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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

Community Profile & Stories

Executive Summary

Mutambi community members rely on Kivumbi Spring, which has always provided water for people here. However, the water source is both a blessing and a curse to its dependents: Locals, especially children under age 5, constantly suffer from stomachaches and diarrhea.

Women and children bring their containers and dunk them until they are full. Some find bending over too strenuous, and instead step into the spring to draw its water. This activity is one of many that contaminates drinking water; waste is washed into the spring when it rains, and animals are free to come and go as they please.

Welcome to the Community

Kivumbi Spring is located in Mutambi Village where people are peasant farmers who grow maize, beans and cassava as their food crops. Tea is also planted in small patches to attract income, however little, from Mudete Tea Factory.

When people wake up each morning, their first activity is to walk to Kivumbi Spring to fetch water for the day’s needs. Some residents sell firewood – harvested from their own family woodlot; some bake bricks or hire themselves for casual labor to make ends meet. The region is adorned with beautiful, picturesque and peculiar outcrops of large igneous rocks that not only provide resting places for the villagers, but also act as ecological niches for reptiles like geckos.

The recent thing that is widely talked of is the opening up of the Simboyi-Mutambi-Hamisi Throughway that has lent a glimpse of hope to the motorcycle owners who can now earn a living in the transport industry.  “We are now connected to the rest of the world,” Florence Chellagat said, “unlike before when the only carpet beneath our feet was the burning red Maragoli soil that betrayed our toes with dust as the midday sun scorched us from above.”

 Water Situation

Kivumbi Spring is the exclusive source of water for 100 community households as well as the 300 students of Mutambi Primary School.  It has well-preserved catchment areas that have kept it from drying up, despite seasons of drought that sometimes reduce other springs to dry ground. This makes it a life-giving spring for over 1,000 people. (Editor’s Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people.  This community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)

“During rainy season water is a lot, but the population is too high for the spring to accommodate all households and the school in its current state. Consequently, the trend has been that people line up to almost midnight and others fight due to overcrowding,” said Madam Jessicah, at 60. She was caught quarreling with Ruth to give her a chance to fetch water as well, for she had waited in the line since 6 AM, but in vain.

People have suffered typhoid as a result of drinking this unprotected spring’s water – more so children whose immune systems are weak.  Many people in this village have had diarrhea that can be attributed to unsafe water from the spring. The older folks are fairly resistant, but they too have to buy WaterGuard and use it when they notice that the spring’s water is outright polluted, especially during the dry season when the spring is under more pressure from so many users.

Sanitation Situation

Under half of the homes in Mutambi Village have their own pit latrines which are fashioned from logs and have no doors. The wooden floors become worn out, making them unsafe to use. These pit latrines are very difficult to keep clean, attracting flies which spread diseases.

Rubbish is either disposed of in the garden or behind the homes where chickens scramble for it.  Only 25 – 50% of the homesteads have clothesline and dish racks.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

At least 15 community members and health workers will attend hygiene and sanitation training for two days where a water user committee will be established to oversee all operations around this spring.  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.

Plans: Sanitation Platforms

On the second day of training, participants will select five families – who suffer most from a shortage of sanitation facilities – to benefit from new latrines.
Training will also inform the community and selected families as to 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 provided for the work teams.

Plans: Spring Protection

This water is not safe for human consumption, yet these people cannot afford to protect the spring by themselves. They are willing and ready to work with the organization to help them protect their water point. Users of this spring are ready to garner all materials required from their side for the protection of this source.

Protecting a spring often results in a stronger flow of water from it.  So, protecting Kivumbi Spring will alleviate overcrowding and long lines and ensure that the water is safe, adequate and secure.  Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water.  So, the community of Mutambi will be healthier, happier and able to spend more of their time and energy in school, at work and taking care of their families.

Recent Project Updates

06/19/2017: Mutambi Community Project Complete

Kivumbi Spring in Mutambi, 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 organized by Mrs. Florence Chelagat, a woman highly respected by her community. She made announcements and urged her neighbors to attend.

Sessions began early in the morning at the spring, with eight participants in attendance. There were seven women and one man, which came as no surprise since women are seen as most responsible for water and sanitation in Kenyan homes.

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Women stand and rest on a large boulder as they learn about proper hygiene and sanitation.

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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The trainer explains how a transparent container can be used for solar disinfection of water.

Pamela Khavetsa is one of the women who attended training. When not on her farm, she’s taking care of her family, so she greatly appreciates any information that will keep her family healthier and happier. “We thank The Water Project and Western Water and Sanitation Forum for enabling us get access to safe clean water, also by this training we have learned a lot about hygiene! Almost everything which has been talked about in sanitation we did not know, but now we are aware.”

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. “My family and I are very thankful. The slabs have aided us in having a positive mindset towards having an open defecation free community,” Florence Chelagat said.

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This sanitation platform, still drying, gets the thumbs up from father and child.

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. Florence Chelagat and other women even prepared meals for our artisan.

Once our artisan arrived, he recruited local men and directed the excavation of the spring area; ground needed to be leveled 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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Foundation Slab

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.

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These community members stepped up to help the artisan backfill Kivumbi Spring!

Now that Kivumbi Spring is protected, a woman can easily fill her 20-liter jerrycan in just 58 seconds. Not only do 100 households report as beneficiaries of Kivumbi Spring, but 300 students draw water from it also. This makes it a life-giving source for hundreds. Judith Ederia said, “We thank God for the clean water brought to us. Initially, we used to get polluted water from unprotected, dirty and contaminated spring but now that has come to an end.”

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05/26/2017: Mutambi Community Project Underway

Mutambi Community will soon have a clean, safe source of water thanks to your donation. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Kivumbi 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 maps.

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Kakamega, Mutambi
ProjectID: 4706
Install Date:  06/19/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 10/31/2017

Visit History:
06/22/2017 — Functional
10/31/2017 — Functional


Smooth Water Group Nancy, Lindsey, Chesney
LuLaRoe Kristin Christopher
22 individual donor(s)

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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.