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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 320 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

Community Profile & Stories

This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the Community

Most men in Shitungu Community are involved in farming. They grow maize, vegetables, bananas, sweet potatoes and cassava among many other crops. They also keep cattle, sheep and goats. Brick-making and charcoal-burning are also other activities carried out in this community. A few people also have small retail shops from where other members of the community buy their household items.

The majority of the members of the community profess Islam. During lunchtime, they converge at the mosques for prayers.

Men are the heads of household, while women do most of the household chores. The women wake up early in the morning to prepare the children for school before starting on other duties like collecting firewood, washing clothes, sweeping, farming and fetching water from the unprotected spring.

Water Situation

It takes them about 30 minutes to get to Suleiman Spring. On some occasions, there are so many people at the spring that they spend hours at the spring fetching water before even walking back to their homes. In this community, fetching water is predominantly a woman’s affair.

When it’s a woman’s turn to fetch water, she must first use a bowl to clear off debris floating on the surface. Once the water appears clearer, she uses a small bowl or mug to collect enough water to fill her jerrycan. She carries the full jerrycan back home on top of her head.

Drinking water is often poured into a separate covered clay pot, since it is believed to keep the water cooler.

Suleiman Spring is open to many different sources of contamination. Both human and animal activity contributes to dirtying the water; animals drink straight from the spring and local women do laundry in its water. There was feces, both human and animal, in the vicinity.

After drinking this spring water, community members complain of stomachaches, diarrhea, and confirmed cases of typhoid. Consequentially, a lot of money is spent on medical treatment.

62-year-old farmer Vincent Tsinganga was elated when he heard his community has been approved for a project. He said, “God is good that development partner has come here to ensure at least we have clean water within our reach. This is unbelievable. I have suffered for such a long time from typhoid, diarrhea and stomachache. I spent quite a lot of money on medication and this have made me poor.”

Sanitation Situation

Less than half of households have their own pit latrine. Most of these are made of wooden floors and mud walls. Others are made of old sacks or dry banana leaves. Those who do not have their own latrine either share with a neighbor or relieve themselves out in the open.

There are no hand-washing stations, nor are there many good dish racks or clotheslines to dry belongings.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least two days. This training will ensure participants are no longer ignorant 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 open defecation and its dangers, as well as having and using a pit latrine.

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.

Plans: Sanitation Platforms

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrines.

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 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.

Plans: Spring Protection

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.

In addition, 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.

Mr. Tsinganga is interested in constructing a fish pond after the spring is protected, using the spillover excess to fill the pond. This addition is likely to motivate other community members to venture into fish farming, which will yield a good source of income and protein for the community.

Recent Project Updates

04/17/2017: Shitungu Community Project Complete

Suleiman Spring in Shitungu, Kenya is now a protected, clean source of water thanks to your donation. The spring is protected from contamination, five sanitation platforms have been provided for the community, and training has been given in sanitation and hygiene. Imagine the changes that all of these resources are going to bring for these residents! You made it happen, now help keep the water flowing! Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this spring protection and many other projects.

We just updated the project page with the latest pictures, so make sure to check them out! And please enjoy the rest of the report from our partner in Kenya:

Project Result: New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held outside near the spring. Community Elder Mr. Hussein Rajab was in charge of organizing the training as directed by our field officer. He was asked to mobilize which members would attend either the water user committee or community health worker training.

The training was attended by 15 community members of which eight were men and seven were women. The members present brought forward the issues most affecting them, ranging from problems concerning the spring and problems with household hygiene.

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Training topics included but were not limited to leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; the spread of disease and prevention. We also covered water treatment methods, environmental hygiene, and hygiene promotion. We also took a session to emphasize proper maintenance of the spring protection project. The community should refrain from washing clothes, water animals, farming with fertilizers, and open defecation in the vicinity.

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By the end of the two days, participants formed a water and sanitation committee to oversee and maintain the spring protection. Other participants were equipped with the knowledge to become community health workers. These workers will be responsible for sharing what they learned with the rest of their community by making door-to-door visits. They will continue to keep their neighbors accountable so that the overall community can experience improved health.

After training, some of the participants returned to their homes and immediately started building new latrines. We observed other community members clearing the bushes around their homes, building dish racks, and constructing hand-washing stations. The committee has already received help from their neighbors in fencing off the spring area. It’s apparent this community really appreciated the new things they learned about hygiene and sanitation!

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Mr. Mark Ikhadia is a 72-year-old farmer who attended training, proving you’re never too old to learn new things! He said, “I sincerely appreciate the field officer for the informative training and knowledge she has given us today. On behalf of the local community, I reiterate the commitment of this community to attend public forums and invite the field officer to teach the community in future on matters of sanitation and hygiene.”

Project Result: Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed and are ready for use. These five families are happy about this milestone and are optimistic that there will be much less open defecation. People without proper latrines would often use the privacy of bushes, but now have a private place of their own. It is expected that proper use of latrine facilities provided by the sanitation platforms will go a long way in reducing environmental pollution here. We will continue to encourage these five families to build walls and roofs to protect their new platforms.

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Project Result: Spring Protection

Construction to protect Suleiman Spring began on February 28, 2017.

Before the actual construction could start, community members had to gather rocks and sand and deliver the materials to the spring site. They also helped our artisans clear the brush around the site.

After a spring is earmarked for protection, our artisan arrives to clear the construction site. All bushes and trees are felled with machetes. This is followed by excavating up the slope from the spring output. Ballast is then mixed with cement and sand to make concrete. A wire mesh is lain on the excavated space before the concrete is added in order to create a strong foundation. This foundation is left to cure overnight.

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On the second day, the walls are raised with brick. The artisan then installs a pipe low in the collection wall to direct water from the reservoir to a concrete or plastic spring box. He then backfills the spring source with hardcore until water is flowing from the discharge pipe. The area around the spring is then landscaped, fenced, and drainage is dug.

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The spring now discharges enough clean water to fill a 20-liter jerrycan in 2 minutes and 35 seconds. As the dry season ends, the speed will become much faster. Most importantly, this spring protection will decrease the cases of waterborne disease in Shitungu.

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02/22/2017: Shitungu Community Project Underway

We are excited to share that work in Shitungu Community has begun. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Suleiman Spring, and often suffer physical illnesses after doing so. Our partner conducted a survey of the area and deemed it necessary to protect the spring, build new sanitation platforms (safe, easy-to-clean concrete floors for latrines), and conduct sanitation and hygiene training. Thanks to your generosity, waterborne disease will no longer be a challenge for the families drinking the spring’s water. We look forward to sharing more details with you as they come! But for now, please take some time to check out the report containing community information, pictures, and GPS coordinates. Check out the tabs above to read more about this project!

The Water Project and Shitungu Community Thank You for giving the hope of clean water and good health.

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Kakamega, Lurambi, Butsotso, Murumba, Shitungu
ProjectID: 4696
Install Date:  04/17/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 02/13/2018

Visit History:
06/02/2017 — Functional
09/20/2017 — Functional
02/13/2018 — Functional

Country Details


Population: 39.8 Million
Lacking clean water: 43%
Below poverty line: 50%

Partner Profile

Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO) works together with less privileged and marginalized members of communities in Western Kenya to reduce poverty through harnessing and utilization of local resources for sustainable development.