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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 280 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

Mothers wake up earlier than anyone else in the family. They begin their day by cleaning their homes: sweeping in their homes, sweeping their outside areas, and fetching water very early in the morning. After they are through with their normal duties at home, they go to the farm to work or the market to buy and sell goods.

Some members of the community grow arrow roots, sweet potatoes, maize, beans, other vegetables and even bananas, which support their families with food and school fees for their children. Some do dairy farming and poultry keeping to earn a living.

In this community, women are the ones who do most of the work in and outside their homes to support their families.

Water Situation

One of the main water sources in Shitungu is Charles Amala Spring. 40 households use Charles Amala Spring on a daily basis for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and watering their cattle. During the dry season, even more people come to use the water for irrigating their crops.

Locals have fixed a short pipe into the ground at the eye of the spring which funnels water out into containers. A woman or child brings their container and holds it for a couple of minutes until it is full. During this process, it’s normal to see a line form as others wait their turn.

This spring is susceptible to heavy siltation during the rainy season, during which heavy deposits of soil are carried by rainwater. More so, the spring is open to contamination by human and animal activities in the area. Users are exposed to waterborne and water-related diseases such as typhoid, diarrhoea, amoeba and malaria.

Sanitation Situation

Our first visit revealed that quite a number of homes do not have pit latrines. Some people share sanitation facilities, while others opt for relieving themselves in the bushes near their homes and farms. Whoever practices open defecation like this introduces the entire community to fecal-oral diseases.

Latrines are made with mud walls, roofed with grass or rusty iron sheets, and the floor is done with cow dung. The challenge is maintaining the floor, which has to be redone regularly using fresh cow dung. The dung often has to be sourced from neighbors, some of which are not willing to provide. In addition, maintenance of latrines here is poor; in most homes, the mud walls are falling off and require remudding. In some instances, the people living around Charles Amala Spring use pieces of cloth or old blankets to serve as doors to the toilets.

Most people dispose of their garbage by throwing it in their farms so that they can later use it as fertilizer.

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. Mr. Charles Amala himself told us that “many organizations have come in this area purporting to protect the spring, but to date nothing has transpired.” Clean water is finally becoming a reality!

Recent Project Updates

11/27/2017: Shitungu Community Project Complete

Charles Amala Spring in Shitungu 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 organized with the help of Village Elder Charles Amala, who also owns the spring’s land. He managed to motivate 20 community members to give up time on their farms to attend these important sessions. There were 15 women and only five men, mainly because women are looked to as most responsible for water, sanitation and hygiene at the household level.

Training participants gather together for a group picture.

Two of our facilitators 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 others.

Demonstrations were some of the most popular parts of the training, with participants enjoying getting their hands involved. We did this with hand-washing, teaching the 10 steps of washing with soap and running water. We also took participants to their spring, where construction had recently finished. There we were able to teach about proper spring use, management, and simple maintenance.

Immediately after training, we witnessed community members returning home and making changes. Some started sinking pits for latrines while others built dish racks, clotheslines, and hand-washing stations.

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.

A woman demonstrating how to wash the sanitation platform off after using the latrine.

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 even volunteered their time and strength to help the artisan with manual labor.

A local man delivering dirt to the construction site.

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.

Filling in the area between the eye and the discharge pipe.

This process has transformed Charles Amala Spring into a clean water source. People gathered to celebrate this transformation and fetch their first buckets of clean water. Mrs. Night Rael said, “For a long time the members of the community have desired to access clean, safe and quality water. We appreciate you for the gift of protecting our spring.”

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10/12/2017: Shitungu Community Project Underway

Shitungu Community will soon have a clean, safe source of water thanks to your donation. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Charles Amala 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:  Kakamega, Shitungu
ProjectID: 4731
Install Date:  11/27/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Functional - New Project

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.