Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 224 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/26/2024

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

Everyone living in Lugango Village wakes up by 6am. Some men go out to milk cows because every house has at least one cow - but the irresponsible ones - especially drunkards, lay around as their wives struggle to multitask; from sweeping the houses to milking cows, preparing breakfast, watering vegetables, and fetching water among other duties.

A good number of men bake bricks to sell, but spend all of the money in alcohol. Others are touts at Mahanga bus stop while others are whispered to be selling bhang but nobody has evidence. A good number of homes, especially the youngest ones, only have women staying with children since their husbands do casual work in Nairobi.

Most women work on their farms after finishing domestic chores in the morning, but have to return to the house to prepare lunch at 11:30am because school children return for lunch.  At night every child, after helping their mothers to do household duties, do private studies with a tin lamp - but they miss this routine when there is no kerosene for the lamp. This is how life moves for the community, though it seems unfair for women who never dare contradict culture lest they attract wrath of the gods.

Water Situation

Throughout the day women are seen drawing water from Lugango Spring, and children join them in the evening after school to lessen the burden. Men seem not to bother about domestic work as none are seen helping women even as they fetch water. One woman confided to WEWASAFO staff that it is a taboo for circumcised men to fetch water from the spring; that even the young boys who help carry water from the spring will stop immediately after they undergo that rite of passage. After being declared men, they can only work on the farm, lay bricks, be touts, slash (clear bushes around) the compound, fence the compound, milk cows and build houses and sanitation facilities. Therefore, much work in this village is done by women and children.

Villagers report that open defecation is common here, and that rain washes that waste into their drinking water. We could visibly see sediments floating in the water, and locals confirm that it always looks this way. People wait in between uses of the spring because they want that water to settle as much as possible. This wastes a lot of time!

All kinds of containers are used to fetch water, but the most common is they yellow jerrycan. Containers are dunked under the water until full, and then raised up and supported with the head and an added hand for stability. Most young boys who help before manhood lug containers around with no support because they think carrying water atop the head is just for women. And these containers are filthy! A peep inside one reveals a mold-like substance growing there. This just further dirties the water.

Most children living here miss class because of typhoid, which has led to very low performance at nearby Mahanga Primary School. Adults also suffer from regular diarrhea, and everyone knows it's because Lugango Spring is so contaminated. All of this sickness leads to low productivity in Lugango Community.

Sanitation Situation

Less than half of the households here have latrines. But if we were to hold all of these pit latrines to high standards, only three households would have them! Many of the others have broken walls and roofs that allow for rain to leak through to the wooden floors inside. These wooden slats are lain dangerously far apart, and are prone to termites and rotting because of the poorly constructed superstructure. In fact, two of these were so dangerous that we recommended those families immediately stop using them. We put them first on the list for new sanitation platforms! Because of these poor conditions, open defecation is a serious issue here.

Garbage is thrown on the farm. Dogs carry some of the litter around, while wind also blows it all over the farm and even carries it back to the homesteads. Children are seen touching trash on the ground and eating even before washing hands - no wonder many here complain of diarrheal diseases.

"We are suffering diseases because our spring is not protected. Even the NGO that distributes chlorine stopped bringing us help because they do not consider this to be a spring... A lot of money has been wasted in the hospital seeking medication after suffering diseases caused by such dirty water. Most people also defecate inside those big rocks and in bushes, therefore rain brings all that feces inside our water; no wonder sickness has become a normal thing here. Please protect for us this source because it will be the most important step towards healthy living in our village," pleaded Mrs. Ruth Mulei.

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

Every project comes with the cement needed to make five sanitation platforms. We normally have the community vote to select five of the neediest families to receive new latrine floors. However, six families were put forward and we've had to ask the village elder to make the final decision.

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.

Those who will miss out on the platforms will be taught how to make good, durable floors and how to take care of the floors constructed using local materials like logs and  so that they last a long time.

Plans: Spring Protection

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.

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

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Lugango Community, Lugango 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.

Passing 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 Lugango, Kenya.

Trainer Shigali explains the importance of using soap for handwashing, whether bar or liquid

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.

Demonstration on how to build a tippy tap handwashing station

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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

A community member demonstrates 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.

Trainer Shigali holds the prevention reminders sign

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.

Team Leader speaks to the group and emphasizes handwashing and social distancing as key protective practices

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.

Chart installed at the spring

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.

November, 2018: A Year Later: Lugango Community

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to protect a natural spring for Lugango 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...

