Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/07/2024

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

Irenji is unique compared to other areas, attracting local tourists and the occasional international tourist. This is because the adults in this area mold beautiful clay pots.

A normal day in Irenji commences when women and children go to fetch water from Shianda Spring so they can clean and prepare breakfast. Children are then shuttled off for school. Men head out right away to milk the cows, eating breakfast only when they get back. They then head off to either their farms or begin molding pots. The women join their men after household chores because they say "two are better than one."

Water Situation

Shianda Spring is the main water source for over 50 households in Irenji. While conducting the baseline survey it was evident that the people relying on Shianda Spring have really suffered from drinking its water. The spring is unprotected and open to contamination from many different sources. When it rains, waste is washed into the spring. The water is further dirtied with all of the coming and going of both people and animals.

This water is used for cooking, washing, watering animals, irrigating farms when it doesn't rain, and drinking. Cases of typhoid and other waterborne diseases are an everyday occurrence. Mrs. Elizabeth said, "Clean water is quite safe for consumption, in my community since time in memorial, we have been victims of water borne diseases due to consumption of unclean and unsafe water from shianda spring. Massive resources have been used to cater for the same. Direct translation from Swahili, "water doesn’t have bad heart" has made many to suffer since they don’t treat or boil the water before consumption."

Sanitation Situation

The homes that I was invited into revealed how bad the situation is here. The compounds are poorly kept; children are filthy and no one seems to care. Individuals visit the unkempt latrines barefooted and do not wash their hands after. Sanitation and hygiene in this community is quite poor and needs urgent attention.

Most people lack proper latrines, dish racks, and clotheslines. When asked about these things, community members were not able to explain their importance. Those who don't have latrines relieve themselves in the privacy of farm crops or bushes around their homes. Waste that is not properly disposed of is then spread around the community by flies, wild animals, and rainwater.

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

December, 2018: A Year Later: Irenji Community

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to protect Shianda Spring for Irenji 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: Irenji Community Project Complete

Shianda Spring in Irenji 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

Madam Regina is a woman who has gained a lot of respect in Irenji, and she played a big part in our preparations for hygiene and sanitation training. We wanted to reach as many people as possible, so Madam Regina decided to go house to house to personally invite everyone to the training, which would be held at a church right by the spring. She did so well in recruiting participants that we had each household represented! Even some children attended.

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 near 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.

Hand-washing is one of the most important and cost efficient ways a person can stop germs from spreading. We had a lot of fun demonstrating this and then watching the community members try.

Madam Regina regretted that school was in session during the training because she'd like students to hear the same things. Though they won't hear about hygiene and sanitation straight from the trainer, Mrs. Regina is a teacher herself and is excited to share what she's learned. "It was so unfortunate that the training had to be conducted when schools are on. The training should be repeated when schools are closed so that our children are taken through the same content we covered. This training is so important, and the topics handled are very relevant to everybody in society. It would have been very beneficial to our children, who need this information for the many years they will live. For us who were privileged to attend, we will put into practice all that we have learned and our lives will change for the better."

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 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.

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 Shianda 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.

Mr. Ernest said, "For a very long time we battled with the problem of dirty water, especially when it rained. It took a lot of time for one to get from the spring whenever they went to fetch water. This problem was even worse whenever the rainy season set in. We thank God that the problem is now behind our backs. With the spring now protected and with staircases to the water point, it is easier, safer and more convenient to get water. Now that the spring has been protected, it is now our task to ensure that the project is well-managed and maintained."

January, 2018: Irenji Community Project Underway

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

December, 2018

“Protecting the spring has helped in a big way.” – Bravin Mumala

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Irenji Community 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 Shianda Spring for Irenji 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 Jacklyne Chelagat with you.

This water project has positively impacted the lives of the people in Shianda Community. The people we recently interviewed here say that the protection of the spring has gone a long way in reducing cases of water-related diseases that frequently afflicted community members. Families now use the money that was once spent on medicine to invest in other developmental activities.

"Protecting the spring in its own way is an answered prayer that I have been interceding for since I got married in this community some 23 years ago. I can't believe my eyes. My children no longer miss school because they are healthy and energetic," said Ruth Ayoyi.

Ruth Ayoli enjoys water at the spring

It has also helped community members improve their sanitation and hygiene standards since the appointed community health volunteers visited every household to spread the news about what they learned in training last year.

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 Irenji is changing many lives.

Shianda Spring has helped save many lives. Seeing the great impact of clean water, the community members have taken up the responsibility of properly owning and maintaining the spring to ensure it continues to be free from contaminants.

"Protecting the spring has helped in a big way. I no longer miss class lessons, and the emergence of water and sanitation diseases is in the past," Bravin Mumala.

Bravin Mumala

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 Irenji Community 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 Irenji Community – 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.