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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 418 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

As with many Kenyan villages, the day begins with a trek to fetch water for the day’s needs. Then, the children go off to school and the majority of villagers engage in small-scale farming, small business enterprises and manual labor. All those living here rely on subsistence farming, but there are a few who are also involved in mining gold.

Water Situation

Kitinga Spring serves over 30 households. It is unprotected from contamination such as surface runoff, human and animal activity, and erosion. Community members have fixed a small pipe at the eye of the spring, which helps them fetch more water. According to Mr. Charles Sirimbi, Visiru Community has been trying to transform their spring into a safe source of clean water for some time. “The spring is serving a large population; the community has made efforts to seek funds from the member of the county assembly, but there has never been a positive response from him,” he shared.

Sanitation Situation

Over half of households have their own pit latrine, but lots of those are in disrepair. Floors are made of timber, but there are large gaps in between each slat. Some even lack doors! Because of these low number and poor conditions, open defecation is an issue in Visiru Community. Many people prefer going behind bushes or buildings over entering these dangerous and smelly latrines.

There are no hand-washing stations here, and less than a quarter of households have useful tools like dish racks and clotheslines. If garbage is compostable, it is thrown at the edge of the kitchen garden until it becomes fertilizer. Other trash is piled at the back of the property until there’s enough for burning.

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

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. Visiru community members hope to save time and resources previously wasted on medication, instead spending them on more important economic activities that can help lift their community out of poverty.

Recent Project Updates

07/25/2017: Visiru Community Project Complete

Kitinga Spring in Visiru 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 Mr. John Ovita’s home, who is the chairman of the newly-established water user committee which will oversee and maintain the protected spring. All of the spring users were invited to attend the two days of training.

Both young and old united to learn, presenting the issues affecting their community to the trainer and seeking advice.

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Community members were given notebooks and pens to record the great hygiene and sanitation advice shared during training.

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 demonstrates how to use the power of the sun to purify water.

Mrs. Susan Avukusu felt empowered after all of the new things she learned. She hadn’t even been aware that when drinking contaminated water from the spring, she was risking her life. “I am so grateful to our donors for this perfect initiative. Most of us in the community were never acquainted with most of the information we have received today. From today, health and sanitation will be a priority in our homes and I hope cases to do with waterborne diseases will never affect the community.”

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.

Mrs. Mwinamo shows her son the new sanitation platform they received.

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.

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As some men in the community have regular work during the day, women often step up to help our artisans finish a project.

The area of the spring 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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The artisan leads the way in excavating the ground at the spring to create a level 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.

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Tiles are fixed below the pipes to prevent erosion.

Mr. Aston Misigo witnessed the transformation. “We are so blessed as a community. God has answered our prayers too soon. We have been risking our lives by drawing water from our unprotected spring. But with its implementation, with the aid of our donors, we shall be able to access clean and safe water. We will live to protect it at all times!” He and his neighbors gathered at the finished spring to collect their first of many containers of clean, safe water.

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04/26/2017: Visiru Community Project Underway

Visiru Community will soon have a clean, safe source of water thanks to your donation. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Kitinga 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:  Vihiga, Wamuluma, Chambiti, Visiru
ProjectID: 4712
Install Date:  07/25/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 12/09/2017

Visit History:
10/07/2017 — Functional
12/09/2017 — Functional


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Saro Wallace McElwain Tregaskis
Faith Chapel
Epsilon Eta Sigma Theta Tau International
Grace United Methodist Church of Merritt Island, Inc.
13 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.