Felix Kisengo Spring

Regional Program:
Western Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude 0.25
Longitude 34.76

84 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

Kisengo Spring is located in Ilala Village, Shitoto sub-location, Khayega, Isukha South Ward in Kakamega County of Shinyalu Constituency. It is predominantly inhabited by the Isukha sub-tribe of Luhyia Community. However, other tribes also draw from the same spring since they purchased land nearby. All of these people practice agriculture, primarily planting food crops such as maize.

The mothers here begin with domestic chores, such as sweeping or fetching water from the unprotected spring. All this is done extremely early in the morning! After they are done with their usual chores at home, some join their husbands on the farm and others go to the market to buy and sell goods for income.

The maize, beans, other vegetables and even bananas they grow pay for their children’s school fees. Families also practice dairy farming and fish farming to earn a living.

Mr. Felix Kisengo, whose land the spring runs through, sent in an application for a project. He realized that all of his neighbors who rely on his spring were constantly suffering from waterborne diseases. In fact, Mr. Kisengo was so passionate about this cause that he hand-delivered his application to our office in Kakamega. On receipt of the document, we paid a visit to Mr. Kisengo’s community.

Water Situation

Felix Kisengo Spring is an unprotected water source on which locals rely. The water lies stagnant and is open to contamination from many different sources. When it rains, fertilizers run into the water from proximate farms. When an animal or human relieves themselves nearby, this also washes into the spring. It may be nearby, but it is not safe for drinking. Community members report cases of dysentery, typhoid, and malaria because of the mosquito breeding ground the stagnant water creates.

Women and children, those who are most seen at the spring, use 20-liter jerrycans to fetch water. These are routinely cleaned with water and leaves. Once the water is returned home, it is separated by use. Drinking water is poured into large clay pots that keep the water cool, and water for cleaning purposes is kept in larger plastic containers.

Sanitation Situation

Under half of households in this area have their own pit latrine. These are made with mud walls, grass, and rusty iron sheets. The floors are packed down with cow dung. The biggest challenge is floor upkeep; they get filthy but are near impossible to clean. During our visit, it was obvious that open defecation is an issue because of the lack of latrines.

There were no hand-washing stations around Felix Kisengo Spring either, but locals seem ready to learn about hygiene and sanitation during training. We met Edith Langat, who goes to the market on a daily basis to sell her husband’s crops. She said, “This project will be an answered prayer to the community and especially to me, because I have been using a lot of money to treat typhoid.”

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members will be trained for three 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.

During training, we will take this community on a transect walk to sensitize them to some of the more serious health threats. The transect walk will teach locals to watch for practices that go on and facilities that are present related to good health and hygiene. Sometimes, a participant feels shame when the group arrives at their household and points out things that are unhealthy or unhygienic; but in Kenya, this affects people to make a positive change. Training participants will also vote on and decide the families that should benefit from the five new sanitation platforms.

Plans: Sanitation Platforms

The five families chosen by the community will receive a sanitation platform, which is a concrete floor that makes a great foundation for a safe and clean latrine. These families will prepare by sinking a pit that the concrete slab can be placed over. These five new latrines will go a long way in reducing the level of open defecation in this 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 some helpful hands!

Once Felix Kisengo Spring is protected, locals will have clean water for drinking, domestic chores, and farm irrigation.

Thank You for joining with Felix Kisengo to meet his community’s great need!

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

11/03/2016: Felix Kisengo Spring Project Complete

We are excited to report that the project to protect Felix Kisengo Spring in Ilala Village, 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 spring protection 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! And please enjoy the rest of the report from our partner in Kenya:

Project Result: New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held at the household of Mr. Richard Liyayi. The place and time was scheduled by Felix Kisengo, whom the spring is named after. Both attendance and participation was good, with 12 people eager to learn how to live healthier lives. Women outnumbered the men, but this is because women are seen as those most responsible for water, sanitation and hygiene in their households here.

Topics covered included but were not limited to environmental health, common local diseases, building disease barriers, water handling, and personal hygiene. Hand-washing was highlighted as one of the simplest and most effective disease barriers, as seen in the picture below!

4 kenya4577 training

By the end of the three days, participants formed a water user committee to oversee and maintain the spring protection. Other participants were equipped with the knowledge to become community health workers. These workers will be responsible for sharing what they learned with the rest of their community. Everybody there agreed to see that dish racks, clotheslines, hand-washing stations and pit latrines are present at every single household.

Mrs. Edith Cherono is a member of the water user committee now. She said, “We appreciate the donor who saw the need for us to access safe, clean water and acquire knowledge on hygiene!” Clean water can’t help for long without good hygiene and sanitation conditions to keep it that way. (Editor’s Note: This is such a sweet and welcoming group of people. Can’t you tell from the pictures? They make you want to visit!)

3 kenya4577 training

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.

19 kenya4577 sanitation platform

Project Result: Spring Protection

Construction to protect Felix Kisengo Spring began on September 20th.

Our artisan was ready before the 20th, and had even arrived in the community. However, the community members hadn’t finished collecting the materials needed for construction. Hardcore was more difficult for them to find, so our artisan returned home until things were prepared. Once there was enough sand, ballast, bricks, fencing poles, and hardcore, our artisan returned and began the work.

Community in process of constructing a fish pond next to Felix Kisengo Spring

We began with our initial water quality test that verifies that the spring’s water is contaminated and warrants protection. When we got the results, we could begin excavating the land to build a level foundation. We then dug further up the slope from the spring’s discharge pipe until there was three feet of water flowing. Hard core is packed, reinforced, and the foundational slab is cast. After the floor, we can build the walls and wings up. The delivery pipes, inlets, and discharge pipe can then be installed. A screen is fitted between the catchment area and the spring box. The community then digs proper drainage and builds a fence around the catchment area.

10 kenya4577 construction

This construction makes the spring’s water much safer for drinking, and we expect waterborne disease to drastically decrease in this community. Fetching water is a responsibility undertaken by females, notably done by both women and young girls. Protecting the spring has therefore helped empower the community’s female members, for they now have more time to engage and invest in income-generating activities. It is evident that the local community has been sensitized on the importance of spring protection and environmental conservation. These two factors are vital towards the sustainability of Kisengo Spring. Moreover, the health promotion campaign through training has enabled and enlightened the community to make health a priority.

The Water Project : 16-kenya4577-protected-spring

09/28/2016: Felix Kisengo Spring Protection Project Underway

We are excited to share that work around Felix Kisengo 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. Check out the tabs above to read more about this project!

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

The Water Project : 4-kenya4577-unprotected-water

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Kakamega, Isukha, Khayega, Shitoto, Ilala Village
ProjectID: 4577
Install Date:  11/03/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 02/27/2018

Visit History:
11/01/2016 — Functional
04/06/2017 — Functional
09/21/2017 — Functional
12/27/2017 — Functional
02/27/2018 — Functional

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.