Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 168 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/11/2023

Project Features

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Several families living in Luyeshe go to Matolo Spring for their water. The water is very dirty and even has algae growing on the surface. Containers are dunked under the water until full.

After discussions with community members, we learned that there's no knowledge of water treatment here. People are drinking this water without treatment, and they are getting very sick.

"Every week someone has to fall sick due to drinking dirty water. Therefore, we spend a lot of money to buy drugs and also go to the hospital for treatment. I feel sorry for my grandchildren who are the most affected since their immunity is low. We can't wait for our spring to be protected so that we can access clean and safe water," shared Reuben Matolo, a 79-year-old farmer and resident living closest to the spring.

Luyeshe is situated in the rural part of Malava Constituency, a peaceful place to be away from noisy urban centers. People here plant sweet potatoes, sugarcane, maize, bananas, cassava, arrowroot, and other vegetables. Most buildings are made of mud with iron sheets for roofs.

An average day starts as early as 5:30am when women wake up to prepare their children for school by making breakfast. Men spend their days looking for an income through casual labor at the sugar factory or farming.

Women are seen as most responsible for their family's hygiene and water-related activities. She starts the day by cleaning up around the house and rushing to the spring to fetch water. In fact, most women must make several trips to the spring, chatting with each other as they carry water. Between making meals throughout the day, women work in their garden kitchen or farm.

Once children return from school, they are able to help their mothers fetch more water. People retire to bed around 8:30pm since there is no electricity in the village.

Only half of the households have their own latrines, so many families are sharing with their neighbor. Most of these are overused and smelly, nor is there any water around to for someone to wash up after.

What we can do:


"Most homes in this area are dirty, and people do not understand the importance of good hygiene practices," divulged Bilhah Vulenywa Matolo.

"Some people don't take a bath for days and this has led to people becoming sick frequently. We need to be trained on improved hygiene and proper sanitation in order to improve our health standards."

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. Handwashing 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

"I have been drinking water from this spring all my life and I never knew that the spring could be protected to provide clean water until I visited my nephew where he had protected his spring," said Mr. Matolo.

"I admired the way it was built since it looked beautiful and the water coming from the inserted pipe is very clean. I asked him how he managed to do all that as it seemed expensive to construct, and he told me that he only contributed local materials (sand and stones) and the rest of the cost was taken care of by the organization. I have already collected the materials and I am waiting for you to come and protect our spring. I hope you will not let me down. God bless you for the good work you are doing for the communities.''

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.

Project Updates

December, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Rose Nasenya

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.

Our team recently visited Luyeshe to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point, Matolo Spring. 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 Rose Nasenya, a 20-year-old student, shared her story of how the coronavirus is impacting her life and her community.

Rose Nasenya outside her family's home

Field Officer Lillian Achieng' met Rose outside Rose's family's home to conduct the interview. Both Lillian and Rose observed physical distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. The following is Rose's story, in her own words.

What is one thing that has changed in your community since the completion of the water project?

"Hygiene has improved in our community since the installation of this water point. Community members can regularly wash their clothes and other things."

Rose gives the calf a fresh drink from the spring

How has having a clean water point helped you through the pandemic so far?

"We have been able to wash hands often. The water is free so we don't spend during these hard economic times."

Rose washes her hands at home

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Kenya, has fetching water changed for you because of restrictions, new rules, or your concerns about the virus?

"There has been no change since our spring is not crowded and many community members have taken advantage of the rainwater since the past months have been rainy. This enables everyone to fetch water without fear of crowding or getting infected with COVID-19."

Fetching water at Matolo Spring

How has COVID-19 impacted your family?

"My grandparents are old, thus being so vulnerable to COVID-19. Some people will visit and won't bother sanitizing or washing hands and won't be putting on masks. This endangers my grandparents' lives. My cousin lost his job due to COVID-19 and so he had to come back home to stay here with us. This stretches the budget of my old grandparents, whom we depend on."

Rose and her home in the doorway to their home

What other challenges are you experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

"Education has been affected. I am a student who has been at home for a long time now and I have lost so much academically. Businesses have gone down and the prices of goods have really gone up. Some families can't afford the sanitizers and even the simple soap, making it hard for them to wash their hands effectively. Transportation has become a challenge since the transport fare has been doubled."

Masked up

What hygiene and sanitation steps have you and your community taken to stop the spread of the virus?

"My community members have tried as much as they can to see every home has a leaky tin with water to wash hands. From the training we received, many have embraced mask making and the wearing of the same. Social distancing is practiced at funerals in my community since viewing of the body and attending of the burial is nowadays programmed."

