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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 280 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

Community Profile & Stories

Wamwaka Spring is a reliable source of water for people living in Kidinye Village. Unfortunately, its dirty water is not a source of life. Families constantly suffer from waterborne disease, diarrhea, and stomach pains. Local women and children both contaminate the spring and waste time by dunking their containers to fetch water. Some of the smaller children even have to wade into the water to fill their containers!

With your support, we have begun providing the tools and skills this community needs. Most importantly, Wamwaka Spring is being transformed into a protected source of clean drinking water.

Welcome to the Community

Kidinye Community is home to 280 people from around 30 different households.

As children wake up to start preparing for school, most men head straight to work – either on their small farms, or doing other income-generating activities like brick-laying and harvesting ballast by breaking big rocks found in the area. Women have to clean homes and prepare breakfast, which they take to their husbands wherever they are working, unless they are motorbike taxi drivers who come back home to eat breakfast.

Some women spend the morning hours engaged in various domestic chores, while others go searching for manual labor. Most women here pick tea to be paid 150 shillings daily, and others run small businesses in Majengo, Mbale, Kivagala or Mudete trading centers.

There are also many alcoholic men who leave their wives having to do everything for their families from providing food to doing all domestic chores and paying school fees. Anytime those men do casual labor and are paid, all of that money is spent on buying local the brew. Some of them, after getting drunk, harass and abuse their wives and children – no wonder some children in this area grow up with bitterness that affects their adult lives.

There’s a pocket of these men who lay around all day long, drinking and smoking with no attempt to till their lands. But oddly enough, farm produce – especially maize – is sun-drying on their property during harvesting seasons. They are the ones suspected to be stealing other people’s maize and vegetables from the farms. “We suspect them, but no one can claim to know a thief until they are caught red-handed. Therefore, this lot sleeps and drinks during the day but do illicit work at night. Nobody can plant crops ahead of others or later than others because their produce will be the only ones for thieves, therefore they have to wait for everyone else before planting.”

Another small group of men are brokers who move from market to market with cattle, goats and sheep, buying and selling at considerable profit margins. Every center has its own market day. For instance, all of the men take their animals to Luanda every Monday and Thursday, Cheptul every Tuesday and Friday, Serem on Wednesday and Saturdays, Mbale every Wednesday, and Mudete every Thursday. You rarely see these men at home.

Water Situation

Many people in Kidinye Community rely on Wamwaka Spring. The number of individuals relying on the spring for all of their water needs drastically rises in the dry season, because Wamwaka is one of the only sources that keeps flowing.

The path to the spring is extremely steep and is often very slippery. The steep slope also channels rainwater into the spring during the rains. This rainwater carries fecal matter and garbage into the spring’s water. Furthermore, the spring is always overcrowded, and women have to wait long hours to fill their containers.

Leaves and other things are seen floating around women and children who wade into the water to fill their containers. Many people in this village have diarrhea, which can be attributed to drinking water from Wamwaka Spring.

Sanitation Situation

At the household level, most families have clotheslines, dish racks, and bathing rooms, but latrines are lacking. Those with functional latrines have the simple pit type with floors made of logs. This makes latrine floors hard to clean, thus attracting flies.

There were no compost pits for waste disposal. Instead, rubbish is either disposed of in the garden or behind the houses where dogs and chicken scramble for a snack.

Families spread their harvested maize on that same ground full of dirt, a practice that puts them at risk.

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.

The above interventions all help ensure that spring users have access to safe and adequate drinking water, along with sound sanitation facilities. They will help in the prevention of communicable diseases and waterborne diseases.

Recent Project Updates

05/02/2017: Kidinye Community Project Complete

Wamwaka Spring in Kidinye, 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 on Mr. Luvale Mwaka’s land, since his home is closest to the spring. This was the most convenient place, since we wished to hold onsite sessions on spring management and maintenance. The village elder insisted that at least one representative of every household using the spring attend training.

