Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2017

Functionality Status:  Water Flowing - Needs Attention

Last Checkup: 06/05/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

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

This is a region inhabited by the Maragoli sub-tribe of the giant Luhya Community. By 6 AM, everyone in Nyira Village - except the very little children - is always involved in the village hustle and bustle to ensure constructive work is accomplished. The men here tirelessly help their wives fend for their families, contrasting most men in Western Kenya who leave all family responsibilities to their wives.

Women engage in small-scale businesses in Mahanga, but they don't do as well as they'd hope. Customers travel as far as Majengo Town just to save five shillings. "People are so funny," exclaimed the spring's landowner Mr. Ondiek. "Imagine women and men trekking for eight kilometers from here to Majengo Town to buy goods, that they leave here in our small market, just because of a small difference in price of five shillings. That is a waste of time that should be used productively elsewhere!" Traders don't make good profits, but they keep on trying to sell day in and day out.

Children must arrive at school by 7 AM for class, and then return home for an hour at noon to eat lunch with their families. Children get home from school again at 5 PM and help their mothers accomplish domestic chores before they sit down to do revision and private studies by the light of their tin lamps fueled with kerosene.

There are so many children here, and many of them go hungry while their parents are out struggling to make ends meet. No wonder some children were seen eating wet maize stalks. When asked, nursery school students Elvis said, "We do not cook lunch at our home and I think this stalk to be sugarcane... at least it cools pangs of hunger until 6 PM when we eat supper." Anita added, 'We eat maize stalks whose sweetness is close to that of sugarcane. When all maize is gone, God is great; the guavas are usually ready, therefore we swiftly change from eating maize stems to eating guavas from the nearby bush and life moves on."

Water Situation

Just above the swampy thickets of Mahanga flows a water spring that has been used by the people of Nyira Village for decades. Ondiek Spring serves 30 households totaling 210 individuals, but that number increases as others use Ondiek Spring during the dry months. "You see few people here today because it has rained for two consecutive days, otherwise the queues you would have found here would not have allowed you do excavation to establish the sources and amount of water at this source," Adelaide Apiyo shared. But even the heavy rains that could have relieved many people from fetching water at the spring is not a relief to them because of their lack of storage facilities.

Ondiek Spring is open to all forms of contamination. Specifically, animals that come to drink here often urinate and step in the pool of water. Thus, it is unsafe for human consumption: urgent intervention is needed to rescue this community. "We have suffered diarrheal diseases because of using this water in such a poor state," said Mr. Oliver Ondiek, whom the spring is named after.

Sanitation Situation

Latrine floors are made of wood, leaving large holes and gaps that are dangerous for the young and elderly. They do not have proper doors, so a user must struggle to hold the broken doors closed as they squat. Most bathing shelters are made of banana leaves or dry maize stalks with old blankets for doors. The wind blows away the blanket when someone is bathing, so privacy is never guaranteed. There are no hand-washing stations here.

A few compounds have dish racks and clotheslines, but clothes were seen spread on bushes while other people dry their garments on iron sheets that conduct heat and dry them faster.

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

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. Shitoto Community is ready and willing to do everything they can to make this project a success.

Increasing accessibility to water and sanitation facilities as well as equipping people with adequate knowledge on sanitation and hygiene will prevent and control diseases. Time and finances wasted in search of treatment will be saved, instead used to develop the village.

Project Updates

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Nyira Community, Ondiek 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.

Building a tippy tap handwashing station

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 Nyira, Kenya.

Trainer Georgina demonstrates handwashing

We trained more than 21 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.

Elvis showcases his handwashing skills

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.

Trainer Jacky helps Elvis through the handwashing steps

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.

Everyone practices the 10 steps of handwashing

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.

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.

Trainers review the prevention reminders chart

"It was humbling to see your team take to us information on prevention of COVID-19. That was a gesture of love...the only way to show gratitude to your team is to practice what we have learned so that nobody gets Covid-19," said training participant and spring landowner Oliver Ondiek.

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.

Georgina explains the COVID-19 informational pamphlet to a participant

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 After: Nyira Community

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Ondiek Spring for Nyira Community in Western Kenya. In addition, 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…

August, 2017: Nyira Community Project Complete

Ondiek Spring in Nyira 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 done on Mr. Epheri Onyango's yard, where he had enough room in the shade for benches. He also lives very close to the spring, making it convenient for onsite demonstrations.

We invited every spring user to attend the training, and Mr. Oliver Ondiek was influential in encouraging a lot of his neighbors to come. There was a total of 19 participants; seven children and 12 adults.

