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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 168 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

Community Profile & Stories

Executive Summary

Community members living in Shitoto fetch their water from Abraham Spring. The water is visibly contaminated, a fact confirmed from the constant reports of waterborne disease. The open nature of the spring makes the water vulnerable to surface runoff, erosion, and animal and human activities.

Mr. Abraham Anina, the owner of the land the spring runs through, met us there to give us a tour. He said, “Health conditions and services in our community are impaired. We observe a huge number of ailing community members almost every week. Cases of malaria, typhoid, stomachaches, skin diseases and diarrhea, especially in kids under the age of five, are very common in these households.” A sick workforce has resulted in underdevelopment here.

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

We crossed paths with Miriam on the day of our assessment. A timid, pale and seemingly fatigued middle-aged women, she was walking bare-foot, covered in dirt, and wearing torn clothes. She carried a crying toddler on her back, all the while balancing a basin full of clothes on her head and carrying a jerrycan. She told us of her life as she arrived at the unprotected spring.

Miriam starts her day every morning at 6AM by fetching water. Upon completion of her morning chores, she prepares food for her family, with her children getting ready for school. After breakfast, her husband heads for the farm where he makes bricks and maintains a small sugarcane crop. Daily revenue comes through the sale of milk from their cattle. Sometimes, Miriam has to make multiple trips to get water throughout the day.

A person’s socioeconomic status is measured by the size of their farm and the number of animals they own. In addition to daily chores and multiple trips to fetch water, community members go to markets in hopes of selling the products from their farms. Miriam’s story is common among the members of this community.

Water Situation

The community water source is an unprotected spring. 20-liter lidless containers are used for fetching water. Leaves or banana stalk are sometimes used as improvised lids. Most people do not clean their containers, and those who do use sand or leaves as cleaning agents. At home, water is stored in a bigger container. The relatively well-to-do community members store their water in 100-liter plastic containers at home. The rest of the community stores its water in clay-baked pots.

The current water source is contaminated due to surface runoff, soil erosion, and the prominence of open defecation in the surrounding area. While there is no systemic method of water treatment, a small number of people boil their water before consumption. In rural Kenya, almost 50 percent of the population lacks access to a safe drinking water source. This contributes to the low life expectancy in the country, which now stands at 64 years.

Sanitation and Hygiene Situation

Sanitation is not a priority among the general population. Only a quarter of the population have latrines, which are predominately pit latrines. The community latrines are generally un-durable due to mud and wood based construction. Fear of structural collapse while in the midst of latrine usage disincentives people from using the latrines. This, in addition to limited availability of latrines overall, results in prevalence of open defecation. (Editors Note: Open defecation — the practice of disposing human feces in the fields, forests, bushes, and open bodies of water —is an issue the community is facing). This adversely affects sanitation and degrades overall community health. Less than 25 percent of the population has access to bathing facilities at home, resulting in baths at the contaminated spring. Contaminated water usage results in prominence of waterborne disease among the population. Children under the age of five are especially vulnerable, routinely being infected with diseases like typhoid, diarrhea, and malaria. Due to the prevailing negative attitude towards sanitation and hygiene, education and advocacy on its necessity is imperative.

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 latrine floors.

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. Shitoto Community is ready and willing to do everything they can to make this project a success.

Recent Project Updates

08/14/2017: Shitoto Community Project Complete

Abraham Spring in Shitoto Community, 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, want to do a bit more? 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 at the spring after construction was finished. Locals preferred to meet there because they already travel to Abraham Spring on a daily basis, and they also wanted an opportunity to learn about how the protection system works.

Everyone who uses the spring was invited, but we especially urged every household to have at least one representative present. The sessions were attended by 17 people, out of which 11 were female and six male. The female majority is expected, since Kenyan women are seen as most responsible for water and sanitation in their households. There were both young and old, and we were honored to have the village elder in attendance.

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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, watering animals, farming with fertilizers, and open defecation in the vicinity.

We brought poster paper and illustrations that facilitated discussion on healthy and unhealthy behaviors. Group discussions were also very effective in helping participants take responsibility for what they were learning. And since we were at the spring, we could take the group over water point management and maintenance.

Community members showed an eagerness to learn as much as possible, and promised to put these things into practice. Mrs. Brendah Mahalia said, “These trainings have been indeed eye-opening for us as community members. We thank our facilitators for coming to help us understand how to maintain our spring and improve sanitation in our homes. I personally will take up the challenge to be monitoring the cleanliness of the spring!”

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These training participants now make up the water committee, which is taking charge of water point management and maintenance.

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 finish building walls and roofs for privacy.

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This woman and her family are working on finishing the walls and roof around their new sanitation platform.

Project Result: Spring Protection

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, fencing poles and hard core (crushed rock and gravel). Accommodation and food for the artisan were provided and a few people volunteered their services as laborers.

8 kenya4705 Mr. Columba fetching water for construction

Mr. Columba lives in Shitoto and was one of several men who volunteered to help protect Abraham Spring.

The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of polythene, wire mesh and concrete. After the base had been set, both wing walls and the head wall were set in place using brickwork. The discharge pipe was fixed low in place through the head wall to direct the water from the reservoir to the drawing area.

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Leveling for the spring foundation.

As the wing walls and head wall were curing, the stairs were set and the tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. This reduces the erosive force of the falling water and beautifies the spring. The process of plastering the head wall and wing walls on both sides reinforces the brickwork and prevents water from the reservoir from seeping through the walls and allows pressure to build in the collection box to push water up through the discharge pipe.  Lastly, the base of the spring was plastered and the collection box was cleaned. The source area was filled up with clean hardcore and covered with a polythene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination. Finally, grass was planted and cutoff drains dug to direct surface water away from the spring box.

The biggest challenge was getting to and from the spring – there is no clear road. Construction materials had to be stored 500 meters away from the spring, and community members and the artisans had to shuttle these materials to the construction site every day.

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The team practically had to drag their motorbike to this area of Shitoto!

But this perseverance paid off with Abraham Spring finally becoming a clean and convenient source of water. Mr. Columba Ommani shared that his “community now has something to be proud of. Having clean water in the community is a big step in the right direction! We are hopeful that the water-related issues will be a thing of the past, and community members can now focus on developing themselves. It’s a very unique and well done spring.”

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06/22/2017: Shitoto Community Will Soon Have Clean Water

Shitoto Community will soon have a clean, safe source of water thanks to your donation. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Abraham Spring, and often suffer from waterborne diseases. 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 maps.

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Kakamega, Shitoto
ProjectID: 4705
Install Date:  08/14/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 09/07/2017

Visit History:
06/11/2017 — Functional
09/07/2017 — Functional


Nandansons Charitable Foundation
Stoughton Area SD/River Bluff Middle School - Heart and Change Challenge
Huntington Central Church of the Nazarene's Campaign for Water
6 individual donor(s)

Want to start your own campaign? Learn more »

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.