Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 245 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/05/2024

Project Features

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The roads leading up to Shamoni Community are bumpy and dusty. The area is green with sugarcane and maize plantations, for which the village is known. Most houses in the area are semi-permanent. Shamoni Center is nearby, where the local farmers take their goods for sale and exchange. Some people here work as small business owners while others are carpenters and teachers. The majority, however, plant and sell maize and sugarcane on a large scale. The West Sugar Company is just a few kilometers from this community, driving the local industry. Shamoni Secondary School is also along the way to Shiundu Spring.

Shiundu Spring serves 245 people in Shamoni, but it is not meeting their daily water needs due to its contaminated water and difficult access. The water point is open to agents of contamination including farm chemicals, animal waste, and dirt brought in by surface runoff from the rains. Insects and tiny frogs are visible in the water, as are sand particles. Animals like goats, dogs, and other livestock will wander straight through the water, drinking directly from the source and leaving their waste around the water point. The area is not hygienic.

Community members say their most commonly reported water-related illnesses include sore throats, constant coughs, typhoid, and diarrhea. Time spent at home sick means time lost at work and on the farm, or in school for children. Families drain their resources seeking medical care, diverting money that was intended for other crucial needs such as business and farm investments, or their children's school fees.

Accessibility is the other major issue at the spring. 51-year-old Janet Shiundu Koko attested that Shiundu Spring has always had a lot of water, and it has never run dry. As a result, it is sought after by many for reliable water, especially in the dry season. But it is difficult to accommodate crowds at the spring because the entire area stands several inches deep in murky water.

"I have to remove my shoes first because I have to step in the cold and dirty water for me to access it, which is not fun," said teenager Josephine.

Snakes and dangerous insects can easily hide in the water, adding to the risk and discomfort at the spring. To aid in fetching water, community members have tried to improvise a discharge pipe by wedging a plastic pipe between some rocks and sheet metal near the spring's source. But the pipe is not capturing all of the spring's water, leading to slower fill-times for community members' jerrycans. The frequent rains will sometimes wash away the makeshift setup, adding to the time it takes people to fetch water as they try to rebuild it and wait for the extra mud and sand to settle from the disturbance.

The fetching process at Shiundu Spring is causing unnecessary stress and delays to people's daily routines, costing them in productive work time at home, at work, on the farm, and on schoolwork among children. The community is ready to make a change, and we are ready to help them.

What We Can Do:

Spring Protection

Protecting the spring will help provide access to cleaner and safer water and reduce the time people have to spend to fetch it. 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 a task predominantly carried out by women and young girls. Protecting the spring and offering training and support will, therefore, help empower the female members of the community by freeing up more of their time and energy to engage and invest in income-generating activities and their education.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

To hold trainings during the pandemic, we work closely with both community leaders and the local government to approve small groups to attend training. We ask community leaders to invite a select yet representative group of people to attend training who will then act as ambassadors to the rest of the community to share what they learn. We also communicate our expectations of physical distancing and wearing masks for all who choose to attend.

The training will focus on improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits in this community. We will also have a dedicated session on COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention best practices.

With the community’s input, we will identify key leverage points where they can alter their practices at the personal, household, and community levels to affect change. This training will help to ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance to make the most of their water point as soon as water is flowing.

Our team of facilitators will use a variety of methods to train community members. Some of these methods include participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation, asset-based community development, group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring.

One of the most important issues 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 is consumed. We and the community strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve living standards here, which will help to unlock the potential for these community members to live better, healthier lives.

We will then conduct a small series of follow-up trainings before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Training will result in the formation of a water user committee, elected by their peers, that will oversee the operations and maintenance of the spring. The committee 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 channels. The fence will keep out destructive animals and unwanted waste, and the drainage will keep the area’s mosquito population at a minimum.


Project Updates

October, 2021: Shamoni Community, Shiundu Spring Project Complete!

Shamoni Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Shiundu Spring into a flowing source of water, thanks to your donation. Our team protected the spring and trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices, including COVID-19 prevention.

A local motorist (taxi driver), Vincent Chambi, expressed his joy for the new waterpoint: "I have been suffering from water-related diseases, but now my family and I will no longer have that problem. The water from the spring will help me to water the vegetables during the dry season and also help me to make bricks that will earn me a living.

Children were just as excited as the adults about the new water point.

"I had suffered from a waterborne disease that kept me out of school for several weeks," said student, Lavender C. "But with this reliable, clean spring water, I'll be back in school soon and save the wasted time."

Lavender at the new spring.

Lavender also shared a personal dream she will now be able to achieve. "It will help me start my own poultry farm. I'll [focus on] ducks, because they love a watery environment. [This] would later even raise money for my school fees." We wish her the best of luck in her duck-farming endeavors!

We found Lavender's story so compelling that she was featured on our blog. Click here to read more about her dream is going!

Preparing for Spring Protection

Community members worked together to source and carry all locally available construction materials to the spring. These included bricks, sand, stones, and fencing poles. Some people also chiseled away at large rocks to break them down into gravel. Because people have to carry most items by hand, the materials collection process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.

When the community members had prepared everything, we sent a lorry to the community to deliver the rest of the construction materials, including the cement, plastic tarps, and hardware. Then, our artisans and field officers deployed to the spring to begin work. Individual households provided meals throughout each day to sustain the work team.

From Open Source to Protected Spring: A Step-by-Step Process

At last, it was time to dig in at the spring! Locals lent their strength to the artisans each day to help with the manual labor. First, we cleared and excavated the spring area.

