Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2022

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/08/2024

Project Features

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Mutumamu Spring within the Litinye community is located in Kakamega, Kenya. The most common livelihood for community members in the village is farming sugarcane, cassava, and beans.

The 210 people of this community draw water from the contaminated and unprotected spring both in the early morning and again in the late evening every day.

Midday, the spring is often overcrowded since pupils from Kamuchisu Primary School also share this water source. Accessing water is a challenge for students, too.

As stated by 13-year-old Yvonne (shown below), "I am always worried while at school because I need to rush home during lunch break and get water for my grandmother before coming back to school, and at times the spring is overcrowded, and I end up being late at school."

The spring is located on a gradual slope and open to contamination. Outbreaks of waterborne diseases happen regularly, and money meant for daily living expenses is often spent on medical treatment and medications, resulting in poor living standards.

"At my age (66), I need to get up very early in the morning for me to get clean water because, during the day, there is overcrowding at the spring," said Beatrice Agesa (shown above), a local farmer.

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

April, 2022: Litinye Community Spring Protection Complete!

Litinye Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Mutumamu Spring into a flowing source of naturally filtered water thanks to your donation. Our team also trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these components will unlock the opportunity for community members to live better, healthier lives.

Farmer Jane Namusasi, 40, said, "My living standards will improve because I have been in and out of [the] hospital after taking water from this particular spring before it was protected. Now, I can take it freely knowing that contamination routes have been blocked."

Jane at the spring.

Children were just as excited as adults about the new waterpoint.

"To me, there will be peace and respect because initially, children would quarrel with elderly people at the water, which was not good. With peace in [the] community, a lot will be achieved," said Philip W., age 12.

Philip at the spring.

He continued, "Before the spring was protected I use to waste a lot of time when fetching water, but now this will make everything easy and faster. This means I will take [a] very short time to draw water and go back home to continue with my school work. [I] am sure my academic performance will improve."

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 material-collection process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.

When the community was ready, we sent a lorry to deliver the remaining construction materials, including cement, plastic tarps, and hardware. Then, our construction artisan 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 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 runoff diversion channels above and around the spring. These help to divert surface contaminants away.

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

Excavation created space for setting the spring's foundation, made of thick plastic tarp, wire mesh, concrete, and waterproof cement. After establishing the base, we started brickwork to build the headwall, wing walls, and stairs.

Once the walls had grown tall enough, we began one of the most crucial steps: setting the discharge pipe. The discharge pipe needs to be positioned low enough in the headwall so the water level never rises above the spring's eye, yet high enough to allow 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, backpressure could force water 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 stones on both sides of the spring's drainage channel. We then cemented and plastered each stone, forming the rub walls. These walls discourage people and animals from standing in that area, which could cause soil erosion and a clogged drainage area.

We then cemented and plastered 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 cured, 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.

The final stage of construction is backfilling the reservoir box behind the discharge pipe. We cleared the collection box of any debris that may have fallen during construction. 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 water through the discharge pipe only.

We filled up the reservoir area with the large, clean stones community members had gathered, arranging them in layers like a well-fitting puzzle. We covered the rocks with a thick plastic tarp to minimize potential contamination sources, then piled enough dirt on top to compensate for future settling.

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. 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.

The community members were happy to have the project finished. Immediately upon completion, the field officer in charge handed it over to the community officials and community members.  She asked them to put into practice what they had learned to ensure the water point stays clean and functional throughout the year. They promised to keep their spring clean and neat.

Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

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

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 Stella Inganji and Betty Muhongo deployed to the site to lead the event. 22 people attended the training, including 15 women and seven men. We held the training at the landowner's homestead, under a big, indigenous tree.

We covered several other topics, including community participation in the project, leadership and governance, personal and environmental hygiene, water handling and treatment, spring maintenance, dental hygiene, the ten steps of handwashing, disease prevention, and how to make and use handwashing stations.

During the leadership and governance session, we held an election for the newly formed water user committee leaders, who will oversee the maintenance of the spring. We also brainstormed income-generating activities. Community members can now start a group savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring and a cooperative lending group, enabling them to develop small businesses.

Water committee members.

The topic that kept people most engaged was soap-making. Participants were keen to learn the process and asked many questions for clarification. At the end of the session, everyone wanted to know where to get the detergent so they could make their own soap.

Farmer and treasurer of the water committee, Christine Meshack, shared her experience during the training. "I thank God for this team. Many times [I] have been wondering what else can I do apart from a being a farmer. [I] am so happy because I have gained knowledge on how to make liquid soap that will boost my living standards. Apart from that, I have learned a lot on sanitation matters."

Group photo of participants.

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!

February, 2022: Litinye Community 3 Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Litinye 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: "With access to clean, safe water things have really transformed."

March, 2023

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Litinye Community 4.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Litinye Community 4 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 in Litinye last year, community members had to carefully and slowly collect water from a shallow, cloudy pool. It was tedious, and the water was contaminated.

"I personally can testify that I could not fetch water without a cup. The area was surrounded by muddy clay hence accessing [it] was a challenge. [The] majority of people collected water frequently hence causing contamination of [the] water. This made us to wait for [the] water to settle before we [could] fetch," said 45-year-old farmer Mary Mufutu.

But since the spring was protected, collecting water has become much easier and faster for everyone, and the water people consume is much safer.

"Water is life! To me, I can really celebrate for the new chapter of changing people's lives with access to clean, safe water. Collecting water through [the] pipe has enabled me to save time. No more carrying [a] collecting cup, which enhances cleanliness when fetching water," said Mary. "Moreso several people can fetch [water] at a time without [the] water [being] contaminated."

Ease of water collection is not the only benefit for community members like Mary. They have also improved their daily hygiene and sanitation practices creating opportunities for everyone's health and quality of life to improve.

"With access to clean, safe water, things have really transformed. I can do manual cleaning on a daily basis [like] washing clothes and bathing and even preparing food on time for my children. [Now with] access to clean and safe water [I] am trying to ensure that each and everyone in my community maintains high standards of hygiene by educating them on [the] importance of living a healthy life," concluded Mary.

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 Litinye Community 4 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 Litinye Community 4 – 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.


Project Sponsor - SJR