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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 480 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

Shitungu Village is located in Murumba, Butsotso of Kakamega County, Kenya. It is home to 480 people from around 60 different households. The majority of people belong to the Butsotso sub-tribe of the Luhyia. Since the village’s establishment, outsiders have come to buy land from the locals.

Most people here rely on agriculture as their livelihood. They plant maize, cassava, groundnuts, bananas, and many other kinds of vegetables. Many of these farmers also raise cattle.

Mothers are the first to wake up in the morning. They start our cleaning their homes, sweeping, and fetching water from the local unprotected spring. After they finish their regular chores, they either go to the farm to help their husbands or go to the market to buy and sell goods. It’s a struggle to sell enough for a child’s school fees. The majority of this community is Muslim.

The community discovered the opportunity for spring protection when they met for the “Chief’s Baraza,” an event organized by the area chief. The chosen venue was near a spring that had already been protected by our organization. The area chief has also invited staff members to come and talk about hygiene and sanitation, and its during this session that Shitungu community members asked us to protect Hussein Spring.

Water Situation

Hussein Spring is an unprotected water source on which all households rely. When it’s rainy, the spring’s is supplemented by containers put outside the home for collection. When available, rainwater collection is often preferred; heavy rains cause the spring to become extremely turbid. This water is used for cleaning, cooking, watering animals and drinking. It is also used for irrigating crops during the drier seasons.

Small plastic containers, often the ones used to package cooking oil, are used to fetch water. These are dunked into the water until filled, and then lifted up on the head or back to return home. Once home, water is poured into large clay pots or 100-liter plastic containers for storage.

Hussein Spring is open to contamination from all directions! When it rains, waste is washed into the water. Animals are free to come and go as they please, while some women and children even step into the water while fetching. There are nearby latrines and farms, so there is a high likelihood the fertilizers and feces are in the drinking water. Though many mothers boil or treat water before drinking, the community is still subjected to outbreaks of waterborne illnesses like typhoid or diarrhea accompanied by stomach pain. A lot of money and time is wasted to treat these complications.

Sanitation Situation

Less than half of households have their own pit latrine built with mud, grass, and iron sheets. The floors are often compacted with cow dung, which has to be redone on a regular basis. If a family doesn’t have cattle, they have to ask their neighbors, many who are not willing to part with it. Because of these poor conditions, open defecation is an issue.

There are no places to wash hands after using the latrine. Many households also have no helpful tools like dish racks or clotheslines to dry their belongings up off the ground. Compostable waste is most often thrown in a pile by the farms so it can be used as fertilizers.

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.

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.

Fetching water is predominantly done by women and girls. Once Hussein Spring is protected, the local female community members will be empowered with more time to engage and invest in income-generating activities. The spring is located at the bottom of a slope that gets slippery during wet weather, and so this construction will also protect community members from injury.

A local elder welcomed us, confiding that many other organizations had visited their spring but had never done anything to help. Shitungu leadership has pledged to commit themselves and their resources to the success of this project.

Recent Project Updates

05/02/2017: Shitungu Community Project Complete

Hussein 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 beside the spring after construction was completed; the perfect meeting place for people since they are used to walking there daily for their water. Village Elder Hussein Rajab helped spread the word about training dates, inviting at least one member of every household that fetches water at Hussein Spring.

Training was attended by 18 community members, all who carried chairs to each session. All of these participants came ready to take notes and share their experiences with water and sanitation.

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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.

During the closing session, Village Elder Vincent Waka said “I take this opportunity to appreciate the field officer for the informative training and knowledge received. On behalf of the local community, I reiterate their commitment to carry out mobilization of the community to attend public forums and invite the facilitators to teach the community in future on matters of sanitation and hygiene. The community will also ensure that the protected spring is fenced off and proper maintenance work carried out.”

After training was dismissed, we already observed community members building new latrines, clearing brush, and using mosquito nets. The team of health workers has decided to meet two times a month to work with their community on hand-washing.

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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.

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.

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.

Local farmer Fredrick Ondala was there at the finish of these construction efforts. “I am happy and really appreciate you for considering our spring for protection. For a long time, many people had come forth promising to protect the spring but had not fulfilled their pledges. You have lived to their promises and protected the spring at long last.”

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02/02/2017: Shitungu Community Project Underway

We are excited to share that work in Shitungu Community has begun. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Hussein 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:  Kakamga, Lurambi, Butsotso, Murumba, Shitungu
ProjectID: 4698
Install Date:  05/02/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 09/20/2017

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


Project Underwriter - Rhein Family
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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.