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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 300 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

We found out about this community in need when traveling the one throughway in the area; Mahanga Shopping Center was the only stop along the road for a long while, and it came up when we were hungry. As we stopped and sat to drink milk, a local overheard our discussions about spring protections and approached us with a request to visit their own Mahanga Village. When we showed up to assess the spring and surrounding households, we were met by an overjoyed landowner, Mr. Vidija!

A normal day in Mahanga Community entails many struggles to make ends meet. For Mr. Evernce Vidija, his day is spent between his fish pond and farm. He attends to his little fishes to ensure that they are fed and safe from bird predators or human theft.

Most of the people in Mahanga Village run small businesses to sell trade goods or farm produce at Mahanga Shopping Center. The cost of living is very high in this area because this trading center is so far away from all the others in the county.

Water Situation

Around 300 people from 40 different households rely on contaminated water from Omollo Spring. Water pools under the shade of local plants, and a hollow banana tree trunk has been fixed at the spring eye. Water trickles out of this makeshift pipe, and women and children hold their plastic containers underneath until they are full. Only small containers fit under the banana tree pipe, so these must be continuously used to fill larger jerrycans.

Some community members fill their containers not to bring back home, but to take to Mahanga Shopping Center for sale. Most likely, the water purchased at the market is used for drinking. Water delivered home is separated between different plastic storage containers in the latrine, living room, and kitchen.

After drinking this water, reports of typhoid and diarrhea are common.

Sanitation Situation

Over half of households have their own pit latrine. Most of the floors are made of tree logs, and the walls are made of either dried banana leaves or mud. The wooden floors are very difficult to clean and thus are dirty, smelly and rotting. These floors begin to endanger the user who could fall through into the pit underneath.

Those families who don’t have their own pit latrine will share with their neighbor, or seek the privacy of bushes.

Less than half of households have helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines. Garbage is disposed of either by the kitchen garden or behind their buildings. There are no hand-washing stations.

“We are badly off and totally forgotten by the government when it comes to the development of health amenities in the village. We have drunk unsafe water for so long that some people have developed resistance to severe cases of hygiene. This has put the kids into a bigger risk of contracting waterborne and any other hygiene-related health problems because their immune systems are still new to the strains of pathogens,” Mr. Vidija told us.

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. One of the most important topics we plan to cover is open defecation and its dangers, as well as having and using a pit latrine.

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.

Recent Project Updates

07/25/2017: Mahanga Community Project Complete

Omollo Spring in Mahanga 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. Omollo’s compound, who is the father of Mr. Evernce Vidija, a well-known leader in Mahanga. Mr. Vidija prepared his community for the upcoming training, recruiting at least one representative from each household. Children, men and women were all invited to learn about health and hygiene as well as management and maintenance of the spring.

A total of 25 people showed up to learn; many of whom were children often sent to fetch water. The children were most excited about doing demonstrations, telling us that they learned a lot of these things at school already.

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.

13 kenya4720 Wewasafo Staff Jacqueline Shigali facilitates at the training

Trainer Jacqueline Shigali kept everyone interested and involved in the important information she shared.

We held training after the spring was finished so we could hold onsite demonstrations on how to keep the area clean. Our trainer also brought 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.

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“The session has been very educative and timely because we have been charged and challenged to take seriously the aspect of spring management… Children have gotten the firsthand information on how they need to handle themselves at the spring site. I therefore don’t expect to eat any excuses from any parent or child who will act contrary to… hygiene and sanitation standards. We are indeed grateful to have you with us,” said Mrs. Sharon Kandenyi.

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Demonstrating how to keep the spring clean.

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.

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Mrs. Angeyo has prepared a place for her new latrine by digging a pit and collecting materials for the walls and roof.

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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The children really stepped up to see this project’s success. And they did it joyfully!

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.

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The artisan is excavating the area up to the spring to make level ground for the 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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A drain channel was even directed into a nearby fish pond to continuously supply it with fresh water.

During the project a majority of the beneficiaries who tirelessly lent their helping hands were children. They were involved right from the beginning until the end. Mrs. Josphine Mugeha, who is also an Early Child Development teacher says, “Most families around this place are headed by single mothers who are unemployed. Each day they wake up with fresh worries on how to fend for their children. Much of the household chores have been offloaded to be done by children because that is the only way to train them how to survive.” Her statement agrees with what Mr. Evernce Vidija said: “My parents died when I was 10. Thus, I had to learn about responsibility early in life. The greatest undoing for most of these families, that have left behind many widows and orphans, is HIV/AIDS. Many children have nowhere to turn to except to put up with their old grandparents who could not be asked to provide labor during the construction work.”

15 kenya4720 Josephine Mugeha at the training

Mrs. Mugeha helped during training by doing what she does best – Teaching!

The children enjoyed the work and loved to be involved in such tasks. They helped our artisan load and transport the sand to the construction site. During the construction process, they were at the forefront ferrying sand, ballast and bricks.

“My daughter confided in me how happy she was the day I allowed her to join her fellow children to carry some bricks to the construction site. ‘Daddy, today I took three pieces of bricks and the artisan used them to construct the stair! I feel so good about it because people will walk on them on their way to fetch clean water from our spring. I wish they could guess which bricks they will be stepping on,’ she exclaimed. That aspect has kept Edith Nyadoya, my daughter, very mindful about the spring,” Mr. Joseph Agofya said.

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These hardworking children are already enjoying clean water.

Most times it is the children who are sent to fetch water from the spring. Their opinions were even respected during training. “As children, we say thank you to WEWASAFO and the donor. We are also grateful that our parents allowed you to construct for us the spring. We will be drawing water from a clean and decent place! I will also tell my friend at school how good our spring looks. Our village will be respected a lot,” Edith Nyadoya said.

Everyone joined together to celebrate the spring’s completion. “I am very delighted to see this reality manifested… The community will save much time when they come to collect water because it has now been harnessed to discharge water from a clean place and in an organized manner. The artisan did a commendable job and we really love his artistic skills – more so to design the spring so it has to discharge water into the fish pond without allowing any back flow. The spring has boosted our self-esteem as a community and set up in us the new level of Abraham Maslow’s Law of human needs,” Mr. Vidija shared on the behalf of all.

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04/27/2017: Mahanga Community Project Underway

Mahanga Community will soon have a source of clean water thanks to your donation. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Omollo 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.

The Water Project and Mahanga Community Thank You for giving the hope of clean water and good health.

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Vihiga, Mahanga
ProjectID: 4720
Install Date:  07/25/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 12/17/2017

Visit History:
10/10/2017 — Functional
12/17/2017 — Functional

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.