Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 465 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/14/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

Ivulugulu Village is located in Kakamega County, Kenya. It is home for 465 people from 42 different households. The day begins at 6am with children preparing for school and their parents doing household chores. Once children are seen out the door, their parents disperse to farms, markets, and businesses to earn a living. Many others travel in search of manual labor jobs that put them on farms or construction teams.


Ishangwela Spring is a main source of water for these people, who use it to meet their drinking, cooking, and cleaning needs.

People dunk their jerrycans and buckets under the surface until full. It's used up right when delivered back home, which means that next time water's needed, a woman or child is back at Ishangwela Spring fetching more.

This water is contaminated, and gets even worse after heavy rains - which wash dirt and debris down slopes and right into the spring. After drinking this water, community members often suffer from diarrhea, headaches, and stomachaches - if they can afford treatment at a clinic, they'll learn they have typhoid.


At least 10 households don't have their own pit latrine - and opt to go outside behind bushes and trees when nobody else is around. We checked out the latrines that others have, and found that many of these are dangerous for their users. The floors are made of logs which are hard to clean and susceptible to rot. When that happens, it's not unheard of for a person to fall through the floor into the pit. This community not only needs more latrines, but they need safer ones.

There are a handful of hand-washing stations and other helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines - but there's a big need for more.

Mrs. Sheba Atuta told us, "The health of this community is in a state of imbalance due to shortage of clean drinking and insufficient sanitation facilities. There is ongoing open defecation among people who lack latrines. Besides, most of the pit latrines just have logs as the slab, and they are smelly and full of flies."

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 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 inform the community about what they need to contribute to make the construction for this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, such as bricks, clean sand, hardcore, and ballast. All community members must work together to make sure that accommodations and food are always provided for the work teams.

Finally, a committee will be formed that oversees operations and maintenance at the spring. They will enforce proper behavior and delegate tasks that will help preserve the water point, such as building a fence and digging proper drainage.

Sanitation Platforms

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrine floors. The five families must prepare by sinking a pit for the sanitation platforms to be placed over.

Spring Protection

Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water, which means the water will be safe, clean, and adequate.

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

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ivulugulu Community, Ishangwela 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.

Reviewing 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 Ivulugulu, Kenya.


We trained more than 13 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.

Practicing handwashing steps

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.


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.

Homemade mask tutorial

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.

A young girl receives the sample mask made at training

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.

Trying on her mask made at training

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.

Building a new tippy tap handwashing station

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.

July, 2019: Giving Update: Ivulugulu Community, Ishangwela Spring

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to protect Ishangwela Spring for Ivulugulu Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories. Read more…

May, 2018: Ivulugulu Community Project Complete

Ivulugulu Community now has clean water! Ishangwela Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of clean water thanks to your donation. The spring is protected from contamination, five sanitation platforms have been provided for the community, and training has been done on sanitation and hygiene.

New Knowledge

We started telling people about the importance of good hygiene and sanitation as soon as we set foot in Ivulugulu. The village elder and Mrs. Sheba Atuta went around their community inviting everyone to attend these sessions. We were happy to find 20 community members who opted to sacrifice valuable time on their farms for information that can benefit them in the long run.

Mrs. Sheba Atuta offered up her spacious yard for training. Most participants sat on wooden chairs, while others found a comfortable sitting place on rocks or soft grass. A moderate amount of sunshine provided vitamin D that was enjoyed as the training went on.

There was a lady who had just gotten married and moved to this village from Central Kenya, and she did not understand the native language. She only knew her mother tongue, which no other person but her husband could understand. There were also two old women in the group could not understand Kiswahili.

After a lengthy discussion, it was agreed that the training should be carried out in the native language, Luhya. The new bride still wanted to attend training and just observe the practical sessions. Then, later on, she would learn every detail from her husband who was one of the other participants.

We covered several topics including 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 like solar disinfection, personal care like handwashing, environmental hygiene, hygiene promotion, and many other things. Since we were near the spring, we could run through hands-on management and maintenance demonstrations.

Learning about how to keep clean water flowing!

They most enjoyed the demonstrations for brushing teeth and were surprised at how many little things they had been doing wrong. Since they had already been helping the artisan around the spring, they were particularly interested in learning about all the routine chores they should do to care for their new clean water source. It was obvious they've already taken great responsibility for the success of this project.

Mr. Patrick Lumumba is a retired teacher who found training particularly enlightening.

