations at the spring. We experienced sunny weather which was conducive for the training.

Training begins

We covered several topics including leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; and the prevention and spread of disease. We also covered water treatment methods, personal care like handwashing, environmental hygiene, hygiene promotion, and income-generating activities. The training was a success with all members actively involved. Participants were ready and willing to learn from the facilitator during each training session.

Handwashing demonstration

Handwashing was a session of particular excitement as the participants learned the ten steps of proper handwashing, something they had no idea about. After the training, we could spot participants doing a recapitulation of the ten steps, even as they were leaving for their respective homes.

Sevelinus brushes his teeth as an example during training

During the leadership and governance session, our facilitators delved deep into this topic so as to guide members in electing qualified leaders for their water committee. The topic was special in that after the training, the participants were able to elect a leadership team that they thought was a strong, genuine, and good fit for them.

Site management training at the newly completed spring

Sevelinus was very pleased with how the training played out.

“Being part of this training has been a blessing. As beneficiaries of this project, we have gained a lot in this training, [especially] touching on hygiene and sanitation. From today, our way of thinking will change and we promise to pass the good news to our members who were not able to attend,” he said.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

July, 2019: Mwichina Community's Shihunwa Spring Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Mwichina drains people’s time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know your community through the introduction 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: Mwichina Community, Shihunwa Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Mwichina Community 3.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mwichina Community 3 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 construction, we used to fetch dirty water that was contaminated. Many a time we suffered stomachaches and diarrhea whenever we drank the water before treatment."

"Getting clean water now is an enjoyable experience and I enjoy making countless trips to the spring. The water is clean and thus we don't strain in going to search for clean water."

"We no longer suffer from frequent diarrhea and stomachaches."

"In the past. whenever I fell sick as a result of drinking dirty water, I used to miss school and this affected my performance. Now, I spend almost the whole term in school."

Eddah with Field Officer Karen 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 Mwichina Community 3 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 Mwichina Community 3 – 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.