Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/21/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

This project was originally slated to be held in Munyanya Community to protect Alfonce Lukongo Spring. But after our engineers spent months dealing with drainage and crossflow issues from a nearby river, this spring was finally deemed impossible to protect. We moved our attention to a spring in the neighboring Irungu Community, so that clean water would still be within walking distance of Munyanya.

Welcome to the Community

The people living in Irungu Community wake up as early as 6am to prepare their children for school. After the children leave for school around 7am, women stay at home to finish household chores while men are involved in a variety of livelihoods like farming, hawking goods, and casual labor. Those who aren't able to earn enough through their harvest or wares must venture to the nearby town center to see if anyone could use help with construction or agricultural activities. When women are finished with fetching water and cleaning, they normally venture out to help their husbands on the farms or stay around the house tending to kitchen gardens.

This area is particularly unique for its huge rocks that mark the landscape.

Water Situation

At least one person from each family must travel to fetch water several times a day, because when a 20-liter jerrycan arrives home it is used up immediately. Irungu Spring is the main source of water here, but it is contaminated and endangers its users.

Water bubbles from the ground into a puddle located in an open area, land that belongs to Mr. Joshua Enima. He allows the rest of the community to draw water from Irungu Spring because there's never a lack of water, even during the dry season. But being in an open area, it is contaminated by erosion and rainwater that washes waste, feces and more dirt into the water.

Containers are dunked under the water until full, carried back home, and then used for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. After consuming this water, community members often suffer from typhoid.

Sanitation Situation

Not everybody living in Irungu has a pit latrine. Those without latrines seek the privacy of bushes to relieve themselves; but even those with latrines often prefer to use the bushes. Most of the latrines here are missing doors and have rickety wooden floors!

Less than a quarter of households have helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines, and there were only a couple of hand-washing stations. Mrs. Edith Minayo told us, "We are so happy that you have come to assist us improve our sanitation facilities!"

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 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

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 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. Mr. Joshua Enima calls this project "a new down," and we know he's right!

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Irungu Community, Irungu 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.

Passing out informational pamphlets on COVID-19

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 Irungu, Kenya.

Kids show off their informational pamphlets

We trained more than 26 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.

Trainer uses prevention reminder chart

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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

Building support stand for sign

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.

Woman stands with prevention reminders sign installed at the spring

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.

A community member demonstrates handwashing

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: Irungu Community

A year ago, generous donors helped protect a spring for Irungu Community in 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...

January, 2018: Irungu Community Project Complete

Irungu Spring in Irungu 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

We worked with the village elder, Mr. Alfred Kavogi, to arrange hygiene and sanitation training. We met 18 participants at Mr. Joshua Enima's homestead, which is nearby the spring.

We covered several topics including 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, hygiene promotion, and many other things.

There were charts, illustrations, and activities to help the community members understand these new things. We also demonstrated as much as possible: brushing teeth, washing hands, and cleaning the spring.

The trainer demonstrating the 10 steps of hand-washing

The two days of training were a great success, with the participants promising to be ambassadors of good health, hygiene and sanitation for the rest of their community. Mr. Kavogi said, "I am so glad and do appreciate a lot for having held this training here today, personally I have gained much more than I had anticipated. We have been taught the ten steps of hand-washing which I believe none of us ever thought of."

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 are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

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 we asked a few people to volunteer their time and strength to help the artisan with manual labor.

There were quite a few delays, being the holiday season at the end of the year. Once vacations wrapped up, everyone worked extra hard to complete the following process:

The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of polyethylene, wire mesh and concrete. After the base had been set, both wing walls and the headwall 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.

The excavated spring

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 polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination. Community members then helped us plant grass and dig cutoff drains to direct surface water away from the spring box. This process transformed Irungu Spring into a clean water source!

A woman fetching a bucket of clean water from Irungu Spring for the first time.

Community members are relieved to finally see clean water flowing; they had been looking for help with clean water for a long time, but never got any positive responses. Mr. Japheth Amoke said, "Members of the county assembly whom we have always elected promise us that they would protect our spring, but when they finally take up those positions they forget us. We thank God that today, we are able to fetch clean water." Mrs Rachael Kadesa continued, "We thank God for our good partners who have come in, and now we can access clean, safe water. We will no longer hear of infections related to water ever again."

September, 2017: Project Moved to Irungu Community

We are sorry that after such a long wait for news, we must share that the efforts to protect Alfonce Lukongo Spring have been unsuccessful. Our engineers worked for months to try to build proper structures to block out a nearby river's drainage.

This might be the rare case of there actually being too much water in one place! We've ventured to Irungu Community to visit the spring there, and are optimistic about our ability to provide clean water to 30 families who rely on Irungu Spring. Work is now in progress.

Thank you for your patience! Please take a minute to get acquainted with the new report posted on Irungu Community. We look forward to getting back in touch when we hear 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: Irungu Community

August, 2018

Collecting water used to be a time-intensive activity for people living in Inguru, Kenya. But a year with a protected spring has unlocked that lost time, allowing families to open small businesses and children to study more.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Irungu Community, Irungu 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 a spring for Irungu Community in 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 – and we’re excited to share this one from Samuel Simidi with you.

Before implementation of the project, community members used to fetch water from a contaminated source. The catchment area was exposed to contaminants, a risk to their health. From the information gathered during our year after survey, members are now able to access clean, safe water for their use.

Protection of the spring has helped save time for community members that used to be lost fetching water. Furthermore, people now observe proper hygiene and sanitation as a result of the training done in conjunction with the spring protection. We observed clotheslines, compost pits, latrines and clean compounds - all signs of that the lessons learned are being put to use.

Rachel Esevwe, treasurer of the spring's Water User Committee, told us that there are numerous ways the spring has improved the lives of people in Irungu. She noted that it is quicker to fill up containers with the water and that some people are using their freed up time and money to open new small businesses.

Rachel Esevwe

Protection of the spring is only one step along the journey toward sustainable access to clean water. The Water Project is 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. This spring in Irungu is changing many lives.

One example is Christine Aleo. The 18-year-old student told us that fetching water is one of her chores. She used to spend a lot of time collecting water for her family at the unprotected spring. It most affected her studies after school. Now, things are different. She can quickly get her water and then spend most of her time studying.

"We thank God it is easier for us now," she said. "The project has enabled me to improve on my personal health, too!"

Christine Aleo

This is only possible because of the web of support and trust built between The Water Project, our local teams, 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 Irungu Community, Irungu 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 Irungu Community, Irungu 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.


St. Joan of Arc School
Data Abstract Solutions, Inc.
5 individual donor(s)