Simboyi Community

Regional Program:
Western Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude 0.08
Longitude 34.76

500 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

Those living in Simboyi Village are all from the Maragoli sub-tribe of the Luyha tribe. Everyone in this area grows avocados and tea leaves, and some of the farms are still dotted with coffee trees. All of these crops are harvested to earn a living. Firing bricks is also an effective way for many men to earn money.

We discovered this spring during a project at Simboyi Primary School. Before the parents, students and teachers had a rainwater catchment tank, they would fetch water from this unprotected spring. When we visited the spring they were using, we realized just how many people were drinking its contaminated water.

Simboyi Village is adjacent to Inyail Village. The total population across this area is 1300 people from approximately 120 households. (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 community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)

Water Situation 

Imbiru Spring is located on Mr. Simon Ingweno’s land in Simboyi Village, Kigama of North Maragoli in Sabatia of Vihiga County. This unprotected spring serves approximately 120 households from Simboyi and Inyali villages. According to 75 year-old village elder Mr. Javan Asava, “These users from both villages can add up to at least 1300 people, not to mention pupils of Simboyi Primary School who used to come for water from this spring before they got the tank from TWP through WEWASAFO.”

People have to carefully walk down a steep pathway to the spring. Each person brings a small cup that they can dip in the spring to bail water and fill their water container, which is normally as large as they can carry. Whoever filled the large container will need help to get it back up the steep slope. The water is then brought home and used for drinking, cooking, bathing, and watering animals.

When home, water is separated into different containers by use. Drinking water is kept in covered pots either in the kitchen or living room. The rest of the water is dumped in larger plastic barrels and saved for cleaning and watering animals.

We know that Imbiru Spring is contaminated because of the numerous reports of waterborne disease. Our visit to the spring confirmed this fact; the water is out in the open with no barriers to protect it from erosion, surface runoff, and animals. People even step into the water to fetch it, or dip their hands in while filling the water jugs. The water is very turbid.

Sanitation Situation

Not all homes have their own pit latrine. These are made of mud and logs are suspended across the ground. These are smelly, since the logs used for the floors are near impossible to clean. Open defecation is an issue in this area, and the village elder has already been making a list to hold those people accountable.

We found three hand-washing stations among this entire population, and only one had soap available. Mr. Enos Eboso is one of those who had built his family a hand-washing station outside the latrine. Around half of households had other helpful sanitation facilities like dish racks or clotheslines.

Households are already practicing proper waste disposal. All of them collect leftovers to feed their animals, while even the animal waste is collected for fertilizer. Trash is separated between pits for composting and pits for burning.

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.

Training will also result in the formation of a committee that will oversee operations and maintenance at the spring. They will enforce proper behavior around the spring and delegate tasks that will help preserve the site, such as building a fence and digging proper drainage.

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. We met Alice Bukusa, a local farmer who has been using the spring for years. “There was a time we experienced serious diarrhea as a result of drinking raw water from this source. Protecting the spring will be a big step toward attaining safe and clean water,” she said.

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

12/20/2017: A Year Later: Simboyi Community

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Imbiru Spring in Simboyi Village, 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 Jacqueline K. Shigali with you.

The Water Project : 4-4591-yar

01/16/2017: Simboyi Community now has clean water!

We are excited to report that the project to protect Imbiru Spring in Simboyi, 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 began at 9:30AM on October 29, 2016. Participants gathered at the home of Mrs. Margaret, the woman who owns the land through which the spring flows. The first session started at the actual spring so that locals could learn about the construction project and how it would protect their water. After these on site lessons, community members gathered back at the home so that elderly participants could be comfortably seated.

1 kenya4591 training

There were not as many participants as expected because unfortunately, there were many funerals taking place in Simboyi Community. Despite this, 13 locals were able to make it thanks to the help and encouragement of local village elder, Mr. Javan Asava.

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.

2 kenya4591 training

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.

7 kenya4591 training

By the end of the three days, participants formed a water and sanitation 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.

