Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/09/2024

Project Features

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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

There are over 30 households in this area of Shitoto. Some families include up to 10 children! The village elder told us, "All women who get married to our sons are not allowed to use family planning methods, its their responsibility to give birth until they unable to give birth." Parents can't afford to send these children to school, so they instead send them off to work from very young ages. Most go to the urban center in the area to either work as house girls or farm boys.

The parents who remain here practice farming and brick making. The crops grown are mainly maize, bananas, beans, and other vegetables. Some farmers attempt to grow sugarcane, which is particularly hard to grow but sells for high prices. Forming and baking bricks to sell also helps these people earn enough money to put food on the table.

Water Situation

The main source of water for this part of Shitoto is William Manga Spring, named after the landowner. The spring is open to contamination from waste washed into the spring by rainwater. It is also contaminated from all of the activity around the spring, since there are 210 individuals who must fill their containers here.

And due to a huge shortage of latrines in the area, many people use the privacy of nearby sugarcane plantations to relieve themselves. This waste is then spread throughout the community by rain, flies, and wild animals. The locals have proven creative, though; they've fixed a metal sheet to function as a pipe. Water pours out and allows them to hold their containers underneath the flow until full.

After drinking this water, people suffer from diarrheal diseases. These waterborne illnesses especially affect small children.

Sanitation Situation

Less than half of households in this area have their own pit latrine. Even this small number of latrines were in a bad state; mud walls were falling apart and wooden floors were rotting. With these rickety floors, users risk falling through the logs and into the pit. In fact, stories of latrine users falling through to injury or death are not uncommon.

An even smaller number of families have bathing shelters set up, while none have any containers dedicated to hand-washing. These observations prove that personal hygiene is not a priority in Shitoto. The priority is to make ends meet, but that cannot be done while suffering ill health.

A low number have built helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines to dry belongings up off the ground.

Mr. William Manga, the landowner, gave us a tour of his home and his community's spring. "Thank you for coming to this poor community, due to lack of toilets many people have been using sugarcane plantations for defecation, when it rains waste is washed in to the unprotected spring, am going to start sinking a pit right now and avail the required materials."

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

Protecting the spring will ensure that the water is safe and adequate for drinking. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the 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.

Project Updates

November, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Adelide Musonale

This post is part of a new series by The Water Project meant to highlight the perspectives and experiences of the people we serve and how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting them. We invite you to read more of their stories here.

Our team recently visited Shitoto to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point, William Manga Spring. Shortly after, we returned to check in on the community, offer a COVID-19 refresher training, and ask how the pandemic affects their lives.

During this most recent visit, Adelide Musonale shared her story of how the coronavirus is impacting her life and her community. As Secretary of the spring's water user committee and her area's Community Health Volunteer, maintaining her community's access to clean water and ensuring their health and safety during the pandemic are key aspects of Adelide's daily life. At home, she is also a wife and a mother to three daughters.

Adelide outside her home

Field Office Betty Muhong met Adelide outside her home to conduct the interview. Both Betty and Adelide observed physical distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. The following is Adelide's story, in her own words.

What is one thing that has changed in your community since the completion of the water project?

"Sanitation standards have really improved; community members' homes are clean and smart. To add to that, the rate of waterborne diseases has gone down because we have clean and safe water."

How has having a clean water point helped you through the pandemic so far?

"Having clean water has really helped us. We can wash our hands regularly, and by so doing, we can prevent ourselves from this pandemic."

Adelide washes her hands with soap and clean water from the spring using a homemade handwashing station in her home

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Kenya, has fetching water changed for you because of restrictions, new rules, or your concerns about the virus?

"Yes. Initially, community members walked to the spring without masks, but after undergoing sensitization training by your team, members realized that COVID-19 is real. Most of us put on masks and observe social distance everywhere we go, including going to the spring."

Adelide and others observe physical distancing while fetching water at the spring

How has COVID-19 impacted your family?

"Initially, I could plant some vegetables and sell them at the market. As a mother, I was sure there was food on the table for my family. Due to the pandemic, I no longer sell vegetables, and this has affected my entire family."

Adelide with her family at home

What other challenges are you experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

"The closure of schools has exposed our teenagers to risks at home. Some will not go back to school because of early pregnancies."

What hygiene and sanitation steps have you and your community took to stop the spread of the virus?

"Since we were shown how to make our own masks, most of our members are putting on masks whenever they go out of their homes. Most community members have installed handwashing stations at their homes so that they can wash their hands as many times as possible to stop the spread of the virus."

Adelide wearing her mask

Like most governments worldwide, the Kenyan government continues to set and adjust restrictions both nationally and regionally to help control the spread of the virus.

