Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/04/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

It's about 7am and women are seen streaming to their spring to fetch water. Since the spring is located among the sugarcane plantations where visibility is low, these women fear walking to the spring when it's early and still dark.

One could count at least 20 different yellow jerrycans strewn around the spring area as women wait their turn in line. At this point, conflicts arise as the women who feel they've been waiting the longest are cut off by newcomers.

By 10am, the line at the spring subsides as women deliver their water back home to start their chores. More trips to the spring are required throughout the day as they cook for their families, water their gardens, and water their animals.

Men spend most of the day tending to sugarcane farms, working to get enough crop to sell to the local sugar factories.

There are at least 720 community members currently relying on dirty water from Wambutsi Spring. (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.)


Wambutsi Spring is the main water source for hundreds living in this area, which explains the long lines witnessed throughout the morning. Its water is used for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and irrigation. Containers are dunked right under the water's surface.

If the spring hasn't been used for a while, a little work needs to be done to clear algae and debris from the surface.

This water is completely open to contamination from the surrounding sugarcane plantations, from human and animal activities, and many other kinds of waste. After drinking this water, community members contend with waterborne diseases like typhoid.

"Each and every day the nightmare of water becomes greater and greater, especially on the rainy days as the water is completely dirty and we cannot fetch. Personally, my family has suffered attacks from typhoid twice this year and it's very costly. Spending over 3,000 shillings on treatment is no joke for us," Mrs. Lorna Wambutsi said.


Less than half of households have their own pit latrine. Most of these are made from mud, old sugar sacks, and tree leaves. Those who don't have their own latrine first borrow their neighbor's latrine, or else seek the privacy of bushes. Just a couple of these same families have a container of water for handwashing.

There are other tools like dish racks and clotheslines for drying belongings, but the majority of clothes and dishes are spread on the dirty ground.

Here’s what we’re going 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 (edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

October, 2019: Giving Update: Chebwayi B Community, Wambutsi Spring

A year ago, your generous donation helped Chebwayi B Community in Kenya access clean water.

There’s an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water at Wambutsi Spring in Chebwayi B. Month after month, their giving supports ongoing sustainability programs that help this community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Read more…

October, 2018: Chebwayi B Community Project Complete

Chebwayi Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Wambutsi Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of 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.

Spring Protection

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, including bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, fencing poles and gravel. It took a lot of encouragement on the part of our staff to get enough people to help our artisan protect this spring.

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.

As the wing walls and headwall cured, 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 stones and sand and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination.

The concrete dried over the course of two weeks as community members built a fence around the area to protect it from wild animals.

"On behalf of the community members, we are privileged to have a new water point that we have been longing for. We promise to take care of it!" Rose John said.

"We promise that we are going to use this clean water to use this clean water to put up a fish pond that is going to be our source of income," Grace Eric said.

"Our lives will not be the same again, never full of poverty."

Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed and make wonderful, easy to clean latrine floors. 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.

New Knowledge

We started planning for hygiene and sanitation training as we supervised spring protection construction. As community members worked alongside our artisan, we told them that we also intended to train them about how the spring works and how to best care for it.

It was a hot day when we met together on the grassy path that leads to the spring. By the time our first activity began, we had attracted 15 community members who were ready to learn. They seated themselves on the grass, and we handed out new notebooks and pens.

We covered several topics including but not limited to leadership and governance (participants started a water and sanitation committee); operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; the spread of disease and prevention. We also covered water treatment methods, personal care like handwashing, environmental hygiene, and hygiene promotion. These participants will become ambassadors of healthy living among their own families and their greater community.

As we were training on dental care, one of the participants by the name Rose John told us that she uses a stick to brush her teeth. She has had this stick for at least one and a half years! We advised her to be changing this out after three to six months for her own good health.

The session on spring management was held at Wambutsi Spring. Participants were taken through the importance of digging drainage trenches, fencing the spring, and banned practices - there should be no latrines nearby, nor farming activities.

When we first told people they couldn't farm nearby, they seemed quite stubborn. But after explaining the effects of farming on their water quality, they promised to follow our advice. This training encouraged community members to take charge, protect their resources, and ensure that clean water flows for generations to come.

June, 2018: Preparations in Chebwayi B Community

Everyone in Chebwayi Community is excited for the construction of their spring protection. However, the field officers and local leaders have agreed that now is not the right time for construction to begin. Instead, the artisans and trainers will arrive over the next couple of months. Thank you for your patience as we continue at a pace that's right for the families living here.

We're always open to further discussing our process and answering your questions. And, if you get a notice like this – it’s actually further proof your gifts are being carefully used towards a water project that lasts.

May, 2018: Chebwayi B Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Wambutsi Spring is making people in Chebwayi B 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 Videos

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: Chebwayi B Community, Wambutsi Spring

October, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Chebwayi B Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Nipher Wambutsi. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Chebwayi B Community, Wambutsi 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!

There have been significant achievements and changes as a result of Wambutsi Spring's protection and the other WaSH projects in Chebwayi B Community since their completion last year.

Progress was evident in the well-kept homesteads with dishracks and clotheslines seen as we walked down to the spring - 2 essential tools to help promote hygiene and sanitation that we coached this community on last year during their training. This is evidence that they have taken these topics to heart and mean to improve their situation.

"I am grateful to you...for protecting our spring," said the secretary of the water committee Mrs. Nipher Wambutsi.

"In the past, it used to be a big open hole that was risky for our children, especially during the rainy seasons. On the other hand, [the] water used to get contaminated. In this community cases of stomachaches in the families were rampant."

"After protection, this is minimal and as we shared with other women, [the] majority also testified of the same [results]. The spring is also now safe to send our children even during the rainy seasons. Thanks again and God bless you."

Agnes washes her hands in the spring water

6-year-old Agnes Tom, a pupil at nearby St. Martins Academy who lives with her family in Chebwayi B, also reflected on how the spring protection has impacted her life over the last year.

"I used to fear to come to draw water from the spring when it was unprotected. It used to be a very big hole that [was] also slippery during the rainy season and one time my little brother fell in the hole. But since [you] protected the spring, they put for us nice steps to go down and I no longer fear to come to fetch water even when it's raining," said Agnes while smiling.

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 Chebwayi B Community, Wambutsi 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 Chebwayi B Community, Wambutsi 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.