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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 490 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). Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the Community

Each day begins very early with the men of this Shitaho community milking their animals and tilling their small plots of land for harvest. Maize, sugarcane, and fruits are most commonly grown here. A few of these same men earn extra money as night guards in nearby Kakamega Town.

The women must make several trips to fetch water, often with dirty, open 20-liter containers. They struggle to clean their homes, wash, cook and send their children off to school. Then, some of these women head to Kakamega to work at their businesses until late evening. They either sell roasted maize, sugarcane, fruit, seedlings, charcoal, or firewood.

Water Situation

Many families in Shitaho walk down a slope to fetch their water from Mwikholo Spring. Animals come and go, people wade into and dip their hands, and rainwater washes dirt and feces into the spring’s water. The rainier the season, the muddier the spring’s water becomes. Adults and children use uncovered plastic containers as big as they can carry to and from the spring. Many of these are dirty; we heard one woman say she doesn’t wash her water containers more than once a month.

When water is delivered home, it is separated between the living room, kitchen, and latrine (if the family has one). Most families have been able to afford large plastic storage containers to decrease the number of trips needed to fetch water.

Community members constantly suffer from typhoid and other waterborne diseases after drinking water from Mwikholo Spring.

Sanitation Situation

Less than a quarter of families have their own pit latrine. Those there are made of mud walls and wooden floors, which rot out and endanger the user. Because of these poor conditions, open defecation is an issue; locals relieve themselves out in the open and rainwater and flies carry that feces to other places.

None of the homes visited had a place to wash hands, nor did many have dish racks or clotheslines. Garbage is thrown at the edge of gardens, because it is believed to produce a better crop. However, chickens and dogs dig through this garbage and carry it from one end of the compound to the other.

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

One day, as some of them traveled through another village on their way to the funeral of their church-mate, they witnessed the transformation of what they had known as “an open hole with water.” Curiosity caused them to ask how this had happened, and the learned this was called a spring protection system.

Now they want safe, clean water too. As Lewis K put it, “You may not know the amount of help you will be giving to this community by protecting our only source of water. It is us that stay here who understand how much we’ve suffered as a result of using contaminated water from this spring. I strongly believe that we sometimes make this water dirty through our own unhealthy practices without our knowledge. We need help, please. We need clean 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.

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.

Recent Project Updates

05/09/2017: Shitaho Community C Project Complete

Mwikholo Spring in Shitaho, 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 at the spring. At least one representative of every household was asked to attend, with a total of 11 who showed.

1 kenya4708 community member talking about health

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.

Positive results have already been apparent; many households in Shitaho improvised hand-washing facilities with a plastic container, setting it up outside of their latrine. Other community members have cleared the bushes around their property.

Farmer Andrea Andanyi said, “Thank you for the protecting our spring, training us on hygiene matter. We promise to work together while taking into account what we have learnt so that we could reduce waterborne diseases and use the spring for longer period of time.”

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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.

It was difficult to choose just five families to help in this way; there are several others who also need latrine facilities. We hope that the introduction of this kind of simple latrine technology will inspire them to invest in their own.

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.

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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.

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This is one of the most impressive springs in the area. It’s normal to fit just one discharge pipe in the wall of the spring, but this one has four. Three spill over with water, filling jerrycans in a mere 45 seconds. The fourth pipe will serve as an overflow during the rainy season. That means four women will be able to fetch clean water at the same time!

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04/06/2017: Shitaho Community Project Underway

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

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Kakamega, Shirere, Bukhungu, Shitaho
ProjectID: 4708
Install Date:  05/09/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 09/21/2017

Visit History:
06/20/2017 — Functional
09/21/2017 — Functional


Fishing Creek Baptist Church
St. Louise Parish
2 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.