Next, we dug a drainage channel below the spring and several surface runoff diversion channels above and around the spring. These help to divert environmental contaminants carried by the rains away from the spring.

To ensure community members could still fetch water throughout the construction process, we also dug temporary diversion channels from the spring's eye around the construction site. This allowed water to flow without severely disrupting community members' water needs or the construction work.

Excavation created space for setting the spring's foundation, which is made of thick plastic tarp, wire mesh, concrete, and waterproof cement.

After setting the base, we started brickwork to build the headwall, wing walls, and stairs.

Next, we began one of the most crucial spring protection steps to ensure a fully functional water point: setting the discharge pipe.

The discharge pipe has to be low enough in the headwall so that the water level inside never rises above the spring's eye, yet high enough to leave eighteen to twenty inches between the pipe and the spring floor. This allows room for the average jerrycan (a 20-liter container) to sit beneath the pipe without making contact.

If we place the discharge pipe too high above the spring's eye, too much backpressure could force the flow to emerge elsewhere. Too low, and community members would not be able to access the water easily.

We embedded the pipe using clay (or mortar when clay is in short supply) and placed it at an incline to ensure water flows in the right direction.

In coordination with brickwork, we pitched medium to large stones on both sides of the spring's drainage channel.

We then cemented and plastered each stone group into place, forming the rub walls. This helps discourage people and animals from standing in that area, which could cause soil erosion and thus a clogged drainage area.

We then turned to cementing and plastering both sides of the headwall and wing walls. These finishing layers reinforce the brickwork and prevent water in the reservoir from seeping through the walls. In turn, enough pressure builds in the reservoir box to push water out through the discharge pipe.

As the headwall and wing walls were curing, we cemented and plastered the stairs and installed four tiles beneath the discharge pipe. The tiles protect the concrete from the falling water's erosive force while beautifying the spring and facilitating easy cleaning of the spring floor.

We transitioned to the final stages of construction with the tiles in place - backfilling the reservoir box. First, we cleared the collection box of any debris that may have fallen in since its construction, such as dead leaves or other items.

Then we redirected the temporary diversion channels back into the reservoir box, channeling water into this area for the first time. We closed off all of the other exits to start forcing the water through the discharge pipe only.

With much help from the community, we filled up the reservoir area with the clean and large stones they gathered, arranging them in layers like a well-fitting puzzle.

We covered the rocks with a thick plastic tarp to minimize potential contamination sources from aboveground, followed by a layer of soil. We piled enough dirt on top to create a slight mound to compensate for the backfill's future settlement.

Community members transplanted grass onto the backfilled soil to help prevent erosion.

Finally, the collection area was fenced to discourage any person or animal from walking on it since compaction can lead to disturbances in the backfill layers and potentially compromise water quality.

The entire construction process took about two weeks of work and patience to allow the cement and plaster to finish curing. As soon as it was ready, people got the okay from our field officers to fetch water.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

Due to the ongoing challenges and restrictions amidst the pandemic, we worked with local leaders and the national Ministry of Health to gain approval for a small group training about health, hygiene, and COVID-19 prevention.

Together with the community, we found their preferred date for training while considering other community calendar events, such as the agricultural season and social events. We requested a representative group of community members to attend training to relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

When the day arrived, facilitators, Rose Serete and Samuel Simidi, deployed to the site to lead the event. 14 people attended the training, which was held at village elder Mr. Shiundu's house under the shade of an obliging tree.

Perhaps the most crucial topic of the day was our session on COVID-19 prevention and control. Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the virus and provide extra information where needed. In addition, we held an election for the newly formed water user committee leaders.

Mary Ong'ayo, the new water user committee's secretary, shared what she learned at the training: "The training impacted me positively by enabling me to learn how to make soap, which was something I never thought of. [I] am going to train more people in this community."

Mary's the one fetching water in this picture.

We covered several other topics, including community participation in the project; leadership and governance; personal and environmental hygiene; water handling and treatment; operation and maintenance of the spring; dental hygiene; the ten steps of handwashing; and how to make and use a tippy tap and leaky tin.

We also brainstormed income-generating activities that community members can use to start a group savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring and a cooperative lending group to enable members to develop small businesses.

The water user committee's new chairperson, Daudi Koko, is also a village elder. Even though he is 52 years old, he still learned plenty at the training. "I learned new skills like handwashing that I had never heard before," he said. "It also taught me on the role of a good leader."

Daudi at the spring.

When an issue arises concerning the spring, the water user committee is equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our field officers to assist them. Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

August, 2021: Shiundu Spring Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Shamoni Community 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 this 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!

A Year Later: No more queuing!

October, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Shamoni Community 2.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shamoni Community 2 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!

The people living in Shamoni Community suffered to find clean water before Shiundu Spring was protected last year. This hardship caused significant delays in their daily life.

"When it rained, and I was at school, I could not access the water point because the spring [became] dirty. I could not take [a] bath and wash my uniforms until the following day," said 15-year-old Ivory S.

But since the spring's protection, things have been different for Ivory and other community members.

"Whether it rains or not, the water is available, and there is no more queuing," said Ivory. "I bathe daily and wash my uniforms after school. There is no more time-wasting at the water point. It is more convenient to draw water from the protected spring."

And with more time on her hands, who knows how bright Ivory's future will be?


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 Shamoni Community 2 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 Shamoni Community 2 – 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