Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/08/2024

Project Features

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A rough dirt road leads into Bumira Village. It's full of mud when it rains, but vehicles and motorbikes can still pass through it though they sometimes get stuck and people have to push them out of the mud.

Many extended family members share food and live in the same household compounds. There is a generation of young men that seem to have gone astray in this village, drinking and smoking excessively throughout the day. However, their parents and wives step up to ensure that their children are provided for. There are also a number of orphans being taken care of by grandparents here in Bumira.

Peasant farming, casual work such as carrying packages to offices in Shamakhokho, and peddling are the most common livelihoods for these 210 people. Land cultivation or planting, fetching water, grazing animals, smearing houses with cow dung to keep away jiggers, picking tea, brewing and drinking alcohol are activities that take place in this village on a daily basis. Children go to fetch water and also help with other domestic chores when they are out of school.

People have to leave home to fetch water. The most convenient water source is Madegwa Spring, since it's close to many households. However, the water at Madegwa Spring is not safe for drinking.

Animals are brought to graze around the spring, and they greatly pollute the spring's environment. When it rains, all that excrement is carried into the spring. Soil erosion carries soil from farms into the spring and rubbish thrown carelessly in household gardens is also carried down to the water. This makes it very unsafe for human consumption.

The containers are dunked under the water's surface until full. They're lugged back home and used for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and many other purposes. Most homes don't have larger water barrels or pots to store their water in, so it's just kept in the same 20-liter jerrycan that's carried back and forth to fetch water.

Water from this source is not treated. People believe that they have gotten used to the dirty water from Madegwa Spring. They are careful to avoid other sources, but that which comes from Madegwa is what they trust and they believe their bodies can handle that water. However, community members still report cases of diarrhea and typhoid - which are a result of drinking dirty water. The amount of time and money spent on treatment pulls this village backwards in development.

"You don't even need a microscope to see the dirt in our water, because we can see it with our naked eyes. We have found problems with this water and I believe you see these leaves and all the dirt that we now see in it," said Mr. Madegwa.

"We cannot protect it on our own, if so we would have done it long time ago; we surely need your help."

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.


"I must admit that our sanitation and hygiene standards are very very poor! We really need to be educated on how we can improve in cleanliness for our own good," said Mr. Aswani.

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 (including the use of mosquito nets!). 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

Some of the latrines are almost full, and there are some with very big squat holes that are dangerous for children. This means that the users are not secure while using them and they also lack privacy because the improvised doors are very weak and in many cases, the latrine entrances are just covered with cloths that are blown by the wind.

On the final day of training, participants will select five 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.

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Burmia Community, Imbwaga 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 Burmia, Kenya.

We trained more than 17 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.

January, 2020: Bumira Community, Madegwa Spring Project Complete!

Bumira Community now has access to clean water! Madegwa 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.

Women smiling while they fetch water at 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.

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. 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.

Artisan sets the discharge pipe in the spring's headwall

When it came time to backfill the springbox, at first it was not very easy to get enough stones to finish up the construction process. The community members ended up having to purchase gravel from afar and transport it to the spring site. This caused some delays during the backfilling phase, but eventually, we had enough. 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. Elizabeth Isakho, a 79-year-old farmer who has seen the challenges and struggles of her community without clean water for many years, shared her thoughts on the newly protected spring.

"I am very grateful and so pleased to be part of this community at a time when access to clean and safe water was made a reality. This spring is properly constructed and we feel comforted by it. No more hurdles of collecting water using jugs because now our spring gushes clean water from the pipe," Ms. Isakho said.

"We shall take very minimal time to fetch water from the spring. As a woman, this humbles me a lot that someone thought it appropriate to help us get water from a clean and safe place. God bless you and the teams that supported this noble task."

Community members said they found a new sense of unity over their protected spring

By protecting Madegwa Spring, many peasant farmers and casual laborers have found relief in getting safe and clean water from a trusted and reliable source. A population of over 201 people can now tell a new story because the waiting time to collect water from the spring has been reduced to just 6 seconds. This has provided the community members with much time to engage in other constructive economic activities, unlike before when it was so cumbersome to scoop water using jugs.

