Walibese Spring Protection Project

Regional Program:
Western Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude 0.08
Longitude 34.74

500 Served

Project Status:

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Stories and 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

Walibese Spring is located in Endeli Village, Sabatia Sub-County of Vihiga County. Endeli Village is a place of hills and valleys, covered with both tamed and untamed vegetation: trees and farms.

A normal days begins very early with households chores. These require fetching enough water to last the day. When households chores are done and children are in school, the adults focus on generating income for their families. Men focus on making bricks and women go to the farms or run small businesses at the nearby Mbale Market, depending on the agricultural season.

Walibese Spring serves over 100 households from Endeli and its neighboring communities. This huge number of beneficiaries is because the spring is reliable and yields water throughout the year, even during dry seasons. (Editor’s Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people. This site would make a great location for a second project. To learn more, click here.)

Water Situation

The community uses the spring’s water for general household chores such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, and drinking. They also use the water for commercial purposes like brick-making.

Because the spring’s water is unprotected, it is open to contamination from many different sources. It is located in a valley, making the open water especially vulnerable to dirty surface runoff. This open nature of the water point also allows animals to drink directly from the water, with other animals like frogs – living and reproducing in the water. During our initial visit, it was obvious there were tadpoles and frog eggs at the spring! Cases of open defecation were also observed in the surrounding bushes, which poses a huge threat to the health of these people.

Women and children gather water with small containers, pouring to fill larger jerrycans. To save time, sometimes a person will dunk their jerrycans directly in the spring to fill them. Most of the jerrycans are 20 liters and don’t have covers.

According to the community’s health center, water-related complications such as diarrhea, stomachaches, typhoid and malaria are common. “The hospital beds in our health centers are always occupied. We have spent a lot of money and time seeking medication for water-related diseases in this community. These resources could have been put in development use if we had a safe source for drinking water,” says Mr. Odongo Francis, a local brick-maker. Because locals know these are the consequences of drinking Walibese Spring’s water, they often choose to walk long distances in search of safer drinking water from the nearest protected spring that is almost one kilometer away.

Sanitation Situation

The sanitation standards in Endeli Community are worrying; many households lack latrines, and the few that have latrines (less than 50%) let them deteriorate. The households with latrines also use them as bathing rooms. Since they are made from wood and mud, cleaning is almost impossible. The floors and walls are also shaky, so children and the elderly fear using them. Many don’t even have doors to provide users with privacy! These poor conditions often make a child prefer using the bushes for relief.

The community also lacks other basic sanitation facilities such as compost pits for proper disposal of waste, clotheslines, hand-washing stations and dish racks.


The community sent in an application letter for a spring protection project. After our initial visit, we agree with the community that there is a need to protect Walibese Spring. The community readily agreed to contribute 20% of the local raw materials needed for construction. These materials include bricks, ballast, hardcore, fencing poles, sand, and even helping hands! Particular community leaders will also begin to inform and mobilize families to attend the hygiene and sanitation training sessions. Training will result in a group of Community Health Workers responsible for promoting healthy practices, and a Water User Committee who will oversee the maintenance and management of the spring once it’s protected.

Protecting the spring will help save both time and health for beneficiaries. The hygiene and sanitation training will be crucial to inform community members of all the good, healthy practices that are within their means. Using different methods like CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), participants will be sensitized to how important it is to properly dispose of waste. It attracts flies in the open, and flies… well flies fly around. Flies also happen to be attracted to food. There is a huge need to construct more latrines, and proper knowledge of this fecal-oral disease transmission route will motivate community members to do so! We strongly believe that after the spring protection and the three days of hygiene training, most of the issues raised above will be curbed.

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/14/2017: A Year Later: Walibese Spring

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection with the community surrounding Walibese Spring in Kenya. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners can visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partner, Erick Wagaka, with you.

The Water Project : 4568_yar_5

08/15/2016: Walibese Spring Protection Project Complete

We are excited to report that the project to protect Walibese Spring in Kenya is now complete. 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 help keep the water flowing. Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this well and many other projects.

We just updated the project page with the latest pictures, so make sure to open the “See Photos & Video” tab to enjoy!

Project Result: New Knowledge

The village elder, Mr. Samuel Avedi, encouraged all families in his village to choose at least one representative to attend training. Community members thought it would be a great idea to have training in the shade of the trees near the spring. There the 20 participants could also enjoy onsite training to learn about how to oversee and maintain their spring protection project. Everyone was very interested in learning about hygiene, sanitation, and how to keep clean, safe water flowing.

Topics included but were not limited to:

  • Community contribution and responsibilities
  • Leadership and governance
  • Group dynamics
  • Forming an effective water user committee for management and maintenance of the spring
  • Water pollution
  • Water-related diseases
  • Building disease transmission barriers
  • Proper handling of food and water
  • Importance of having and using a latrine

Once we finished training, the excitement was evident. All the participants were ready to dive right into spring protection construction, as well as promote good health and hygiene in the greater village. In fact, certain participants were given the title of “Community Health Worker,” and have chosen to adopt the responsibility of promoting and teaching health in the area. Mr. Avedi said, “This training has been of great importance to us as a community as we have got knowledge on how to maintain our spring, protect our water source, how to prevent local diseases and maintaining hygiene. If we all implement these teachings we will live a better life!” New knowledge has unlocked hope for these 20 individuals and their families, and they want to share that with their neighbors.

