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The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community -

Project Status



Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 400 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2016

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/14/2019

Project Features


Click icons to learn about each feature.



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

This unprotected spring is located in Shikhambi Village, Shieywe sub-location, Sichirai location, Shieywe Ward, Lurambi Constituency of Kakamega County. It serves 40 households with a total population of 400 people, out of which 150 are male and 250 are female.

This area is predominantly inhabited by the Butsotso sub-tribe of the Luhyia Community. However, other tribes also draw from Isabella Spring by virtue of having purchased land in the area. These people practice small-scale farming to make a living.

Most who live around Isabella Spring wake up very early to start working on their farms. They grow crops like maize, cassava, sweet potato, and other vegetables. Farmers have been very happy lately since the rainy season is benefiting their crops! Community members who do not practice agriculture try to sell their goods in the local market (bricks, baskets, etc.).

The landowner who the spring is named after, Isabella, visited a friend and was sharing about her community’s struggles with safe water scarcity. Her friend asked if she had ever heard of WEWASAFO and how they protect springs! On hearing this, Isabella immediately left for our office to ask for help. After visiting the community, we agreed that her community is in dire need of help.

Water Situation

This spring is open to contamination and thus predisposes its users to waterborne diseases such as typhoid, diarrhea, amoebas and malaria. “During rainfall, the overflow covers the spring and consequently makes the water dirty and affects the community members,” says Isabella. She elaborated further, saying that the spring is contaminated when some people urinate nearby. On one occasion, a person even defecated at the spring!

Locals use the spring’s water for drinking, farm irrigation during dry seasons, and household chores (cooking, cleaning, bathing, etc.). Though many boil the water before drinking, waterborne disease is still rampant.

Sanitation Situation

Sanitation and hygiene is also a challenge for this community. Many community members lack latrines, and the few who have them (under 25%) have allowed deterioration into very poor and pathetic conditions. The young and the old, in most cases, opt to relieve themselves in the bush and behind the houses. They believe this to be much safer than stepping on old, rickety boards suspended over a dark and dirty pit! Isabella confides that the person who sold her the piece of land does not have a pit latrine; instead they use the bushes. This is not only a serious health hazard to the family living there, but also to the community at large.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least three 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.

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

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.

In addition, 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. One of the residents shared that they feel “this is a God-given opportunity, and the idea of protecting Isabella Spring will solve their water problems!” The sanitation facilities and trainings will also enable, enlighten and build the capacity of the community so that they can take matters into their own hands.

Project Updates


11/01/2017: A Year Later: Shikhambi Community

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection and sanitation platforms for the Shikhambi Community surrounding Isabella Spring in Kenya. Because of these gifts and 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, Rose Serete, with you.


The Water Project : 4570_yar_1


Project Photos


Project Type

Protected Spring

In many communities, natural springs exist as water flows from cracks in rocky ground or the side of a hill.  Springs provide reliable water but that doesn’t mean safe. When left open they become contaminated by surface contamination, animal and human waste and rain runoff. The solution is to protect the source. First, you excavate around the exact source area of the spring. Then, you build a protective reservoir for water flow, which leads to a concrete spring box and collection area. Safe water typically flows year-round and there is very limited ongoing maintenance needed!


A Year Later: Shikhambi Community

September, 2017

“I am happy to say that Isabella Spring has not been the same since the project intervention last year. The population that draws water from the same spring has increased. This was prompted by the members coming in from neighboring areas that still have no access to safe water. The protected spring has reduced the sickness and now the community is healthier due to access to clean and safe water.”

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shikhambi 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!

Give Monthly

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection and sanitation platforms for the Shikhambi community surrounding Isabella Spring in Kenya. Because of these gifts and 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, Rose Serete, with you.

4570_YAR_1

Clean water access at Isabella Spring has created ripples of benefit throughout the surrounding community.  Spring protections such as this one have long lasting effects on health, education, and even business.  Isabella is a fighter who has stepped up to the challenges of poverty and sickness by starting and building her own soap making business.  Her work is a premier example of strength and ingenuity as she provides affordable access through local materials to improved community health and sanitation.

4570_YAR_3

In addition, many students are thankful for the access to clean water at Isabella Spring. Patrick Yusi, age 17, says, “Personally I am happy because of protection of the Isabella Spring. As a member of the community we have a lot of water. In addition, we don’t take a lot of time to draw water because there is hardly any queue.”  Reduced time waiting in line for water collection means more time for community members to pursue their own goals.

4570_YAR_2

WEWASAFO will continue supporting the Shikhambi community to ensure that clean water is not only available, but also that the community has tools to keep the water clean until drinking it. In addition, WEWASAFO trains and challenges the community to build and maintain clean latrines.

While it may seem like one spring is just a drop in the bucket, Isabella Spring continues to provide safe drinking water to many people who are now more free to pursue their own vision for a flourishing life.  We are excited to stay in touch with this community and to report the impact in the Shikhambi community as they continue on their journey.

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.


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 Shikhambi 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 Shikhambi 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!

Give Monthly

I'm a Fighter

March, 2017

The clean water source brought a “new normal” of health to the community. And, it unleashed the entrepreneur in Isabella.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shikhambi 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!

Give Monthly

Isabella has seen it all. Last year her small community in Western Kenya had a horrible water problem. An unprotected, polluted spring, contaminated with disease, kept her entire community sick. She and her neighbors experienced water-borne illness, frequent sickness and an endless cycle of poverty. Sick kids miss school, and when the little money you have goes to doctor bills – nothing is easy.

When talking to Isabella about the way things used to be, she’ll tell you: “But I didn’t get discouraged… because I am a fighter.”

Isabella and The Water Project partnered together to protect her community’s’ spring in 2016 and everything began to change. This protected spring, now flowing with life-giving water, keeps the entire community healthy. Healthy kids go to school, and when you’re not spending the little money you have on doctor bills – you’re starting a soap business made with now accessible, safe water.

The clean water source brought a “new normal” of health to the community. And, it unleashed the entrepreneur in Isabella. Isabella used to talk about dirty water, now she talks about business deals and market trends. Instead of managing illness and poverty, she’s enjoying health, managing bulk soap orders and growing her business.

Through our regular monitoring and visits of Isabella’s spring, we have heard more and more about Isabella’s booming soap business. She knows has a full-time employee, has purchased a hand mixer to make more soap quickly and easily and has even been able to send her son to college. Her work is a premier example of strength and ingenuity and we celebrate her story and the impact clean water has made in her life.

While it may seem like one spring is just a drop in the bucket, Isabella Spring continues to provide safe drinking water to many people who are now more free to pursue their own vision for a flourishing life, like Isabella.


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 Shikhambi 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 Shikhambi 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!

Give Monthly