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Luyeshe Community, Matolo 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.

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 Luyeshe, Kenya.

We trained more than 12 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Before there were any reported cases in the area, we worked with trusted community leaders and the Water User Committee to gather community members for the training.

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.

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.

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.

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.

October, 2019: Giving Update: Luyeshe Community, Matolo Spring

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

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

December, 2018: Luyeshe Community, Matolo Spring Project Complete

Luyeshe Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Matolo 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.

Matolo Spring was supposed to be implemented in 2019, but when one of the other springs this year couldn’t be finished, Matolo Spring was proposed as the best candidate. Community members living around Matolo were so excited about a project that they had already gathered all of the extra sand and stones our artisan would need.

When we informed Mr. Reuben Matolo that their spring would be protected in November 2018 and not next year, he could not hide his joy.

"When you came for the survey, I wished you could protect our spring immediately because I was tired of my family and I falling ill frequently because of consuming contaminated water. The hospital bills were too much not only for my family but for other community members too," reflected Mr. Matolo.

"My prayers were answered. Thank you for considering Matolo Spring for protection. Continue doing this great work for other community members too, so that they can benefit from this worthy cause and access clean and safe water," he continued.

"Seeing clean water flowing from our protected spring is a dream come true for me. Thank you for fulfilling my wish at this old age of 78 years. Nothing can describe how excited I am! God bless you abundantly."

New Knowledge

Mrs. Bilha Vulenywa is our main contact in Luyeshe. We called her about the importance of holding a hygiene and sanitation training in her community, and asked her to notify everyone who draws water from Matolo Spring about this opportunity.

Community members turned out in large numbers. Due to the scorching heat of the sun, we decided to hold sessions under shady trees by the spring. Everyone was active and eager to learn, asking and answering questions about each topic.

We handed out notebooks and pens so that people could write down or draw the new things they learned.

Several topics were covered during the training, such as personal and environmental hygiene, common local diseases and their prevention, and care of the water point. The ten steps of handwashing were demonstrated, along with demonstrations for dental hygiene and water treatment.

Participants most enjoyed learning about dental hygiene and how to better save money for their families. Participants were taught how to brush their teeth and when to brush. They were also taught the consequences of poor oral hygiene. There is a lady who said she had been using her toothbrush for the last two years. After learning that a toothbrush should be replaced after every three months, she said she was going to buy a new toothbrush that very day.

"Most people in our community have not been taking cleanliness of their bodies and environment seriously because they didn't know the importance," admitted Mr. Nelson Makhambala.

"But through the training, they are better informed about the negative results of poor hygiene and sanitation practices. Our village's hygiene standards will improve drastically and we will also teach everything that we have learned to other community members who couldn't make it to the training."

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 latrine of their own. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

Spring Protection

Construction at Matolo Spring was successful and water is now flowing from the discharge pipe.

"Before protection of this spring, some people could come with dirty containers and dip in the water source as they fetch water without caring about other users. Since it was open it was prone to contamination from human and animal activities. There was a time when a dog fell in and died in the water source! We were devastated but since we didn't have an alternative water source, we just removed it and continued using the water," remembered Jane Akamo.

"Now we don't have to worry about all these because the spring is protected and water that flows from the pipe is clean and safe for use."

The Process:

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, and gravel. Community members also hosted our artisans for the duration of construction.

Sand that the community delivered to be used for mixing cement.

The spring area was excavated with jembes, hoes, and spades to create space for setting the foundation of polyethylene, wire mesh, and concrete.

Men working with our artisan to create a level foundation for the spring protection.

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 five days. With this spring now handed over to the community, we will continue to follow up with the water user committee to make sure everything runs smoothly. They have already fenced in the spring area and plan to plant grass to prevent erosion.

As soon as the construction process was done, the community members were allowed to start fetching clean water from the protected spring. They were delighted to see clean water flowing from the pipe!

October, 2018: Timbito Project Moving to Neighboring Community

After a few delays, our field officers decided it necessary to construct a spring protection in a community that is fully willing to cooperate with each other and our organization. There were disagreements and challenges in Timbito, so we have asked their village leadership to submit a new application when everyone is fully prepared to work united on a project.

We were recommended to a nearby spring in Luyeshe Community. The people there have been drinking dirty water from Matolo Spring, and are so excited about this project that they've already gathered some sand to mix with our cement.

Please take a moment to read the new information and pictures posted about Luyeshe Community, and do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.

