Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 280 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 08/16/2023

Project Features

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The water from Shikuku Spring is unsafe. The water is green in appearance, likely from the build-up of algae. Because it is open, children throw leaves and dirty bottles in the water, contributing to the contamination of the source.

Some of the community members opt to fetch water from a nearby river since the spring is not protected. To them, there is no difference between the water from the two sources. However, protecting Shikuku Spring will ensure that all 280 community members have access to safe water, which will reduce waterborne diseases.

"The problem forces us to drink dirty water which has brought us a lot of problems. We have suffered until we have no money to spend anymore," said John Shinyaka, a local farmer.

Most people here, like John, make a living through agriculture. Some people will engage in employment in the nearby city of Kakamega and a few others will work as "boda boda" motorcycle taxi drivers.

Most households do not have latrines, nor do they have handwashing stations. This low level of hygiene and sanitation is in part due to the water problem faced by people living here.

Our teams say that the latrines they observed are dangerous because the floors are made of wood with a lot of spaces in between. They are also not cleaned regularly and no water is kept nearby.

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, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Beatrice Muyonga

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.

"We are safer with the restrictions put in place. It is for the best," said 52-year-old Beatrice Muyonga, a businessperson in Mushina. Though Beatrice has weathered many hardships since the COVID-19 pandemic began, she still trusts that the best way to get through it will be following all of the safety and health guidelines to help prevent the virus, and to simply wait it out.

Beatrice Muyonga

Part of Beatrice's trust in coronavirus prevention comes from her ability to access clean, safe water from Shikuku Spring every day. Since the spring was protected, she attests that "the community is now free from waterborne diseases and the homesteads are very clean since there is enough water for maintaining cleanliness."

Beatrice shows some of the new health and sanitation norms in her routine since the pandemic began. These include wearing a face mask, washing her hands before leaving or returning home, and quickly fetching water at Shikuku Spring without staying to socialize.

Beatrice uses the spring water for drinking, handwashing, doing the dishes, and cleaning surfaces in her home, among other uses. Dedicated to the spring's longevity, she serves as the water user committee's treasurer.

Beatrice fetches water at Shikuku Spring.

"The clean water point is very important since we need to wash our hands always and practice good hygiene and sanitation. Things would not be the same without this water point."

Our team recently visited Mushina 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.

Camera Operator Allan Amadaro photographs Beatrice during her interview.

It was during this most recent visit that Beatrice shared her story of how the coronavirus has impacted her life. Field Officer Rose Amulavu Serete met Beatrice outside her home to conduct the interview. Both Rose and Beatrice observed social distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety.

Beatrice (left) with her sister (right) and daughter (center) outside of their home.

Beatrice acknowledged that there have been a lot of challenges since the pandemic came to Kenya in March.

"Situations have changed because before COVID-19 we used to take our good time at the spring while fetching water. Nowadays, we have to put on a mask while going to the spring and also maintain social distancing. There is no time for idling at the spring."

Community members observe social distancing and wear masks while waiting in line at the spring. Our team's COVID-19 prevention reminders chart stands over the spring from our team's first sensitization training there.

"My kids have been having a comfortable life but since the pandemic, food is not enough. This is because I had a small-scale business that had to stop due to this pandemic. Their education has also been affected since they no longer go to school."

Beatrice puts on her mask without touching her face, the way she learned from our team's training.

But hardships aside, community members are doing everything in their power to help their families and neighbors stay safe from COVID-19.

"Every home has a handwashing station with clean water, so we and our visitors must wash hands before entering the house. We also have made sure that everybody is fighting this pandemic by putting on a face mask. Finally, everyone maintains a 1-meter physical distance at home and at the water point."

Beatrice and her sister walk home with water from Shikuku Spring.

Though Beatrice was glad "the curfew has been extended for an extra 2 hours which gives us time to make an extra coin," she stood by her comment of adhering to the local and national restrictions the Kenyan government put in place to help prevent the spread of the disease. No one wants to test what might happen when the virus enters their community, let alone their home.

Beatrice checks on her maize.

When asked where she receives information about COVID-19, Beatrice listed the radio and our team's sensitization training as her two main sources. The benefit of our team's in-person training, she said, was seeing the "proper handwashig steps, which have really benefited us. Actually, without knowing how to clean hands, we would not have made it this far."

Beatrice washes her hands with soap and clean water from Shikuku Spring using the leaky tin handwashing station she set up outside her home.

December, 2019: Mushina Community, Shikuku Spring Project Complete!

Mushina Community now has access to clean water! Shikuku Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of water thanks to your donation. We protected the spring, provided 5 sanitation platforms to different households in the community, and we trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices.

Community member and Field Officer Rose Serete pose with the spring

Spring Protection

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

The Process

Women and men 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. The artisan leading the excavation was able to connect all of the spring's eyes, redirecting the water into a temporary reservoir before it would be redirected to the 2 discharge pipes, chosen for the spring's strong yield with all of the eyes. 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.

Brickwork begins at Shikuku Spring

As the wing walls and headwall were curing, the stairs were set and ceramic tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipes. 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.

Plaster and cement work

The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a thick plastic tarp to prevent potential sources of contamination. This process took more stones than the community had originally mobilized due to the large area covered when the artisan connected all of the spring's eyes. Eventually, however, they sourced enough stones and construction came to an end. It took about 2 weeks of patience for the concrete to dry.

Adding thick plastic tarp over the stone backfilling

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. There was no formal ceremony other than that the community members prayed before immediately starting to fetch water.

"When I saw you people [for] the first time, I thought you were joking because it has been the trend in this county [to promise spring protection to no avail]. Thanks be to God - you said [it], and you have done it. [I] never knew that one day we shall be enjoying water. Just see what the Lord has done to us. May He do it to other communities," rejoiced Beatrice Muyonga, a farmer and resident in this community.

Enjoying a cool-down splash at the spring

Sanitation Platforms

All 5 sanitation platforms have been installed. These 5 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.

Proud new sanitation platform owner with her son

New Knowledge

Keziah Alusiola, a local community member who works as a security officer, 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.

Some 17 people attended training, which was held just uphill of the spring under a tree for shade since it was very hot and sunny. The atmosphere was quite pleasant and was conducive to learning, helping to make the training a success. The attendance was not as expected since it rained the day before the training so some of the community members went to their farms to cultivate. For those who came, however, they were active the whole day, listening attentively and asking questions for clarification when needed.


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 many other things.

Site management was a very important topic in this community. We discussed the importance of keeping the spring in good shape by cleaning up the area and repairing it when necessary. This topic felt special due to the commitment of the community members to share what they had learned with their neighbors, pledging that they would make sure the information was spread to those who could not attend training that day.

Cleaning demonstration at the spring

Leadership training was another vital topic in which the facilitator explained to the participants how to elect their water committee leaders by first brainstorming and evaluating the qualities of a good leader before coming up with their choices for candidates. Participants were able to then elect their water committee leaders and promised to never elect members based on their personal wealth.

"The training has been timely and we have gained important information from our facilitators. We thank the organization for finding time to come and give us long-awaited knowledge," said Veronicah Indoshi, a young student in the village who attends the local primary school.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

November, 2019: Mushina Community, Shikuku Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Shikuku Spring is making people in Mushina 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 news of success!

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.

Giving Update: Mushina Community, Shikuku Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mushina 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, drawing water from it was very hard."

"Other children would come and it would be a fight for who was to draw water first. One had to come very early so as to avoid conflict."

"Things are very easy now. No need for commotion; everything is now in place."

"Now I can easily clean my school uniform. I also save a lot of time, unlike before, which is very good."


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 Mushina 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 Mushina 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.