Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 480 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/09/2024

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

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.

Project Updates

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Shitungu Community, Hessein 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.

Handwashing practice

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 Shitungu, Kenya.

Handwashing demonstration

We trained more than 19 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.


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.

Mask making tutorial

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.

Building pole supports for caution chart

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.

Caution chart installed at the spring

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.

September, 2018: A Year Later: Shitungu Community

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Hussein Spring for Shitungu 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: Shitungu Community

August, 2018

When the pipe at the spring broke, the community members repaired it on their own – evidence that this spring is highly valued since it provides reliable water.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shitungu Community, Hessein 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 Hussein Spring for Shitungu 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, Lillian Achieng, with you.

Clean water has brought a new cohesion to the community, with every person being concerned with the care and sustainability of their spring protection. They now believe in working together. The community members have kept the spring clean and in good condition, most demonstrated by their effort to repair a broken pipe without even involving our organization.

"Since the spring was protected, we now have clean drinking water. We no longer crowd with our tins to scoop water from the ground like before instead we line up since the water is flowing," Abigael Ayuma, a 17-year-old girl, said.

"Hygiene in our compounds and houses has also improved since our parents received training when the project was implemented."

It is evident from their personal hygiene that the training on sanitation and hygiene was beneficial to them. The containers for fetching drinking water are clean too.

"The sanitation platforms have also encouraged sanitation and hygiene since the beneficiaries can use the latrines comfortably and can also clean them using the water," Mr. Hussein Rajab, a village elder, said.

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.

"Community members especially the children used to suffer from waterborne diseases but that is no longer the case since the spring was protected," Mr. Rajab said.

This functional spring in Shitungu Community is changing many lives. 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 Shitungu Community, Hessein 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 Shitungu Community, Hessein 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.


Project Underwriter - Rhein Family
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