What restriction were you most excited to see lifted already?

"The reopening of churches was a relief. It feels nice to go to church and worship with other brethren and thank God for divine protection."

What restriction are you still looking forward to being lifted?

"The opening of all education [levels]; at the moment, only grade four, class eight, and form four are allowed at school."

Adelide washing the dishes using clean spring water

When asked where she receives information about COVID-19, Adelide listed the radio, television, and our team's sensitization training.

What has been the most valuable part of the COVID-19 sensitization training you received from our team?

"The most helpful part of the COVID-19 sensitization training I received from your team was how to make my own masks. I can make masks for my family, and this has saved me from buying them every time."

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Shitoto Community, William Manga 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.

Trainer hands out informational pamphlets on COVID-19

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 Shitoto, Kenya.

We trained more than 34 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Before there were any reported cases in the area, we worked with trusted community leaders and the Water User Committee to gather community members for the training.

A woman reads an informational pamphlet on COVID-19

At the time, social distancing was a new concept, and one that challenges cultural norms. Although some community members were hesitant to adopt social distancing during the training, we sensitized them on its importance and effectiveness in combating the spread of the virus.

Trainer emphasizing a point

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.

Participants observe social distancing

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.

Community members affix the prevention reminder chart to a tree near the spring

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.

Chart with prevention reminders installed near the spring

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.

Trainer uses mask to show participants how to put it on and make adjustments

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.

December, 2018: A Year Later: Shitoto Community, William Manga Spring

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to protect William Manga Spring for Shitoto Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local 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...

February, 2018: Shitoto Community Project Complete

Manga Spring in Shitoto 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.

Project Result: New Knowledge

Mrs. Adelaide Hamu, the newly elected chairwoman of the water user committee, helped invite everyone to hygiene and sanitation training. It was held at William Manga Spring as construction was ongoing. There were 23 participants, all who were excited and grateful for the opportunity to learn.

We 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. Since we were by the spring, we could run through hands-on management and maintenance demonstrations. Many of these individuals have joined a water user committee that will primarily be responsible for this water source.

We spent an entire session on hand-washing and its importance. When, how, and why should one wash their hands? We also taught participants how to construct their own hand-washing stations with local and affordable materials.

At the end of training, Chairwoman Hamu stood up and said, "I thank God who has been with us since we started this work. Secondly, I want to thank our facilitators, especially the one who taught us Group Dynamics. Personally, I had given up being a member of any group since I was in a group - and when we reached storming stage, we had no one to guide us and that was the end of our group. Now that I have learned and am able to solve any issue that may arise at any stage, I promise to be at the front of this group that we have formed."

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.

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 we asked a few people to volunteer their time and strength to help the artisan with manual labor. The people living in this area of Shitoto were especially helpful; even children helped to carry stones right over to our artisan.

The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of polyethylene, wire mesh and concrete. After the base had been set, both wing walls and the headwall 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.

Pouring concrete down to form the stairs.

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 polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination.

All this has transformed Manga Spring into a flowing, clean water source. People arrived right away to fetch their first jerrycans of that clean water, and we were there to capture some of that joy.

January, 2018: Shitoto Community Project Underway

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

Project Videos

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!

A Year Later: Shitoto Community, William Manga Spring

December, 2018

Easy access to safe, reliable water means women here spend little time fetching water and can focus on other family needs.

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Shitoto Community 3.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shitoto Community 3 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, your generous donation enabled us to protect William Manga Spring for Shitoto Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local 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 – and we’re excited to share this one from local team member Joan Were with you.

The children in this community are now at a lower risk of waterborne diseases. The availability of clean and reliable water makes them healthier and enables the children to wash their clothes regularly and take baths. On the other hand, the women are able to engage in economical activities because they spend less time at the spring.

During a recent visit to the community, we found women in the fields cultivating land since it is planting season in Kenya. We spoke with Beatrice Kenneth and Elizabeth Alumasa about how the spring protection has impacted their lives.

"Right now we are a peaceful community that is focused on development and the education of our children," said Ms. Kenneth.

Beatrice Kenneth and Elizabeth Alumasa

Protection of the 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.

One project is just a drop in the bucket towards ending the global water crisis, but the ripple effects of this project are truly astounding. This project in Shitoto is changing many lives.

Elizabeth Alumasa

"Since the spring was protected last year, we fetch water quickly and have time to play on the weekends or do our homework during the week," Elizabeth said.

This is only possible because of the web of support and trust built between The Water Project, our local 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 Shitoto Community 3 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 Shitoto Community 3 – 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.