Bartholomew Spring

Regional Program:
Western Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude 0.32
Longitude 34.73

140 Served

Project Status:

Take a Tour

Explore The Project

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

Bartholomew Spring is found in Evihule Village, Murumba, East Butsotso, Lurambi Constituency of Kakamega County. This unprotected spring has been serving and still serves a population of over 20 households who depend on it entirely for their drinking and domestic uses. Information gathered from the local users confirms that the spring is permanent; it constantly serves the community even through the driest seasons.

Mothers here wake up early in the morning to help their children prepare for school. The women run to the spring to collect water for their household chores including cleaning, feeding cattle, and cooking. While women attend to their children and homes, men attend to their large sugarcane plantations by planting, cultivating, cutting, or loading the crop that is ready to sell to the sugar factory. All of the families here depend on the growth and sale of these crops. There are a number of churches in the village that belong to different denominations, and a few well-known schools such as Shikoti Girls School.

Water Situation

The wait at the spring takes up a lot of time, which especially affects the farmers. When it hasn’t rained recently, farmers must go to the spring to fetch water for irrigation. One of the men told us, “Every evening around 4pm we always crowd here trying to get this precious commodity, but we have to sit on our buckets for long waiting for our turns and that hurts me a lot.” Since there is no discharge pipe that helps the spring flow, the water is stirred and muddied as each person dunks their bucket. Most of the wait is allowing time for the water to settle before fetching again.

The spring is unprotected and contaminated by surface runoff, people stepping into the water as they draw, and domestic animals that are allowed to wander. Dirty particles float on top of the water; old and used wrappers and dry leaves.

As a result of drinking this unprotected, contaminated water, community members report cases of waterborne diseases such as typhoid, diarrhea and cholera. When checking out the spring we met Adelaide, a woman who spends her time helping on the family farm. “I have been drinking water from here for long and it never dries. Most of the time we go to the clinic to treat typhoid and diarrhea which we suspect emanates from this water point. We have never had a chance for anyone to support us protect it.”

Sanitation Situation

Under half of households in the area have their own pit latrine. Most have brush for walls, no roofs, and floors made of crisscrossed logs. Without roofs, these wood floors are likely to rot away! These floors are particularly dangerous for small children and the elderly, who fear falling into the pit. When walking around the village, open defecation was an obvious issue, the majority of which is practiced on the sugarcane plantations.

Not many families have helpful tools either, such as dish racks, clotheslines, or most importantly, hand-washing stations. They don’t know how important simple tools like these are to maintain health.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

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. It will also result in the formation of a committee that will oversee and maintain their new spring protection system. They will take up activities such as digging extra drainage and fencing out wild animals. Other training participants will take up the gauntlet of health promotion; they will be community health workers responsible for teaching others about the good hygiene and sanitation practices they learned during training.

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

All of the villagers who depend on Bartholomew Spring risk getting waterborne diseases on a daily basis. Protecting this spring will instead give users their right to enjoy good health, boost their confidence, and ultimately contribute to prolonging lives. This is the only water point in the village, so if it provides safe water, disease will be drastically reduced. The construction will also have a proper discharge pipe and drainage that will greatly increase the water flow. An increased flow of water at the spring will decrease the long wait that keeps farmers out during late hours!

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 Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/19/2017: A Year Later: Bartholomew Spring

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection and sanitation platforms with the community surrounding Bartholomew Spring in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and contributions from 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 : 4581_yar_2

01/12/2017: Bartholomew Spring Project Complete

We are excited to report that the project to protect Bartholomew Spring in 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 under a tree on Mr. Mukabane’s property, which is nearest to Bartholomew Spring. His wife, Carolyne Mukabane, helped recruit her neighbors to attend. A total of 13 adults and three children ended up participating, with women as the majority. This is because women and children have the most responsibility for fetching water and doing other domestic chores. These women actively participated by answering and asking questions and helping each other understand the topics. There were some very old community members there, and the younger women helped them by translating the materials into a local dialect so they could understand.

4 kenya4581 training

Training topics included but were not limited to leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; the spread of disease and prevention. We also covered water treatment methods, environmental hygiene, and hygiene promotion. We also took a session to emphasize proper maintenance of the spring protection project. The community should refrain from washing clothes, water animals, farming with fertilizers, and open defecation in the vicinity. We encouraged positive activities such as building a fence and digging proper drainage, which will prevent water pollution.

Hand-washing was both discussed and demonstrated. It is one of the most important barriers in preventing disease. Hands should be washed after visiting the latrine, before cooking, before and after eating, after shaking hands, and after handling garbage. We also taught locals how to build a hand-washing station out of sticks, rope, and plastic containers.

By the end of the three days, participants formed a water user 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 by making door-to-door visits. They will continue to keep their neighbors accountable so that the overall community can experience improved health.