November, 2017: Lugango Community Project Complete

Lugango Spring in Lugango 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

Our contact person on the ground, Ruth Mulei, asked every household to send at least one person each. Every family did not manage to send a representative due to a funeral that befell the village, but there was still a total of 20 people there.

Everyone agreed to meet near the spring where there was plenty of room to sit down. The area is very rocky, and there was a big boulder on which we could display our poster paper. And since we were near the spring, we could easily take everyone over to hold onsite sessions on water source management and maintenance.

Everyone received a new notebook and pen to take notes with. Though many participants ended up being illiterate, they were able to draw pictures to help them remember hygiene practices.

The women ended up asking more questions than the men, since they are often the ones completing domestic chores for their families.

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. Many of the topics were decided while getting to know this community; we found that many of the men were abusing alcohol. Thus, the training also covered the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.

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. And since we were already by the spring, we were able to teach about proper spring use, management, and simple maintenance. People were so convinced of the importance of digging drainage for their spring that they did so before leaving after training.

Training participants digging drainage away from the spring.

In the days after training, we started hearing reports from grateful wives who say their husbands have tried to decrease their alcohol consumption and become more responsible fathers. Almost all households have dish racks and latrines, bathing shelters, and clean property.

70-year-old Jenpeher Kagonya admitted that despite her age, she still learned many new things. "I have learnt a lot of things that will safeguard us against diseases caused through fecal-oral routes. I assure you that this knowledge was timely, and our village is now changing for the better," she shared.

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

Women delivering bricks to the construction site.

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. Community members then helped us plant grass and dig cutoff drains to direct surface water away from the spring box.

Just as a death in the village had decreased the number of people attending training, the artisan had trouble finding the help he needed to finish construction. Two of the men that were helping him on the site had lost their brother could not help do the work properly. They promised to be strong and tried to work, but they could not even reach half the day without getting drained and very emotional - one of them started weeping. The village elder came and forcefully commanded them to go home for the rest of the day, even though the duo wanted to continue helping. Most other people were involved in consoling the bereaved throughout the day, as it is the culture there. As a result only two people remained to do the work: the skilled artisan himself and one other man. Thanks to their perseverance, construction took longer but was done with great quality.

This process has transformed Lugango Spring into a clean water source. People gathered to celebrate this transformation and fetch their first buckets of clean water. Since the transformation of this water source, people have even begun selling clean water to local hotels. They used to order water from very far away, and are happy to be getting their supply of water at a timely rate for less money. Moses Ochieng told us, "Before God brought us this angel, we suffered a lot because of use of contaminated water. There were diarrhea outbreaks almost every week because of that fact, and a lot of money used to pay up hospital bills. This spring is now very good and we are glad for the good work. We now have very safe water and the community is very clean now. May God bless you people for the good work you are doing."

October, 2017: Lugango Community Project Underway

Lugango Community will soon have a clean, safe source of water thanks to your donation. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Lugango Spring, and often suffer from waterborne diseases. 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: Lugango Community

November, 2018

Now that it is easier and faster to collect water from the protected spring’s pipe, Derick only makes a few water trips on the weekend to help his mother.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Lugango Community, Lugango 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, your generous donation enabled us to protect a natural spring for Lugango 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 Samuel Simidi with you.

The community is now able to regularly access water that is clean and safe. Before, their water was exposed to contaminants which risked their health on a daily basis.

We recently visited with the community to see what has changed over the past year. There has been a tremendous improvement in terms of sanitation and hygiene. During our visits to the various homes, we spotted at least one if not all sanitation facilities required in a healthy home, such as a dish racks and latrines. This indicates that the sanitation and hygiene training done in the village continues to have an impact.

We met 15-year-old Derick Maraha during our visit. He told us that he no longer has to fetch water every day of the week. Now that it is easier and faster to collect water from the protected spring's pipe, Derick only makes a few trips on the weekend to help his mother. Thanks to this discharge pipe, Derick and people living in the community no longer have to wait for a long time to fetch water.

Derick Maraha

Construction 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 spring in Lugango is changing many lives.

"We now collect clean, safe water faster and more efficiently compared to back then when our water was exposed to contaminants, making it difficult to collect clean water," Margaret Lihanda said to us.

"We no longer hear of infections related to waterborne diseases."

Margaret cleaning the spring

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 Lugango Community, Lugango 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 Lugango Community, Lugango 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.


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