Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 252 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/04/2024

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

People who live in Mtao Village have to work extra hard or there will be no food on their tables at the end of the day. Most adults work on their farms planting vegetables and cereals for their families, while the rest is taken to the local market to sell. Some others are 'boda boda' drivers who taxi people around on their motorbikes.

Water Situation

Tifina Odari Spring is the only permanent water point in Mtao Community. However, it is open to contamination from pollutants such as human and animal waste. Nonetheless, its water is used for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and irrigation purposes.

Women and children are the ones most often seen at Tifina Odari Spring with their plastic containers. Smaller containers can be dunked under the water until full, while a cup or jug needs to be brought to fill larger containers. During the busiest parts of the day, lines begin to form as people wait for the water to settle after another person finishes fetching.

We met Mr. Peter Kubai at the spring, who says that "people in this community suffer a lot from cholera and typhoid due to drinking contaminated water at the spring, and we will really appreciate if you help us protect it!"

Sanitation Situation

Most of the households in Mtao Community have a shortage of sanitation facilities, especially latrines. Less than half of households even have a basic pit latrine! The ones we observed have dangerous log floors and no doors. Open defecation is a big issue here because of these poor conditions, with most people seeking the privacy of bushes to relieve themselves. Flies, animals, and rainwater then spread this waste around. No family in this area has a hand-washing facility while only a few have dish racks and clotheslines.

Mrs. Consolata Navonga said, "Most of the people in this area do not wash their hands after using latrines, and they go on to cook with the same dirty hands. Then later on their families start suffering from diarrhea! In addition to that, pit latrines are scarce in this area, thus many people do open defecate mostly at the spring area because it is bushy."

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 latrine floors.

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

Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water, which means the water will be safe, clean, and adequate.

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

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Mtao Community, Tifina Odari 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.

Setting up the tippy tap handwashing station

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 Mtao, Kenya.

We trained more than 16 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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

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.

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.

Homemade mask tutorial

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.

Reviewing the prevention reminders sign

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: Mtao Community

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to protect Tifina Odari Spring for Mtao 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...

January, 2018: Mtao Community Project Complete

Tifina Spring in Mtao 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 a home near the spring. There were 13 participants, all of which were women who brought their young children.

The women received new notebooks and pens for jotting down what they learned.

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 right by the spring, we could run through hands-on management and maintenance demonstrations.

The trainer took participants to the spring for part of training.

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.

48-year-old Anne Indendi was grateful not only for clean water, but for the new knowledge she received. She said, "These efforts have not only brought us many sanitation platforms, but also the new technique of water purification that is very cost-effective to most of us. We know this could not have been possible without sacrifices on the part of various stakeholders to record this great success. Thank you for the quality training, more so for the concept of solar disinfection of drinking water and community-led total sanitation (CLTS) skills." She and many of her neighbors have installed helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines, since they learned about how germs spread.

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.

One beneficiary told us, "I am so happy that I will no longer share a latrine with one of the community members who is situated quite a distance from my own compound. My visitors will have a place to ease themselves. It was shameful to direct them to a neighbor's 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 we asked a few people to volunteer their time and strength to help the artisan with manual labor. In fact, there were no men at hygiene and sanitation training because they were all busy helping the artisan.

Men helping the artisan by mixing cement.

It was incredible to witness the great unity and motivation of this community. On the first day of construction, community members gathered at the spring with 'pangas,' 'jembes,' and wheelbarrows to excavate. 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. Once the artisan finished his part, community members worked together to build a fence.

There was a difficult challenge to constructing Tifina Spring, and this was because it's so close to another stream. This water was flowing back towards our water source, making it more difficult to protect.


Thanks to our artisan's perseverance in handling the back flow of water, Tifina Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of clean water. Sally Kubai was one of the many community members who gathered with their containers to fetch clean water for the first time. She said, "I am so glad. We as the community of Mtao Village are going to access safe drinking water, and we believe that there will be minimal cases of waterborne diseases."

November, 2017: Mtao Community Project Underway

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

December, 2018

“Now we have access to safe, clean drinking water!” – Mitchell Lumbasi, 12

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Mtao 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 Tifina Odari Spring for Mtao 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 Faith Muthama with you.

Currently, the community members are very happy because they can now access safe and clean drinking water which they also use for household chores - activities such as cleaning the house, washing clothes, and bathing.

"Initially we used to fetch dirty water from the ground using jugs. Now, we fill our containers with water from the pipe of the protected spring which pours out clean water for drinking," said Bruce Silas, a farmer living in Mtao.

Bruce Silas

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 Mtao Community is changing many lives.

We also met 12-year-old Mitchell Lumbasi at the spring. She shared with us how the spring protection impacted her life over the past year.

Mitchell Lumbasi

"My life as a child has changed because initially we used to fetch water from the ground which was dirty and caused people to suffer from diseases. Now we have access to safe, clean drinking water!" Mitchell 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 Mtao 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 Mtao 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.


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