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The elderly men in attendance had the most questions concerning hygiene and sanitation, giving us a lot of opportunities to learn about gender roles here. One man said, “You say we should boil milk and cook food well, and that we should cover our food while cooking, that we should take children for immunizations. All the issues you are saying here majorly touch women; it is women who cook, fetch water and clean the compounds. They are the ones that get menses (the menstrual cycle) and do family planning. You women, as you hear today, please follow what you have been taught so that we do not die early.” Perceptions on gender roles were challenged during the remaining sessions, with our trainer teaching about how everyone in a community is responsible for water, hygiene and sanitation… not just the women!

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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 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 entire community can experience improved health.

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The women in Kidinye Village have already told us how they’ve seen change in their husbands. Even if their husbands aren’t helping as much as they’d like, they are in fact beginning to appreciate all that women do. The men on the water user committee have proven to be very strict with enforcing proper behavior at the spring, making sure the area remains tidy. Back at the household level, we’ve found that every family now has their own latrine and dish rack.

Mr. Zakaria Anavila said, “I’m glad you came to teach us. God can use anybody, and this time He used you to tourch this community. I will ensure my family sleeps under treated mosquito nets so that we avoid malaria. Thank you for teaching us how to stay away from diseases and infections.”

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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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“Thank you for the sanitation platform you have given to us, I only used cemented latrines in school and church because the one we had at home had a floor made of wood which had began rotting and it was dangerous to my family. Now the new slab is easy to clean and it is also attractive, at least we now have a cemented floor in our compound; to us it is something we must be proud of and we shall take good care of this slab just like you taught us so that it serves us for long,” said Brian, a child whose family who directly benefited from a new latrine facility.

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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.

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.

The only challenge here was that the young and middle-aged men continued to leave the village everyday in search of food and earnings. This left our artisan without much manpower, and so he had to approach the children and elderly to help.

Mr. Jotham Matini at last got to witness the project’s completion, and he expressed his gratefulness. “This water is very clean… We shall protect this spring because it is ours, and because we really worked hard to get the local materials. Let nobody break the rules we laid down during the training, because punishment awaits those who do not obey the set rules!” Mr. Matini and the rest of his community are serious about having clean water for generations to come!

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We’re happy to share that since this project was completed, we’ve already heard from more community members. Mr. Mwaka called to tell us about the changes he’s already witnessing:

“Cases of diarrheal diseases have reduced, and the whole community has started to develop the habit of practicing everything as discussed during the training, like going to the hospital whenever we feel sick instead of buying over the counter drugs. What you told us in the training is true, because I taught my wife who did not manage to attend the meeting, and I assure you that my whole family has witnessed change. We now sleep under treated mosquito nets and we have cleared all bushes around our dwelling place. Surely, I have had peace in my house since I started following your pieces of advice. Even my grandchildren who used to get sick more often are now very healthy and it is a relief to the whole family. That money we used to waste buying drugs can now be used to pay fees for my grandchildren that were abandoned by their father as a result of being born out of wedlock. We saw you as young children… in fact we really despised you when you came here because of your youthful age. You know, for old men like us being told what to do, like bringing materials to the spring and being taught in a seminar with children as young as you are is a very big insult in our culture. But we did not want to show you openly, and we just decided to calm down so that we could have our source protected and of course get the sanplats (sanitation platforms) from you. We attended the seminar because it was mandatory as announced by the village elder who had really convinced us to support the project. But after hearing you touch real issues that were affecting us, we decided to listen and even thanked God silently from our hearts that we came. The messages you brought us about the good health practices are being taken seriously by everyone because even as we talk now, there is no home without a dish rack or wire line, and every compound is tidy as a result of your training.”

It is thoroughly exciting to hear this kind of testimony from one of the elderly men who previously looked to women as the only ones responsible for hygiene and sanitation!

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02/15/2017: Kidinye Community A Project Underway

We are excited to share that work in Kidinye Community has begun. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Wamwaka 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 Kidinye 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:  Vihiga, Maragoli, Ikumba, Kidinye
ProjectID: 4703
Install Date:  05/02/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 10/10/2017

Visit History:
06/27/2017 — Functional
10/10/2017 — 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.