8 kenya4568 training

Project Result: Sanitation Platforms

The hygiene and sanitation standards of the village have improved. This is thanks to the Community Health Workers put in place during the trainings. The simple design used for the sanitation platforms (safe concrete latrine floors) is now being adopted by other community members since it is easy to construct, install and use.

Beneficiaries are very excited about their new latrine facilities, saying that they are easy to clean and comfortable to use. Those who draw water from nearby Walibese Spring are also excited that the issue of open defecation will no longer threaten their water. See an example of a sanitation platform in the picture below! After the sanitation platform is provided, the family that benefits will work on building a wall and roof for privacy.

10 kenya4555 sanitation platform

Project Result: Spring Protection

The construction process to protect Walibese Spring began on April 1st.

Spring protection involves conducting a water quality test; clearing the site, excavating the land uphill from the spring discharge until three feet of water is flowing; packing hard core; reinforcing and casting the foundation slab, building the main and wing walls; fitting the delivery pipes, inlets, draw off pipe, overflow, and inlet screen; backfilling; installing a pipe low in the collection wall to direct the water from the interception reservoir to a concrete or plastic spring box; landscaping and drainage; fencing the area; digging drainage.

13 kenya4568 construction

April brought a lot of rain showers, so gathering the necessary construction materials was difficult. The sparse road network is already poor, so it was difficult to drag bricks and roll wheelbarrows full of sand while the ground was muddy. Community members persevered, though, and managed to provide all of the local resources needed to protect this spring’s water, including the bricks, fencing, and clean sand. Local women also prepared food for the artisans, and certain households opened their doors to accommodate.

Mr. Avedi shared that “This is a very unique project, the coordination of the organization and community has been good. We can now easily access water from the spring, no more queues are witnessed at the spring and the water is very good for drinking.” As Mr. Avedi said, there are certainly no more lines of women and children waiting to fetch water; Walibese Spring now yields one liter of water per second!

18 kenya4568 protected spring

This spring is now protected from outside contaminants, and community members confidently draw its water for drinking. They also use the water for cooking and washing, as well as domestic purposes like brick-making and farm irrigation. Women and children no longer have to walk long distances to find clean, safe water since it now flows from their local spring. Cases of waterborne disease are expected to significantly decrease as the community benefits from drinking safe, clean water.

The Water Project : 27-kenya4568-protected-spring

06/03/2016: Walibese Spring Protection Project Underway

We are excited to share that work around Walibese Spring has begun. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from this 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 GPS coordinates.

The Water Project and the community of Walibese Spring Thank You for giving the hope of clean water and good health.

The Water Project : 4-kenya4568-fetching-water

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Vihiga, Sabatia, Endeli Village
ProjectID: 4568
Install Date:  08/15/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 02/28/2018

Visit History:
09/12/2016 — Functional
12/01/2016 — Functional
02/28/2017 — Functional
06/06/2017 — Functional
06/20/2017 — Functional
02/27/2018 — Functional
02/28/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Walibese Spring

November, 2017

It was still clear that the health and hygiene content delivered during the community engagement training bore visible and lifelong fruits. People were observed washing their containers before collecting water, just to stress a point on proper water handling.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection with the community surrounding Walibese Spring in Kenya. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners can visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partner, Erick Wagaka, with you.

The community members have developed a new sense of belonging upon the successful construction of the protected spring and the provision of sanitation platforms to five needy households. The reliable water point has given a new pride and honor to these people because they can now discuss other developmental issues such as sensitizing the community on gender emancipation. The boy child can now agree to be sent to the spring point unlike before where girls alone could be seen taking several trips to collect water for household use. The construction of five sanitation platforms triggered the majority to think positive about improving their makeshift latrines upwards along the sanitation ladder.

“The outbreak of waterborne diseases is now a thing of the past after the protection Walibese spring,” shares caretaker Janet Vihenda. “This means that the community is now healthier and richer because their cumulative expenditure on medication has gone down. The available water at one’s disposal has also improved our self-image as a community and put us in good books with the public health personnel.”

“I really enjoy coming to the water point to collect the sparkling, clean and fresh water,” says 13-year-old Clinton Akibaya. “Before the spring was protected, it was a task left to girls alone to collect water for household use. Our main scapegoat as boys was that, it was so shameful to form long queues with girls and women to scramble for the dirty water together. However, after the protection, most people were convinced that development is a collective effort that requires both girls and boys. I cherish our spring and it gives me an improved self-esteem because I know am drinking water from a safe source. The same water helps our animals and is also used to cook the food we eat and to do laundry work every day.”

The water user committee together with the spring users have preserved the spring point very well. At the time of visit, the spring was discharging at 13 seconds to fill up 20 liter jerry can. Despite the challenges of accessibility due to the bad terrain leading to and from the spring, the community had managed to control soil erosion around the spring area. It was still clear that the health and hygiene content delivered during the community engagement training bore visible and lifelong fruits. People were observed washing their containers before collecting water, just to stress a point on proper water handling.

The Water Project and our partners are committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by monthly donors, allows us to visit communities up to 4 times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.


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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.