Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 84 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2016

Functionality Status:  Low/No Water or Mechanical Breakdown

Last Checkup: 04/12/2024

Project Features

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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 Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ilala Community, Felix Kisengo 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.

Trainers Olivia and Janet review prevention reminders chart

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 Ilala, Kenya.

We trained more than 11 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.

Trainer Olivia demonstrates handwashing

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.

Community member demonstrates handwashing

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.

OBserving social distancing

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.

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.

Community member raises a question

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.

Janet shows how to cough and sneeze into the elbow

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.

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. Learn more here!