"I count myself blessed," he said during the training.

"Even though I'm a learned person, I was never taught what we have learned here today in school or college. This kind of information is very rare, and I wish I got it earlier. It has come when most of my teeth have been extracted and I've suffered a lot of health challenges due to ignorance," he continued.

"However, I will start practicing all that we have been taught here and my household will learn the same from me. Do the same for yourself and your household so that we be healthy people!"

The training has already brought about positive changes in the village. People have already dug a drainage system above their water source to prevent contamination when it floods. Many homes now have dish racks, clotheslines, and have improvised handwashing facilities. Their compounds are very tidy.

Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed. These five families are happy about this milestone of having a private latrine of their own and are optimistic that people will no longer leave waste outdoors. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

Thumbs up for a safe latrine floor that's easy to clean!

Spring Protection

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, fencing poles and gravel. Accommodations and meals were provided for the artisan, too. Men and women lent their strength to the artisan to help him with manual labor. The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of polyethylene, wire mesh and concrete. After the base had been set, both wing walls and the headwall were set in place using brickwork. The discharge pipe was fixed low in place through the headwall to direct the water from the reservoir to the drawing area.

Excavation to make way for a stable foundation.

As the wing walls and headwall were curing, the stairs were set and ceramic tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. This protects the concrete from the erosive force of the falling water and beautifies the spring. The process of plastering the headwall and wing walls on both sides reinforces the brickwork and prevents water from the reservoir from seeping through the walls and allows pressure to build in the collection box to push water up through the discharge pipe.

The source area was filled up with clean hardcore and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination.

Different layers protect the flowing water from contamination.

Since this is normally a very muddy area, people would often slip, fall, and suffer injuries when going back and forth to fetch water. The artisan advised community members to help him do some extra work for this spring protection project - to collect a lot of extra stones to be arranged around the spring. This has kept the surrounding area much drier and tidier, free from mosquitoes and mud.

Everyone in the village, even those from the neighboring villages, can now easily get clean water from Ishangwela Spring!

Mr. Geoffrey Amara was one of the first people there.

"I no longer have to carry a tin around to use for drawing water because fetching water is now very easy. I just place my container under the discharge pipe then the water falls in until it's full! Getting to the drawing area has also been made easy and comfortable by the staircases and stones arranged in the route leading to, and the area surrounding our spring," he said.

March, 2018: Ivulugulu Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Ishangwela Spring is making people in Ivulugulu Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know your community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

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!

Giving Update: Ivulugulu Community, Ishangwela Spring

July, 2019

A year ago, you funded a spring protection at Ivulugulu Community in Kenya – creating a life-changing moment for Dora Mukabi. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Ivulugulu Community, Ishangwela Spring.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ivulugulu Community, Ishangwela Spring maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

Ivulugulu community members have now been accessing clean and safe water since the protection of Ishangwela Spring a little over a year ago. On one of our recent, routine field visits, we learned how cases of water-related diseases have decreased, especially among children. This, in turn, has improved the economic development of Ivulugulu since more of adults' time is spent on more constructive work instead of on taking care of sick children.

The community seems to have taken all of the training topics seriously, as they have put in practice all that they were taught. The hygiene and sanitation trainings in particular had a positive impact as evidenced by the clean and well-maintained spring. Community members have also installed tippy taps near their latrines in order to promote proper handwashing at a highly critical point.

Mrs. Dora Mukabi, a caretaker in Ivulugulu, shared with us how the protection of Ishangwela Spring has had a ripple effect of impact across her community, and beyond it.

Dora and Lewi

"I used to take [a] long [time] to get water from the unprotected spring, but now it is faster and easier. During the training, we learned how to take good care of ourselves and [the] environment. and since then we have put everything into practice that we learned."

"Consequently, the community members are strong and energetic as they hardly get sick. We have also taken upon ourselves to educate people from other communities, because we were also trained for free.

Christine and Lewi

7-year-old Lewi Anjawa had something to say as well when asked how this project has changed his life.

Lewi flashes a smile

"I enjoy drinking water from our protected spring because it is clean and tasty. [This is] unlike before, when I could go for days without taking water because it was dirty."

Field Officer Christine, Dora, and Lewi are all smiles at Ishangwela Spring

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ivulugulu Community, Ishangwela Spring maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Ivulugulu Community, Ishangwela Spring – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


1 individual donor(s)