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The Water Project : 17-kenya4697-construction
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The Water Project : 10-kenya4697-sanitation-platform
The Water Project : 9-kenya4697-training
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The Water Project : 12-kenya4697-latrine
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The Water Project : 10-kenya4697-compost-pit
The Water Project : 9-kenya4697-clothesline
The Water Project : 8-kenya4697-dish-rack
The Water Project : 7-kenya4697-landscape
The Water Project : 6-kenya4697-baking-bricks
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The Water Project : 1-kenya4697-unprotected-source

Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 329 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

Mwinaya Community is located in East Butsotso, Indangalasia, Lurambi of Kakamega County, Kenya.

The major economic activities here are agriculture and brick baking. Sugarcane makes up the majority of crops, since it sells for the highest price.

Community members wake up and start their days with milking the cows. Women and children collect water from the local source and bring it back home to prepare breakfast. Most of the day is then spent on the farm planting, weeding, or harvesting. Those who don’t have a farm most likely bake bricks for sale.

Community members were amazed when they witnessed the great work done at Omulakha Spring in a neighboring community, which motivated them to write a letter asking for help protecting Severe Spring. After they sent this letter, they wouldn’t stop calling our office to hear whether or not their request had been accepted!

Water Situation

There are 329 people living in Mwinaya Village, all who depend on dirty water for cooking, washing, and drinking. While Severe Spring has never stopped flowing, its waters are constantly contaminated by surface runoff mixed with farming fertilizers and feces, human and animal activity, and erosion.

Community members have suffered from waterborne diseases for decades, including cholera and typhoid. Isabella Khasandi is a 38-year-old wife and mother who has no other choice but fetch water from Severe Spring. “As a community, we have battled for so long with issues of health and sanitation, which is majorly caused by the use of contaminated water. Personally, I have used massive resources to treat diseases that are brought about by the same condition,” she shared. The most common illnesses are cholera and typhoid.

Sanitation Situation

No more than half of families have their own pit latrine.  All of the latrines observed were dirty, dilapidated, and dangerous to the users. Because of these poor conditions, open defecation is an issue. With nowhere else to go, community members seek the privacy of bushes to relieve themselves.

The same low number of families have dedicated bathing rooms to wash in private and practice personal hygiene. There were only a few hand-washing stations, and many more households need to build helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines. Most waste is disposed on the edge of a family’s property.

Children here are dirty and dressed in tatters. They visit the filthy latrines barefooted, and do not wash their hands after using them. They drink water from the unprotected spring without treating or boiling it, and thus there is a dire need here of both training and clean water.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least three 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.

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.

Recent Project Updates

05/02/2017: Mwinaya Community Project Complete

Severe Spring in Mwinaya, 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 near Severe Spring at the homestead of Isabella Ambetsa, the landowner. Her home is approximately 25 meters from the spring, so it was easy for participants to walk over for spring management and maintenance sessions. Isabella showed a lot of initiative by informing all of her neighbors about the upcoming training opportunities. She went door to door to invite everyone, making sure that there would be at least one representative of each household that uses the spring.

When we arrived on the first day, we found all 12 participants there and ready. They asked questions about every topic and were quick to share their experiences.

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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.

By the end of the three 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.

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During the training, we learned about two women in the village who had their differences and were not even talking to each other anymore. It is alleged that their enmity had trickled down to their children, who also became enemies. During the training, the two ladies were coincidentally put in the same group to discuss and present their findings. All the participants were so eager to see what would transpire between the two women. Everybody was astonished to see them open up and sharing openly in the group. Madam Isabella later on whispered that by the time the training was ending, they had resolved to bury their differences and become good friends. How pleasant is it to see them laughing once again on their way to the spring. Water! Water! Water is life and not only that, in this case water is a source of reconciliation and a unifying factor in the community.

Mr. Maurice Akhonya was there, and told us “I am so excited that despite my old age, I was able to receive such kind of information that since I was young I have never gotten such privilege. The information gotten on health and sanitation including taking clean and safe water from protected Severe Spring will lengthen my life span!” The community was so excited about what they learned, they invited members from their neighboring community to come over and meet us. Now, their neighbors have requested a project!

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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

The community prepared for construction by gathering the local materials and delivering them to the spring. These included ballast, hardcore, sand, and bricks. Some of the women even prepared meals for our artisan.

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Our artisan arrived to direct the excavation of the spring area to create a level ground for setting and casting the foundation slab. This foundation is built using wire mesh, concrete and waterproof cement. During this process, the spring water is diverted to flow to the sides to avoid interference with cement work.

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After the foundation has settled, the brick work for both wing walls and the head wall are done. These walls trap head waters and direct them towards the collection source. This builds enough pressure to raise the water to the discharge pipe fitted in the wall. As the bricks dry, staircases are made using concrete and bricks, and the basement foundation walls are constructed using hardcore, cement and sand. Tiles are then fitted on the spring floor to provide erosion resistance from the discharge pipe’s water. The brick is then plastered to finish both sides and further reinforce them against pressure.

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The collection source is then excavated and cleaned to remove any mud, and is redirected. The area behind the wall is then packed with hardcore that acts as a filter, and then covered with a polythene membrane to stop any external contamination. Finally, trenches are dug to direct sources of contamination away from the spring.

Village Elder Gideon Akhoma said, “Thank you for taking the initiative for protecting the spring. The number of people fetching water from Severe Spring has already increased, since people from the neighboring village are also coming to fetch clean and safe water.”

The Water Project : 24-kenya4697-protected-spring

02/02/2017: Mwinaya Community

We are excited to share that work in Mwinaya Community has begun. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Severe 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 Mwinaya 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, Mwinaya
ProjectID: 4697
Install Date:  05/02/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 01/13/2018

Visit History:
05/31/2017 — Functional
09/11/2017 — Functional
01/13/2018 — 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.