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The Water Project: Shilakaya Community -  Woman Hanging Laundry
The Water Project: Shilakaya Community -  Girls Eating Termites
The Water Project: Shilakaya Community -  Household
The Water Project: Shilakaya Community -  Water Storage
The Water Project: Shilakaya Community -  Fish Pond By Spring
The Water Project: Shilakaya Community -  Current Water Source
The Water Project: Shilakaya Community -  Current Water Source
The Water Project: Shilakaya Community -  Community Members Fetching Water
The Water Project: Shilakaya Community -  Current Water Source
The Water Project: Shilakaya Community -  Current Water Source
The Water Project: Shilakaya Community -  Current Water Source

Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 490 Served

Project Phase:  Under Construction
Estimated Install Date (?):  05/31/2018

Project Features

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Community Profile

A normal day in Shilakaya begins early. Men get up to milk the cows and go straight to their sugarcane plantations. Women go to the spring to fetch water, get their children ready and off to school, and then does some cleaning chores. They then join the men who are already out working.


Shanamwevo Spring produces a ton of water and draws hundreds to rely on it. Community members have fixed banana fiber to where they found water emerging, making it easy to fill their containers. However, the yield is so huge that they have to wade through tons of water to fill those containers. Since this spring is unprotected, it is subjected to many different contaminants. Nonetheless, the water is used for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and irrigating when it doesn’t rain.

Poverty here is so high that there’s no water storage back home; most families have to keep the water they fetched in the same small container.

After drinking water from Shanamwevo Spring, community members contract waterborne diseases like typhoid. Children are especially susceptible and miss class for days at a time.


A little more than half of the families living around Shanamwevo Spring have a pit latrine. Those who do have not maintained them; they are falling apart and pose huge danger to the users. And since there isn’t full latrine coverage, open defecation is an issue.

Many households have helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines, but we need to continue to engage on hand-washing stations. Washing hands regularly and having a safe place to do so is one of the most efficient ways to stop the spread of germs.

Trash disposal is particularly poor, with no one really knowing how important it is to dig a pit for garbage.

Here’s what we plan to do about it:


Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least two days. This training will ensure participants have the knowledge they need 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. One of the most important topics we plan to cover is the handling, storage, and treatment of water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it’s consumed. Hand-washing will also be a big topic.

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. The fence will keep out destructive animals, and the drainage will keep the area’s mosquito population at a minimum.

Sanitation Platforms

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrine floors.

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 chosen for sanitation platforms 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.

Spring Protection

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. With the community’s high involvement in the process, there should be a good sense of responsibility and ownership for the new clean water source.

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.

This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water And Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (formatted and edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

02/23/2018: Shilakaya Community Project Underway

Shilakaya Community will soon have a clean, safe source of water thanks to your donation! Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Shanamwevo Spring, and contend with the consequences on a daily basis. 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 here. Please take some time to get to know your community through the narrative and pictures posted to this page. We look forward to reaching out again with good news!

The Water Project : 4-kenya18090-community-members-fetching-water

Project Photos

Project Type

Protected Spring

In many communities, natural springs exist as water flows from cracks in rocky ground or the side of a hill.  Springs provide reliable water but that doesn’t mean safe. When left open they become contaminated by surface contamination, animal and human waste and rain runoff. The solution is to protect the source. First, you excavate around the exact source area of the spring. Then, you build a protective reservoir for water flow, which leads to a concrete spring box and collection area. Safe water typically flows year-round and there is very limited ongoing maintenance needed!


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