Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Program: Kenyan Spring Protection

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2015

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/07/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water and Sanitation Forum. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).


This unprotected spring is located in Handidi village, Lubao sub-location, Kambiri location, Isukha north ward, Shinyalu sub-county and Kakamega County. The spring is serving a total population of 1008 individuals comprising of community members and pupils from Handidi primary school. It serves 208 community members from 24 households and a total of 384 boys and 402 girls in the school. Pupils of Handidi Primary school do not have access to safe drinking water in the school compound so they have to spend a lot of time going to draw water from the spring. [Since this report was posted, Handidi Primary School has received a new rainwater harvesting system to help provide clean water. To see that project, click here.]

(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.)

The water is used for drinking, cooking, watering animals and irrigation on the farms, especially during the dry period. The discharge from the spring is very good and does not dry during dry seasons when other sources are completely dry.


The community members reported that they have suffered from many cases of water borne diseases like typhoid, cholera and dysentery as a result of drinking water from this unprotected spring. Since the spring is unprotected, it is open to contamination by surface run off, people stepping into the water as they fetch, and animals that also drinking from it. A lot of time is also wasted by the women who have to wait for the water to settle before fetching.

Sanitation is also wanting as many people do not have latrines. This was evident with open defecation apparent around the site. Since the spring is unprotected, the faeces is washed into the water resulting in outbreaks of water borne diseases.

Hygiene practices are also poor amongst the community members with many people not washing their hands after toilet use. Many compounds were unclean. Few people had dish racks, clothlines and traditional bathrooms.

The community members are in dire need of support and are urging WEWASAFO to consider them and protect the spring so that they can reduce cases of water borne diseases and also reduce time wasted in order to engage in other economic activities.



The Community Health Workers training for Paulo spring was held at the land owner’s home for 2 days. Paulo spring is located in Handidi village, Lubao sub location, Kambiri location, Isukha North Ward of Shinyalu constituency.

The main objective of the training was to equip the Community Health workers form Paulo spring with relevant skills and knowledge on dissemination of good hygiene practices so as to reduce rates of Water borne diseases.

A total number of 13 people attended the training out of which 4 were males and 9 were females.

Climate setting

The training begun with a word of prayer by one of the participants. There after WEWASAFO staff welcomed all the participants to the trainings while thanking them of their commitment that they showed towards the project.

The owner of the home which was also the venue of the training thanked all the participants to his home. He also appreciated the project for considering providing them with safe water. Rev. David Kifude said that accessing safe water in the past had been a challenge as the water was not protected and this resulted to many people especially children suffering from water related diseases.

Everyone then introduced themselves while stating their names and their expectation from the workshop.

Objectives of training

The participants were led through the workshop objectives as follows:

1.    To enable participants to be resource persons in facilitation and dissemination of hygiene messages by use of participatory methods and approaches

2.    Increase and equip participants with knowledge of hygiene promotion activities.

Chain of contamination

Participants were taken through this lesson with an aim of helping them identify chains of contamination that result in water related diseases

It also assisted them in identifying good hygiene practices that they need to adopt in order to reduce spread of water borne diseases.

Group presentations

Group one came up with the following as the routes/chain of contamination;

- Using the bush instead of the toilet

- Living in a dirty environment

- Not washing hands after toilet use and before eating

- Drinking contaminated water

- Not cooking food well

Group two had this as their answers to chain of contamination;

- Eating food without washing hands with soap

- Using bushes near water sources as latrines

- Eating cold food

- Drinking water that is not treated

- Not covering food

Good hygiene practices that reduce spread of water related diseases:

- Avoid using bushes as latrines especially close to the water sources

- Covering cooked food

- Treating drinking water

- Washing hands after every toilet use and before eating

Methods of Prevention

In order to prevent or reduce spread of water related diseases, Participants agreed on the following:

- Hands should be washed after toilet use, before eating, after changing the child’s nappy and after eating

- Treat drinking water before use by either boiling, using water guard, life straw, chlorination, filtration, e.t.c, if not obtained from a known safe source.

