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The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -
The Water Project: Shikhambi Community, Isabella Spring -

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: 11/04/2020

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


08/05/2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Isabella Angwenyi

This post is part of a new series by The Water Project meant to highlight the perspectives and experiences of the people we serve and how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting them. We invite you to read more of their stories here.

persevering   /pərsəˈviriNG/   adjective
– continuing in a course of action even in the face of difficulty, with little or no prospect of success, or despite a delay in achieving success

– See also: Isabella Angwenyi

Isabella fetches water at her namesake spring.

Career. Family. Self-Owned Business. Community mobilizer.

At 50-years-old, Isabella Angwenyi is a do-it-all force to be reckoned with in her home of Shikhambi, Kenya. There, she depends on the protected spring of her own name, Isabella Spring, for all of her daily water needs.

In 2016, Isabella began her own soap business following the protection of her namesake spring. Clean water, as she will tell you, is a key ingredient to any quality soap. And she wants to ensure that safe, clean water remains the norm in Shikhambi. As a mother of 4 invested in not just her family’s health but also that of her community and business, Isabella serves as the treasurer of the spring’s water user committee.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Isabella to quickly adapt to limitations in business due to national and regional restrictions mandated by the Kenyan government to help control the spread of the virus. For Isabella, when the restrictions first hit, it was not a question of “if” but “how” she would find new ways to promote her sales and to help people have soap at home.

True to her character, Isabella’s story is one of determination, perseverance, and confidence that she and her community will get through these hard times.

Video Part 1: Water – Isabella shares how water from protected Isabella Spring has helped her family and community during the pandemic. 

Our team recently visited Shikhambi to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point. Shortly after, we returned to check in on the community, offer a COVID-19 refresher training, and ask how the pandemic is affecting their lives.

It was during this most recent visit that Isabella shared her story of how the coronavirus has impacted her life.

“Shikhambi community members are enlightened on COVID-19,” reflected Field Officer Ian Nakitare, who interviewed Isabella. “They are putting everything they were taught at the sensitization training into practice. By adhering to this, hopefully the community will maintain its COVID-free status and good health in the long run.”

Ian met Isabella outside her home to conduct the interview. Both Ian and Isabella observed social distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. The following is Isabella’s story, in her own words. Questions and answers have been edited for clarity and length.

Video Part 2: Soap Business & Training – Isabella shares how COVID-19 has impacted her soapmaking business, and what she found most valuable from our team’s COVID-19 sensitization training in her community. 

“Since the installation of Isabella Spring, we have seen a noticeable impact on my community’s health. Cases of water-related diseases have highly reduced. A good number of community members benefited from the training held and have started small businesses in their homes. This has empowered them and they can now save money and help their families.

Isabella washes her hands with soap and water from Isabella Spring using a handwashing station she set up at home.

Readily accessible and clean water has helped me during this hard time of corona. My business of soap making requires a lot of water and with the need of soap in handwashing, especially in combating coronavirus, I have had a number of orders to do.

Isabella pours her final liquid soap product into containers for sale.

We have adjusted to the restrictions set by our government, and we are practicing social distancing when fetching water. Sometimes we have to fetch water at odd hours to avoid crowding at the water point. I have personally invested in a pump and a tank storage system that helps me pump flowing water from the spring overnight to my home to complement my soap business.

Isabella air-dries her hands after washing them to maximize the benefits of handwashing.

With schools closed, my children are at home most of the time. This requires me to check on them from time to time when I am at work. I have to ensure they are attending their Zoom classes and doing assignments sent to them from school. At times, especially on market days, Wednesday and Saturday, I take them to my workplace to help me make and sell soap.

Isabella with her daughters outside their home.

My major customers, hotels and schools, were closed down to minimize crowding. My sales for soap went down drastically and I had to shift to sell chemicals used to make soap instead. The curfew hours and movement restriction set also don’t work well with my business as people are not free to come into town. This has become a challenge and I have been forced to do deliveries to customers, which increases my overall production costs.

Isabella attends one of the first COVID-19 sensitization trainings we held in her community of Shikhambi.

We have made simple handwashing stations in the community where community members can wash their hands. I supply soap at a discounted amount to my neighbors to ensure they wash hands in the right way with soap and running water. We are now making our homemade cloth masks…and we are also coughing in our elbows to reduce the possibility of virus spread.

Isabela holds up a visual aid used in a demonstration about virus spread during training.

Like most governments around the world, the Kenyan government has set and adjusted several sets of restrictions both nationally and tailored to certain regions since the outbreak began to help control the spread of the disease.

What restriction were you most excited to see lifted already?

“The curfew time has been reduced by 3 hours. This has given us business people more time to do business and supply soap with no pressure.”

What restriction are you still looking forward to being lifted?

“Restriction of social gatherings. Kenyans are very social and friendly people – we miss our social gatherings! I really can’t wait for the government to open up churches so we can worship and praise God together as a family. I also miss going on family outings. Hopefully, we get back to normal soon.”

Isabella demonstrates good handwashing technique at training.

When asked where she receives information about COVID-19, Isabella listed the radio, television, loudspeaker/megaphone announcements, word of mouth, and our team’s sensitization training.

What has been the most valuable part of the COVID-19 sensitization training you received from our team?

“We were taught on improvising simple hands-free handwashing stations using locally available materials. This will go a long way in ensuring my community is safe from the coronavirus as most of the households have set up these stations and are constantly washing their hands with soap and running water.”


The Water Project : 1-covid19-kenya4570-isabella-with-her-daughters-at-home


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 Videos




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 pours through a reinforced pipe in a concrete headwall to a paved 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, Isabella Spring.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shikhambi Community, Isabella 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!

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, Isabella 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 Shikhambi Community, Isabella 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!

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, Isabella Spring.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shikhambi Community, Isabella 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!

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, Isabella 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 Shikhambi Community, Isabella 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!

Give Monthly