August, 2018: Scheduling for Timbito Community Spring Protection

Everyone in Timbito Community is excited about their new spring protection. Timing is very important as we ensure that everyone is ready for these big changes. The field officers and local leaders have agreed that the right time for construction and training will be over these next few months. We had previously scheduled this project for August but have modified that date to reflect the planning change made by the team. Thank you for standing with us as we continue work in Timbito.

We're always open to conversation about our process and are happy to answer 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: Work Starting in Timbito Community

Dirty water from Katamba Spring is making people in Timbito 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.

Giving Update: Luyeshe Community, Matolo Spring

October, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Luyeshe Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Bilha Matolo. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Luyeshe Community 3.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Luyeshe Community 3 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!

Bilha Matolo is the secretary of her community's water committee that looks after Matolo Spring in Luyeshe. On our most recent visit there, we asked Bilha to reflect on how the protection of Matolo Spring has impacted her life and the lives of her neighbors over the last 12 months.

"The changes that have occurred since last year are many. [The first is] having clean and safe water for all my people. This was something we did not have before the spring was protected and this is the major change we have."

"My fellow women are seen busy in their farms producing food for they now have time which was lost in taking care of sickly children and also a lot of time was wasted at the spring. Since the project was completed, all these are unheard of."

"We used to have noise every now and then from women fighting over getting clean water for if you come after someone else then you will get dirty water. This is no more for we have clean and safe water which you can access anytime."

Field Officer Jemmimah Khasoha with Bilha Matolo at the spring

17-year-old Yvonne Evayo, a student and community member in Luyeshe, also shared her powerful thoughts about the project.

"My life has changed greatly in many ways, but more specific in [the] health sector. [I had] been having stomach problems and when I went to [the] hospital [I] was diagnosed [with] typhoid and amoeba. These two come from dirty water and uncleanliness, maybe [from] taking food that is not good."

"My education was deteriorating every month but since this group came in I see great improvement. No more drugs [for illness] as initially, no stomach pains and more of my time is spent on books. I get water from the spring in less than 2 minutes, get home, finish with the house chores, then embark on serious business."

"During the training, we were taught how to balance the tasks and the responsibility we have for us to be successful and this is indeed what is happening. This is the greatest lesson I learned and that is benefiting [me] since then."

Yvonne Evayo at the spring

Bilha and Yvonne were interviewed by Field Officer Jemmimh Khasoha, who shared the following report with us reflecting on her visit and interviews:

"The lives of the people of Luyeshe Community have greatly improved in the past year in various ways as follows: The major change seen was the clean and vegetated farm with all types of vegetables. The spring owner explained that since the training was done, she has seen her farming techniques grow better and house chores balanced for they were educated [on how to do this]. Provision of the clean, safe, and sufficient water protected enables them to water their plants even during the dry season. This has enabled them to have food throughout the year.

Yvonne with a friend at the spring

The general homesteads are well kept in tidy and clean shape. Many have dishracks, clotheslines, compost pits, and have trimmed the long grass and the bushes within. This shows that the training was well mastered and what was learned put into practice.

This group is very organized and articulation of issues is good. When the interview was conducted, they would refer that during the training we were told this and that - this sent the signal that it is a group which is good.

One lady that is Matolo has taken the initiative of educating her fellow community members farming techniques for she has changed her farm to be a demo plot. She calls them and teaches them how to plant drought-resistant crops like sweet potatoes which will help them eradicate poverty. She explains that she has schooled children from this farming and she is proud to see other women work the same.

Bilha Matolo's demonstration garden with intercropped vegetables

Some of the crops she plants like the sweet potatoes, which are orange-fleshed, have various advantages. These are that the leaves are used as vegetables, the potatoes themselves can be boiled and taken with tea, they can be crated and dried to produce flour for porridge or making chapati. All these are ways and methods of eradicating poverty, refusing malnutrition in children and also a way of earning income.

This is very good for the implementation of this spring brought peace, unity, and ensuring all these are done. It is a good group where learning exchange programs can be arranged to help many others within this locality."

Jemmimah, Yvonne, and Bilha

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 Luyeshe Community 3 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 Luyeshe Community 3 – 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.


White Oaks Secondary School (Graduating Class of 2008)
State Farm Companies Foundation
The Sanchez Family Fund
Hinsdale Eye Center-In honor of Dr. Neha Iyengar
Weil Aquatronics
Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore Troop 4836
Beth Hanson
Reframe Leadership
Bernardo Mfg
Sigma Sigma Chi
Bounce Treatment Services
Faith Chapel
Diana Karpavage, LCPC
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Rockwell's Campaign for Water
Red Bank Elementary's Campaign for Water
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78 individual donor(s)