5 kenya4719 training

Trainer Erick talking about solar disinfection for drinking water.

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, watering animals, farming with fertilizers, and open defecation in the vicinity.

7 kenya4719 group discussions

Group discussions on good and bad sanitation practices and how they might affect health.

We brought poster paper and illustrations that facilitated discussion on healthy and unhealthy behaviors. Group discussions were also very effective in helping participants take responsibility for what they were learning. And since we were so close to the spring, we could take the group over there to do onsite training in management and maintenance.

The participants were surprised that many of their daily routines were affecting their health; they had been victims of open defecation for a long time. They brainstormed how to support and encourage their neighbors to build new latrines beyond the five provided through this project. Even at the old age of 70, Harrison Kamadi was motivated to make a change in Nyira Community. He addressed us and his peers saying, "I am absolutely sure we have friends and neighbors who do not have basic sanitation facilities such as latrine for safe human waste disposal. Where do you think their feces go? Any feces disposed in water, plastic or on the open ground are considered as open defecation. It is you and I that end up eating these feces in our food when flies bring them, or drink them in untreated water or any other food that has come in direct contact with feces through fecal-oral route. This workshop is so timely to ignite us to think differently!"

10 kenya4719 Harrison Kamadi listening during the training sessions

Mr. Harrison Kamadi

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.

34 kenya4719 Precious Muyonga leads team of friends to show thumbs up for the new sanitation platform

Precious Muyonga leads her team of friends to show thumbs up for the new sanitation platform! Her parents will construct walls and a roof for privacy.

Project Result: Spring Protection

Construction to protect Ondiek Spring began at the very end of May.

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.

18 kenya4719 community members dig trenches

These local men volunteered their time and strength to dig trenches around their spring.

The spring area 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.

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.

25 kenya4719 building a fence

Building the fence to keep animals out.

The rains often forced our artisan to delay cement work, but his patience resulted in a beautiful spring protection system. Miss Syliva Midecha said, "I am now convinced that the new water point is a pull factor that will quench the thirst of many people [who are now] without fear of contracting waterborne diseases. This dream will be made viably sustainable when we all comply with the minimal threshold of water, hygiene and sanitation safeguards." Miss Midecha is on the water committee and will ensure that this is done.

32 kenya4719 clean water

When the participants were challenged to take full responsibility for managing and maintaining their new clean water point, Mrs. Beatrice Maube smiled and said "What have been shared are doable things. It will cost us much less to maintain the spring fence, drainage channels, clean the spring, treat drinking water, hold regular meetings and keep records; compared to us seeking medical attention because of waterborne diseases resulting from our irresponsibility."

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!

I am now convinced that the new water point is a pull factor that will quench the thirst of many people [who are now] without fear of contracting waterborne diseases.

Miss Sylvia Midecha

A Year After: Nyira Community

August, 2018

The protection of this spring and a tragic accident put on display how the people living in Nyira Community come together to support one another.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Nyira Community, Ondiek 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 Ondiek Spring for Nyira Community in Western 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 – we’re excited to share this one from team member Erick Wagaka with you.

The spring users appreciate the spring because it has been handy in the facilitation of various communal activities including ceremonies, income-generating activities, and household chores.

"The project has fostered peace within households. Spouses have been able to divide household duties including scenarios where the male goes to fetch water and the female does the cooking," Mr. Oliver Ondiek, member of the water user committee, said.

"This is because it is no longer hard to collect water from the spring."

The community has become closer than ever since they joined hands with us to protect their spring. Their unity was at its highest during a terrible ordeal that claimed the lives of the spring's landowner and 17 other people coming from this community. A public bus (matatu) crashed into a sugarcane truck just before Christmas last year. Ten of the victims came from the same family.

"At school, we have been taught to be our neighbor's keepers too," Precious Muyonga, a nine-year-old girl, said.

"Our families came together to protect the spring so that we can get clean water for use at home and drink safe water whenever we get thirsty. My confidence was stirred and now my dream to be a great teacher is unchallenged!"

Protection of Ondiek 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.

"The spring has revived the hope of the community to bring up healthy children who value practicing good hygiene," Mr. Ondiek said.

This spring protection in Nyira is changing many lives. This is only possible because of the web of support and trust built between The Water Project, our hardworking 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 Nyira Community, Ondiek 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 Nyira Community, Ondiek 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.


Nandansons Charitable Foundation
8 individual donor(s)