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The Water Project : 12-kenya4707-fencing
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The Water Project : 12-kenya4707-latrine
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The Water Project : 6-kenya4707-irungu-spring
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The Water Project : 1-kenya4707-rocky-landscape

Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

Community Profile & Stories

This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). It 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.

Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

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!

Recent Project Updates

01/11/2018: 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.”

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09/20/2017: 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.

The Water Project : 9-kenya4707-fetching-water

06/07/2017: Progress and Challenges at Muyanya Community

We know that you have been waiting with us on news about the project to protect Alfonce Lukongo spring in Munyanya Community. We are pleased to share that great progress has been made, but challenges have also been faced that have not yet been overcome.

 Project Result: New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held at the home of Mr. Alphonse Amugune. Mr. Amungune was responsible for mobilizing the community for the training, arranging the venue and confirming the date with the beneficiaries. The training took place in two stages: Water, Sanitation and Management Committee (WSMC) training and Community Health Worker (CHW) training. Training activities included discussions, demonstrations, brainstorming sessions, and a transect walk to investigate the issue of open defecation in the community. We were excited to see active participation at both training sessions.

12 kenya4707 training

Ten beneficiaries (5 male and 5 female) attended the WSMC training. Topics covered included but were not limited to leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; 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.

Ten people (5 male and 5 female) also attended the CHW training. These beneficiaries were trained on ways to encourage good hygiene and sanitation in many different areas of community life including Primary health care, Common local diseases and their prevention, Understanding disease transmission barrier, Sanitation facilities for hygiene promotion, Water handling and food hygiene, Environmental health, Roles of hygiene promoters, and Calculation of treatment cost verses pit latrines cost.

Mr. Amugune, who was selected chairman of the WSMC, was pleased with the training. He shared, “I sincerely appreciate these trainings as they have equipped us with adequate information on thus helping us to implement proper health, hygiene and sanitation standards. It is easier to tell our people to put up latrines since they understand the repercussions of having open defecation.”

Project Result: Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms (safe, easily maintained latrine floors) 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.

Project Challenge: Spring Protection

Work to protect Alphonse Lukongo spring is nearly finished, but heavy rains in the area have created a challenge that we are still working to overcome.

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. Due to the community being metropolitan, it was a great challenge mobilizing for the 20% contribution thus it made the entire construction process to delay.

18 kenya4707 construction materials

Spring protection construction involves: Conducting an Initial Water Quality test; Site clearance and foundation excavation to the specified standards; Excavation of the land up slope from the spring discharge until three feet of water is flowing; Hard core packing, reinforcements and casting of the foundation slab for spring construction of the head and wing walling to finishing; Fittings(delivery pipes, inlets, draw off pipe and overflow, inlet screen); Back filling of the spring source to finishing; Installing a pipe low in the collecting wall to direct the water from the interception reservoir to a concrete or plastic spring box. (Note: problems with spring flow can occur if water is permitted to back up behind the wall.); Landscaping and drainage works to finishing; Fencing of the catchment area; and Removing potential sources of contamination and diverting surface water away from the spring box or collection area by making drain cut off.

As you can see, construction of this spring protection system is nearly complete. However, we ran into a challenge with frequent heavy rains. The area below the spring where water would usually drain away has flooded, coming back up to the spring itself. As such, there is the possibility of contamination of the water source. We are currently waiting for the rains to subside so that we can excavate the area below the spring allowing for proper drainage to occur. This is not expected to happen until August. We are determined to make this project a success, and will be sure to keep you posted as the work continues.

Thank you for your patience and for standing with us and the people of Munyanya village.

The Water Project : 19-kenya4707-construction

03/16/2017: Munyanya Community Project Underway

We are excited to share that work in Munyanya Community has begun. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Alfonce Lukongo 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 Munyanya Community Thank You for giving the hope of clean water and good health.

The Water Project : 1-kenya4707-fetching-water

Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Vihiga, Irungu
ProjectID: 4707
Install Date:  12/30/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Functional - New Project


St. Joan of Arc School
Data Abstract Solutions, Inc.
5 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.