The men and women who attended feel equipped to be good ambassadors of hygiene and sanitation among their neighbors. They plan on addressing open defecation by presenting its solution; they want to encourage their neighbors to build and use pit latrines. Beatrice Ifedha is one of these women filled with hope after three days of training on tangible ways to improve life for these families. She said, “We thank God for this favor. We have not only gotten a protected spring, but also been given free knowledge on its maintenance. The health and hygiene tips we learned today will go a long way in shaping our future, more so to the young people present today.”

6 kenya4591 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. We will continue to encourage these five families to build walls and roofs to protect their new platforms.

21 kenya4591 sanitation platform

Project Result: Spring Protection

Construction to protect Imbiru Spring began on October 11, 2016.

Before this could begin, the community had to gather the construction materials and labor needed to complete the project. They had to transport things like bricks, sand, and ballast to the spring site for our artisan. This was the most difficult part of the project. Imbiru Spring supplies two villages with the water they need, but these two places are home to people of very different cultures, religious beliefs, and politics. Simboyi’s elder, Mr. Javan, couldn’t get the help of the other community that uses the spring.

11 kenya4591 construction

After resource mobilization was finally complete, our artisan arrived to begin the process he has done in dozens of communities. First, he and local men clear the spring 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.

10 kenya4591 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.

14 kenya4591 construction

Elder Javan Asava had invested so much in this entire process and was overjoyed to see its success. “We sincerely thank God the project was a success! This spring is a life-giving water to many lives, both human beings and animals. Apart from giving direct help to the community around, pupils from Simboyi Primary School will also find safe and hygienic water to quench their thirst during the dry season should their water tank run dry,” he said. (Click here to view the project done at Simboyi Primary School!)

It was very exciting doing this project in such a vast community. Imbiru is one of the springs  with the highest number of direct beneficiaries that we’ve ever seen. It was hard choosing the five households out of 120 that would benefit from sanitation platforms. The village elder had to select those he thought neediest, but knew he was leaving some out that also needed the help.

The Water Project : 19-kenya4591-protected-spring

12/08/2016: Simboyi Community Project Underway

We are excited to share that work in Simboyi Community has begun. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Imbiru 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 Simboyi Community Thank You for giving the hope of clean water and good health.

The Water Project : 5-kenya4591-fetching-water

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Kenya, Vihiga, Kigama, Simboyi
ProjectID: 4591
Install Date:  01/16/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 03/31/2018

Visit History:
02/02/2017 — Functional
03/01/2017 — Functional
06/22/2017 — Functional
01/31/2018 — Functional
03/31/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Simboyi Community

December, 2017

Since the completion of the spring protection, there have been minimal cases of waterborne diseases among residents. People now know the best ways of treating water and now see the importance of using covers to cover their water containers.

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Imbiru Spring in Simboyi Village, 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 Jacqueline K. Shigali with you.

Ever since the spring protection, there have been hygiene, sanitation, and health improvements here. Latrines and hand-washing stations that were constructed last year are still well-maintained. Containers that are brought to get clean water are scrubbed out and have covers. People have also learned how to treat water for drinking so there are no stomachaches or diarrhea. Many others are still practicing composting, and everyone has a garbage pit.

Mr. Asava and Michelle fetching clean water from Imbiru Spring.

Jacqueline met Javan Asava at Imbiru Spring to talk about what’s happened over the past year. He told her, “Since the completion of the spring protection, there have been minimal cases of waterborne diseases among residents. People now know the best ways of treating water and now see the importance of using covers to cover their water containers. The spring is well protected and water cannot be easily contaminated. The spring has enabled us to save a lot of money that we initially spent at hospitals treating diseases we could have prevented.”

12-year-old Michelle Adema was at the spring, too. She added that “since this project, there is a lot of improvement in class attendance. We do not get sick like we used to. This spring has helped curb diarrhea cases in the community so that I am always in school and not visiting the hospital.”

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.

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.