- Stopping the practice of open defecation

- Covering food to protect from contamination by flies

- Cooking food until its well cooked

Water related diseases
From the chains of contamination the facilitator brainstormed on the water diseases that may result from the contamination routes and the participants listed them as follows:

- Typhoid

- Dysentery

- Bilharzias

- Diarrhea

- Amoeba

- Skin infection

Water Handling

Participants in two groups were assigned to discuss:-

1.    The ways in which water is contaminated at the spring, on the way and at the source.

2.    Prevention of contamination at the three critical points

Contamination at the spring:

- Washing and bathing at the spring

- Farming activities close to spring

- Animals grazing at spring

- Locating latrines near the water source

- Soil erosion

Prevention of Contamination at the spring:

- Avoid washing and bathing at the spring.

- Avoid farming activities close to the spring

- Prevent animals from grazing at the water spring

- Avoid locating latrines close to the water sources

- Keep drainage channels clear

- Clean the spring regularly

Contamination on the way:

- Dipping dirty hands in the water container

- Carrying water in uncovered containers

- Putting leaves in the water containers

- Delaying  water on the way home

Prevention of Contamination on the way:

- Do not delay water on the way

- Avoid dipping hands in water while carrying

- Cover water containers

- Do not dip leaves in the water containers

Contamination in the home:

- Not covering the water containers

- Storing water in dirty container/environments

- Overstaying water in the containers

Prevention of Contamination in the home:

- Cover water containers

- Avoid keeping water for long, storing for three days at most.

- Avoid storing water in a dirty environment

- Store water in clean containers and make sure its covered.

- Keep water inside the house

Role of hygiene promoters

The facilitator helped the participants to appreciate and understand their role in hygiene promotion and they defined their roles as:

-  Make at least 10 home visits within their villages
-  Spring visits
-  Attend public meetings
-  Visiting churches
-  Visiting Health centers

During home visits they were to educate the community on having:
-  Dish racks
-  Compost pits
-  Cloth lines
-  Clean latrines
-  Bathrooms
-  Drain stagnant waters
-  Nutrition and diet
-  Family planning /Immunization
-  HIV/AIDS awareness

During spring visits they were to be aware and advise the community on the:
-  Status of the spring
-  Farming activities around the spring
-  The rate of disease decrease
-  Spring management, conservation and protection.

Workshop Evaluation

Participants using an evaluation questionnaire evaluated the training and stated they had learned a lot and realized that water related diseases are caused by common practices that people ignore.

They requested more time next time so that they could have more time for sharing experiences.

Closing remarks

One of the trained community health workers thanked WEWASAFO on behalf of the others for the training and they promised to work together and put into practice what they had learned so that they could reduce water borne diseases.

Betty Majani, the WASH officer, thanked the participants for attending the training and called upon them to take what they have learned with the seriousness that it deserves so as to reduce water borne diseases.

Meeting ended with word of prayer from one of the participants.

Project Updates

August, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Jonah Kanyanga

This post is part of a new series by The Water Project meant to highlight the perspectives and experiences of the people we serve and how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting them. We invite you to read more of their stories here.

Jonah Eric Mwere Kanyanga, or Jonah Kanyanga for short, is a 70-year-old retired pastor from Handidi where he and his family rely on Paulo Spring for all of their daily water needs.

Jonah Eric Mwere Kanyanga

Our team recently visited Handidi to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point. Shortly after, we returned to check in on the community, offer a COVID-19 refresher training, and ask how the pandemic is affecting their lives.

It was during this most recent visit that Jonah shared his story of how the coronavirus has impacted her his life.

Field Officer Karen Maruti met Jonah outside his home to conduct the interview. Both Karen and Jonah observed social distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. The following is Jonah's story, in his own words.