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 holds a sign of thanks

New Knowledge

The training was planned with the help of Kevin Lusava, who had the list of households who use the spring. We asked Mr. Lusava to give 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. The community agreed on a date and Mr. Lusava helped inform everyone about the training day while recruiting participants and choosing the venue. Mr. Lusava liaised with the spring's landowner, Mr. Joseph Madegwa, who allowed the participants to gather at his home for this purpose. Mr. Madegwa was very helpful because he provided the seats that were used during the training.

20 people attended training, which our team thought was well attended. It was very encouraging to see a large number of participants spare their time for the sake of the training, taking into consideration that it was during the planting season. Typically during this time of year, no one has a moment to spare as their full attention and effort is required in their fields, but in this case, their love for the project outweighed other things and the training was given the first priority by the attendees.

Training participants take notes during a workshop

The weather during the training day was relatively warm and very conducive to the outdoor setting. Mos topics were conducted at Mr. Madegwa's compound before moving to the spring for an onsite demonstration of maintenance and use. The training was very enjoyable for both the participants and the facilitators.

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 the 10 steps of handwashing

The participants were vibrant and they asked questions throughout the entire day. They discussed the issues about local resource mobilization and thanked each other for working together as one team. Those who were asked to take up leadership roles and to participate in various demonstrations also did so without objection. When someone was not aware of a thing, they were very free to seek help and for others to give it. The participants were very receptive to learning new ideas that challenged their preexisting ones.

Trainer Laura Alulu assists a child in a handwashing demonstration

While discussing safe water handling and treatment methods, it emerged that some of the families with young children were using the chlorine from the dispenser at the spring, intended to treat water, as their bleaching agent on their laundry. Because of this unintended use, participants registered their complaints that the chlorine is exhausted faster than it used to be. Thus, the introduction of the solar disinfection method of water treatment was welcomed during this session as a method that provided a true and long-lasting relief to the scores of members who felt cheated of chlorine by their neighbors.

During the environmental sanitation session, the participants were able to point out that the absence of latrines encourages people to use the bush as the most reliable alternative, and that this poses a danger to both water and soil pollution. The community members resolved to campaign for the installation and rightful usage of various sanitation facilities across their community, including latrines, dishracks, compost pits, handwashing stations, and clotheslines.

Thus they all agreed that there is a need to have and use these sanitation and hygiene promotion facilities. They were happy that the 5 families got household latrine slabs to use to improve sanitation.

Community member shares a response during training

Dental hygiene was another session that really took hold in this community.

"It will be a lame excuse to fail to brush your teeth because you lack money to buy a toothbrush or toothpaste," said farmer Phanice Chekeri.

"This is because, today, we have been shown alternative resources to use instead. The realization that salt or charcoal and chewed sticks can help practice oral hygiene in the same manner manufactured toothpaste and toothbrushes do the same, respectively, is a reason good enough to find comfort in," she said.

Participants smile while holding their training materials at the spring after completing training

By the end of the training, our team witnessed the community embracing the oneness and teamwork that had gotten them through the construction process to see the spring reach completion.

As one community member said, "Going forward, let’s keep bound together to ensure that we all safeguard our gains as a community. This water point is ours to manage."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

December, 2019: Bumira Community, Madegwa Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Madegwa Spring is making people in Bumira 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 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: Bumira Community, Madegwa Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Bumira 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 construction, the water was open to contamination. Soil erosion would block the water point making accessibility very difficult."

"Accessibility is now very easy. The water point is clean and safe from soil pollution. Animals no longer access the water point, unlike before, which means no animal pollution."

"I have started a small business of planting and selling groundnuts since water is easily accessible and in plenty; I no longer have to wait for the rainy season. This has increased my daily income which makes me very happy."

Ann fetches water 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 Bumira 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 Bumira 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.


1 individual donor(s)