Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 329 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/05/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

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.

Project Updates

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Mwinaya Community, Severe 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.

Homemade mask tutorial

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 Mwinaya, Kenya.

We trained more than 9 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

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.

Practicing the 10 handwashing steps

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.

Young handwashing volunteer

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.

A boy follows the 10 handwashing steps

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.

Trainer Jacky addresses the children at training

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.

August, 2018: A Year Later: Mwinaya Community

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Severe Spring for Mwinaya Community in Western Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories. Read more...

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: Mwinaya Community

August, 2018

The incidence of waterborne diseases has decreased in this community, largely thanks to safe, reliable water access.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mwinaya Community, Severe Spring 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!

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Severe Spring for Mwinaya Community in Western Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partner, Jacklyne Chelagat, with you.

"This community was battling with water and sanitation-related diseases for a long time, forcing people to use massive resources to buy medication," Mr. Bonface Waswa said.

"As I speak, the recurring diseases have reduced due to accessing clean and safe water."

People are experiencing good health as a result of their spring being protected, and participating in the training equipped them with proper information on sanitation and hygiene practices. The previous water and sanitation-related diseases have completely decreased and the community members are able to engage in various development activities.

This community is amazing. Despite the few disagreements they have, accessing clean and safe water has taught them to appreciate one another and assist each other when there's a problem.

Protection of this spring is only one step along the journey toward sustainable access to clean water. The Water Project and WEWASAFO (our trusted local partner) are committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by donors like you, allows us to maintain our relationships with communities by visiting up to 4 times each year to ensure that the water points are safe and reliable.

This is just one of the many ways that we monitor projects and communicate with you. Additionally, you can always check the functionality status and our project map to see how all of our water points are performing, based on our consistent monitoring data.

One project is just a drop in the bucket towards ending the global water crisis, but the ripple effects of this project are truly astounding. This functional spring in Mwinaya Community is changing many lives.

"Protection of the spring has positively improved my academics performance," Sylvia Were, a 10-year-old girl, said.

"I spend less time fetching water and going home to study. I rarely miss class lessons due to stomach upsets and other water-related diseases such as typhoid that I used to contract before protecting the spring."

This is only possible because of the web of support and trust built between The Water Project, WEWASAFO, the community, and you. We are excited to stay in touch with this community and support their journey with safe water.

Read more about The Water Promise and how you can help.

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 Mwinaya Community, Severe Spring 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 Mwinaya Community, Severe Spring – 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.