These participants were surprised that the things they learned to improve life in their village were so simple. These women are excited to share these new hygiene and sanitation practices with the rest of their families and neighbors. Mrs. Carolyne Mukabane said, “I have come to realize that there are little things that we often ignore, yet they mean a lot. The way we washed our hands hurriedly without considering some parts, storing drinking water for weeks and sometimes months, the importance of maintaining other good hygiene practices; I will ensure that my neighbors start adhering to proper hygiene practices. Cleanliness is from today going to be my new philosophy.” Carolyne is pictured below as she attends her third day of hygiene and sanitation training.

Caroline Mukabane

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. We will continue to encourage people to build walls and roofs around their platforms.

38 kenya4581 protected spring

Project Result: Spring Protection

Construction to protect Bartholomew Spring began on September 1, 2016.

After a spring is earmarked for protection, our artisan arrives to clear the construction site. All bushes and trees are felled with machetes. This is followed by excavating up the slope from the spring output. Ballast is then mixed with cement and sand to make concrete. A wire mesh is lain on the excavated space before the concrete is added in order to create a strong foundation. This foundation is left to cure overnight.

20 kenya4581 construction

On the second day, the walls are raised with brick. The artisan then installs a pipe low in the collection wall to direct water from the reservoir to a concrete or plastic spring box. He then backfills the spring source with hardcore until water is flowing from the discharge pipe. The area around the spring is then landscaped, fenced, and drainage is dug.

23 kenya4581 construction

The community helped by gathering sand, bricks, hardcore, and fencing poles. People here made an immense contribution of their time and strength to help with manual labor. Even the children were willing to help after they got home from school. With all of these combined efforts, there were no delays or challenges to construction.

18 kenya4581 construction

“I am so glad that our families, more so women and children, will from today have easy access to clean drinking water. The spring is so well done that I think even men will overcome our taboos of not going to the spring to carry water… Getting clean water in a 20-liter jerrycan in just 38 seconds is not something we as a community can just ignore! We will work with the committee and community health workers to ensure that the water point is properly taken care of. I am also a sanitation platform beneficiary and it looks amazing,” said Jafred Muyera.

Just one day after construction was finished, two more households added their names to the list of beneficiaries drawing clean, safe water from Bartholomew Spring.

The Water Project : 27-kenya4581-protected-spring

12/22/2016: Bartholomew Spring Project Underway!

What a wonderful Christmas gift! We are so excited to share that work around Bartholomew Spring has begun. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from this spring, and often suffer physical illnesses after doing so. Our partner has begun hygiene and sanitation training, casting latrines, and construction to protect this community’s water source. 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!

The Water Project and the community of Bartholomew Spring Thank You for giving the gift of clean water and good health.

The Water Project : dsc02688

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Kakamega, Lurambi, East Butsotso, Murumba, Evihule Village
ProjectID: 4581
Install Date:  01/12/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 01/16/2018

Visit History:
11/16/2016 — Functional
03/30/2017 — Functional
06/13/2017 — Functional
08/17/2017 — Functional
01/16/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Bartholomew Spring

November, 2017

Water borne diseases reduced drastically allowing the community to use their resources in the right way rather than using it in seeking medication.

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection and sanitation platforms with the community surrounding Batholomew Spring in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and contributions from 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.

Before this spring was protected, this community suffered from water borne diseases, hindering progress and development of the community. But after implementation, water borne diseases reduced drastically allowing the community to use their resources in the right way rather than using it in seeking medication. When you draw close to Batholomew Spring, you are welcomed by a serene environment full of different types of plantation that was brought about because of the spring.

Carolyne Werengekha, community member, shared how this water project has impacted her life. “Since the project was implemented I am now accessible to safe and adequate drinking water. I thank God because through your training many homes have tippy taps and hygiene is highly practiced. I also don’t waste time in the spring and have more time, thus I can handle many activities in a day. I am now able to save a bit of money I get as opposed to the past when I used to spent it all on medication.”

“We still have challenges with some homes sharing latrines so there is need to empower them on this,” she adds.

15-year old Brighton Bwiili also shared how the spring protection has impacted him. “My life has changed because we as a family are at peace, we used to share the pit latrine with my neighbor who was harsh. We also have sufficient time to study because when I come to the spring I take the shortest time possible. This has made me to improved personally in my academics. I thank God for this water project.”

This community has really maintained well. They also need to keep up proper hygiene in their homes and keep teaching others about hygiene.  We will conduct monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the spring serves the intended purpose and that the community members get accessed to safe and clean water for drinking as well as for general chores at home.

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.


Fishing Creek Baptist Church
6 individual donor(s)

Want to start your own campaign? Learn more »

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.