Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2016

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/07/2023

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 Ebwambwa Village, Sheywe location, Sichirai sub-location, Kakamega Central of Kakamega County.

A normal day for the people living around Mwibichiri Spring starts when the women wake up to go fetch water for preparing breakfast and doing chores. Children are left to go to school as husbands and wives go to work on their farms.

The area around Mwibichiri Spring is densely populated. There are 100 households that make up a whopping total population of 799 people, all who rely on this unprotected spring as their sole water source. (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.)

This community heard about this kind of water project that would protect their spring, and immediately sent in their application. After our first visit, we were able to gather the details shared below to determine that the people around Mwibichiri Spring need both training and their spring protected. They are in dire need!

Water Situation

An unprotected spring is open to contamination from many different sources. When it rains, dirt and waste washes downhill into the spring. If there's nearby farming, chemical fertilizers end up in the spring and pose a huge threat to whoever drinks the water. In this case, that's almost 800 people. There are households near the spring, and these households have dug pit latrines to serve their families, unaware that the waste has a high chance of mingling with groundwater shared by their spring!

In the pictures, you'll see that the spring looks like a muddy puddle. Since the water is so obviously dirty, mothers boil water before offering it to their families. However, with such a high level of contamination, these families still suffer from recurring cases of typhoid, cholera, stomachaches, and diarrhea.

Women and children fetch water by dunking small containers like cups to fill larger containers, such as jerrycans or buckets. Without constant cleaning of these water containers, the containers can also introduce more dirt and germs to the spring's water. During the dry season, community members must fetch water at night to avoid long lines, agitation, and fighting around the spring.

Sanitation Situation

No more than half of the 100 households have their own pit latrine. The condition of all the latrines we observed was poor, so poor that using the latrine is dangerous. You can see examples of these latrines in the pictures under the "See Photos & Video" section. One picture shows a latrine with wooden slats suspended over the pit. These boards rot, increasing the chance that a user could fall through at any time.

Since hundreds of people don't have a latrine for their own use, they have to find the privacy of bushes and trees. This becomes some of the waste that is washed into the spring during rain!

Not many homes have bathing rooms either, places that provide privacy for washing up, brushing teeth, and other personal hygiene activities. Out of the one hundred households, we couldn't find a single hand-washing station. At the very least, community members can be taught about how to build a simple dish rack and clothesline to dry their things.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Sanitation Platforms

Community members will be trained for four days on a variety of health, hygiene and sanitation topics. This training will result in community members donning the roles of health workers and water user committee members. The training facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Training), CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), and ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) methods to teach community members, especially the women and children who feel the burden of household responsibility. Training will equip each person with the knowledge needed to practice viable and effective health solutions in their homes and at the spring.

By the end of training, participants will also have identified five needy families to benefit from sanitation platforms. These are concrete floors for latrines that are safe and easy to clean. Five new places to use the bathroom will help create a cleaner living situation for the entire community.

Plans: Spring Protection

Locals are eagerly preparing for this spring protection project. They have agreed to gather the local materials needed for construction to begin, which include sand, ballast, hardcore, bricks, fencing poles, and even a few helpful hands!

Project Updates

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

Trainer Olivia explains the importance of using soap when handwashing

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 Ebwambwa, Kenya.

We trained more than 22 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.

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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

Community members hold 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.

A moment of joy during the handwashing session

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.

Observing social distancing

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, 2017: A Year Later: Mwibichiri Spring

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection and sanitation platforms for the community surrounding Mwibichiri Spring in Kenya. Because of these gifts and our monthly donors, partners are able to 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, Joan Were, with you.

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.

A Year Later: Mwibichiri Spring Community

September, 2017

“Before the spring was protected, most community members opted to source their water from a spring that is 1 km away.”

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ebwambwa 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, generous donors helped build a spring protection and sanitation platforms for the community surrounding Mwibichiri Spring in Kenya. Because of these gifts and our monthly donors, partners are able to 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, Joan Were, with you.

The community around Mwibichiri Spring has experienced exciting changes through the protected spring project and hygiene and sanitation training.  Joan joyfully shares her impressions of the changes that she has witnessed in the community: “Most homesteads have installed dish racks and many of them come to the spring with containers that have lids. This change has happened because the community embraced the WaSH training positively.”  A teacher in the community, Christopher Ogai, does indicate that the spring access has reduced cases of waterborne sickness, but that there are still times in the dry season when the water production from the spring is low and the demand is very high.  This community represents both the incredible benefit of clean water sources and the continuing need for engagement in areas experiencing water scarcity.


Samuel Ogai, age 13, shares some of the benefits of having the protected spring nearby, stating, “This spring is very nice compared to the river that we used to go to. The water is clean and we spend less time fetching water because we would go to the river and get allured by other kids to swim before taking water home.” We hope that Samuel is still taking some time to swim with friends.

WEWASAFO will continue supporting the Mwibichiri community to ensure that clean water is consistently available.  The Mwibichiri community has integrated much of the WEWASAFO training into community life, teaching how to keep the water clean until it is used or consumed, and how to build and maintain latrines. The community even started a self-help group to ensure sustainable access to the clean water through community contributions for any maintenance costs that might arise.


We know that the positive changes around Mwibichiri Spring from clean water access and healthy lifestyle changes will have ripples of impact throughout their community and in the surrounding areas.  We are excited to stay in touch with this community and to report the news as they continue on their journey with clean water.


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 Ebwambwa 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 Ebwambwa 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.


1 individual donor(s)