Jonah reflects on how his community has changed since the protection of Paulo Spring, and how they are dealing with the coronavirus using clean spring water and lessons learned from our team's COVID-19 sensitization training.

"The water point has served many people apart from the families around here. The spring has also supported the Victorious Children's Home, Friends Church Handidi, and the Handidi Market Center. The spring does not dry during the dry season, hence we normally have water throughout the year.

The water is clean and has reduced waterborne diseases that families suffered in the past such as stomachaches and typhoid. The community also has great confidence to drink it, using it for cooking and washing since it's very clean. Finally, our hygiene standards have tremendously improved due to water availability.

Jonah fetches water from Paulo Spring while other community member observe social distancing to wait in line.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in this village, your team enlightened the community members to wash their hands all the time with soap. The beneficiaries are easily washing their hands due to water availability and almost every home has improvised a leaky tin for handwashing. They are also maintaining personal and general hygiene and latrines are also kept clean.

We now observe the social distance rule at the spring and only 1 beneficiary at a time is allowed to fetch water, unlike in the past when women and children would go in groups to fetch water as they socialize. Luckily for us, the discharge is high thus there is no time-wasting.

Jonah fetches water from 1 of the 2 discharge pipes at Paulo Spring.

The corona pandemic has really affected my family at large. Most of my family members live in Nairobi and the lockdown has created family detachment as they are not able to travel and come home. 2 of my sons and their wives have lost their jobs amidst this pandemic and thus cannot pay rent and buy food. This has called for our support to them, though it is not sufficient as we are also struggling. They also fear going to the hospital now due to fear of contracting the virus as they have to use public vehicles that do not observe social distancing or wearing masks.

Jonah at home with his wife and daughter.

I am also on a schedule for personal clinic treatments that I normally go to Kisumu (a nearby city) for on a monthly basis, but this has been postponed for the last 3 months since the outbreak of corona. I've been doing phone consultations instead, which are not as an efficient diagnosis as face to face doctor-patient visits.

We are now observing social distancing by not going to crowds in markets, funerals, or church. We also wash our hands with soap all the time, and of course, we can't leave the house before wearing a mask.

Jonah demonstrates how he puts on his mask at the refresher training.

We were excited to see the curfew restrictions lifted as most of our people run small businesses that get busy and customers come in the evening hours. So this has added more hours for selling, thus earning extra income.

We look forward to the government lifting the lockdown restrictions so that we can engage with our families who are in Nairobi. Regarding the ban of going to church, as a pastor, I can tell you that the closure of churches has really affected the spiritual status of our members and in turn, their families. Children staying at home has been a nightmare to the parents as controlling teenagers at home has not been easy...We look forward to schools reopening soon."

Jonah washes his hands with soap and water from Paulo Spring using the leaky tin handwashing station he set up outside his home.

Note: Since Jonah's interview, some churches have been allowed to reopen while following preventative measures, while the Kenyan president announced that primary and secondary schools will not reopen until at least January 2021.

When asked where he receives information about COVID-19, Jonah listed the radio, television, newspaper, loudspeaker/megaphone announcements, word of mouth, and our team's sensitization training.

What has been the most valuable part of the COVID-19 sensitization training you received from our team?

"The COVID-19 training has been helpful in understanding the facts about Corona and clearing the myths. People are now washing hands with soap more, wearing masks, and observing social distancing. Together with these measures, we shall overcome Corona."

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Handidi Community, Paulo 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 Jacky shows how to use the elbow for coughing

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 Handidi, Kenya.

We trained more than 29 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Due to public gathering concerns, before there were any cases in the area 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.

Homemade mask tutorial

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 session

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.

Teaching the 10 steps of handwashing

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.

Standing with the installed prevention reminders chart at the spring

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.

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.

A participant reads the informational pamphlet on COVID-19

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.

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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!


Project Sponsor - St. Therese Foundation