Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/08/2024

Project Features

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The houses in Bumavi are made of mud walls with roofs made of iron sheets. The village is quiet in the morning and afternoon, but gets very noisy in the evening when children return from school. Community members practice agriculture on their small pieces of land. It is a rural village that is home to 210 people, tucked away from the noise of town life.

Many people grow tea and various vegetables. If a family doesn't have their own farm, the adults will often work on another person's farm for a small fee. Others go out to Shamakhokho to work at the schools or market.

Community members are always awake by 5:30 am to take care of livestock and work on the farm before the heat of midday. However, fetching water is a task that interrupts this work. Water is not found at home, but is found at Joseph Njajula Spring.

It is so disturbing to see people drawing their water from Njajula Spring. There is a lot of rubbish both by and in the water. Plastic bags, tree leaves, and even a red sandal were in the water. People step into the water and dunk their container under the surface until full, careful to avoid debris. People don't treat this water even though it is visibly dirty. Community members believe that they have adapted to the dirty water and that they will remain safe.

However, they reported that diarrhea and malaria have cost them a lot of money when they go to the hospital looking for treatment. They agree that they have had a problem in moving forward in various areas of their lives because their time and money is spent in hospitals.

"We have become an object of scorn to people from villages that have protected springs. We have even entered quarrels with those who have insulted us after their springs were protected. Our self esteem has been lowered," said 12-year-old Vivian.

If you want to learn more about the history of Joseph Njajula Spring, scroll down to the last section of this report.

What we can do:

Spring Protection

We will protect the spring to ensure that the water is safe, adequate, and secure. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water. There will be stairs down to the collection point and a pipe that can easily fill water containers. 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.


"Sometimes people come and get water from this spring then go to bathe in the nearby bush that is at the upper part of spring. That means dirty water flows back into the spring and it is so absurd to drink dirt from another person's dirty body. Most homes do not have compost pits and this also forces them to throw garbage anyhow, and this can lead to spread of diseases," said Mrs. Agubasu.

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 5 families that should most benefit from new cement 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.

The History of Joseph Njajula Spring

In the year 1964, the late Joseph Njajula went to the back of his property with the idea of digging a fish pond in a swampy area to rear fish; a project he hoped would get him and his family out of poverty. He then discovered a corner that had many spring eyes with a lot of water oozing up from the ground.

His family was currently walking a long time to queue at Esther Spring to get water. His son got a black eye as a result of fighting over water at Esther Spring, an event that led Mr. Njajula to engage in a painful exchange of words as each man defended their own son. Discovering the spring on his land was indeed a miracle, and a good way to stay away from the trouble of having to get water from Esther Spring.

He put the idea of digging a fish pond off, as the idea of having their own water spring became a priority. He then shared the good news with his wife, Serifa Agubasu, and the rest of his neighbors. They joined hands and began to protect it using local materials, then directed its overflow to a fish pond that was later constructed down the way.

However, the pressure of the spring water was too much, and one morning community members were taken aback to find the headwall broken and swept away. The fish pond had overflowed and most of the fish had been swept away. Mr. Njajula removed the little fish that remained and sold them. His wife says they really took a big loss since they had invested much in buying fingerlings. The area was excavated anew and it was left as is, as the landowner said he would never engage in fish farming again. After their protected spring was broken and destroyed beyond repair, they just decided to use the spring water as is without protecting it as they believe that they did not have the financial ability to buy the hardware materials to construct a durable, good protected spring like the ones we do, nor did they have money to pay good artisans. Doing it by themselves was not an option since they had already tried and failed terribly.

It has been a burden on their hearts to have the spring protected since the landowner's last words before he died in 2009 were, "struggle as much as you can to ensure that that spring is protected in a modern way, and make sure my name is written on it since I am the one that discovered this spring and because it is also on my land. That way, my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will remember me and speak well of me even in my absence. It is a legacy I have left."

Being a village where people believe in honoring the wishes of the dead, the sons of this man embarked on a mission to find artisans to protect their spring, but the cost was too high and they gave up. They have since believed that their father's soul is not at peace with them. Even the wife to the late Njajula was so stressed that her husband's wish would not be fulfilled. But the recent protection of Esther Spring attracted their attention. They learned that an organization from the USA was funding projects by providing hardware materials and paying the skilled artisans. This brought them a huge ray of hope, and that's how this process began.

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Bumavi Community, Njanjula 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 Bumavi, Kenya.

We trained more than 20 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Before there were any reported cases in the area, we worked with trusted community leaders and the Water User Committee to gather community members for the 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.

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.

December, 2019: Bumavi Community, Joseph Njajula Spring Project Complete!

Bumavi Community now has access to clean water! Joseph Njajula 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 members celebrate the newly completed 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.

Elderly woman helps crush stones into gravel for construction

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.

Excavation begins

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.

Artisan outlines the spring walls in brick

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.

Cement and plaster work on the stairs and rub walls

The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a thick plastic tarp to prevent potential sources of contamination. It took about 2 weeks of patience for the concrete to dry. 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.

(Check out the video on the "Photos" tab of this project page to see the celebration!)

Women high-five to celebrate clean water flowing

"We have used this as a source of water for more than 4 decades and we really appreciate you for your assistance to upgrade this spring to high standards. We were not sure about the safety of the water we used," said community member Morine Nagweya.

"It is only God who knew. I am glad to say that we are sure the water we will use from the spring is now safe. May God bless the work of your hands."

Happy spring user

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

New Knowledge

Community member Patrick Madavadi, in coordination with Field Officer Victor Musemi, was tasked with organizing the training. Mr. Madavadi helped spread the word and 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 15 people attended training, which was held under the shade of a tree next to the spring. The location was ideal because of the need for water during the practical demonstrations of training, and because many of the homesteads were very far from one another. Everyone who attended was very active and engaged the whole time, giving every session their best effort and asking and answering many questions.

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.

Learning about site management of the spring during training

During the operation and maintenance portion of training, we discussed the "do's and don't's" of keeping the spring in top shape. The group decided they would set a penalty, like a small fine, for anyone who breaks the rules they agreed upon such as "No doing laundry near the spring". They also chose one woman whom they said is strict and upholds the highest standards to keep watch over the spring and its users.

Handwashing practice during training

As we discussed personal hygiene in the health care system, we spoke about the importance of changing clothes and bathing at least once a day, if not more. One of the participants said he cannot change his clothes daily if he has done nothing and they are not dirty. Others laughed and told him that he still sweats and that makes him dirty, so he was not above this advice. It was a good moment of humility and learning for all.

Team Leader Catherine Chepkemoi with a happy community member at the newly completed spring

"We have learned a lot and I thank God for this opportunity that has changed my life and even the lives of members of our community at large. Water is life, and now many members of this community will be empowered economically through the knowledge we have gained today and the work that can be done using the clean spring water. This will both reduce the poverty level and minimize the risk of waterborne diseases," said community member and pastor Mr. Boaz Shagala.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

November, 2019: Bumavi Community, Joseph Njajula Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Joseph Njajula Spring is making people in Bumavi Community 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. Learn more here!

Giving Update: Bumavi Community, Joseph Njajula Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Bumavi 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 protection of the spring, the water was contaminated. We used to suffer from waterborne diseases such as typhoid and diarrhea."

"Now, the water is clean and easy to access. Waterborne diseases have reduced drastically."

"My family's health has improved. I don't buy cough drugs as often I used to before construction of the water point."

Judith at the spring with a young girl named Angie and Field Officer Georgina.

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 Bumavi 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 Bumavi 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.


St. Therese Foundation