Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 280 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/12/2024

Project Features

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Report Update: Field Officer Jacklyne has been making constant visits to Handidi in preparation for training and spring protection. This last visit, she made a surprising discovery. The landowner of Mwangu Spring took a shortcut and attempted to build a spring protection system for himself. Jacklyne reports that the results of his efforts are not up to our standard, and so the people of Handidi have come forward with an alternative spring. Once the owner of Mwangu Spring is open to greater cooperation, we will consider rebuilding his spring protection.

A normal day in Handidi Village is quite similar to the neighboring communities that practice sugarcane farming. Men wake up early in the morning, milk the cows, and then go to the sugarcane farm.

Women are left with the responsibility of preparing the children to go to school and then embark to carry out house chores that begins with going to the spring to fetch water.

They travel a short distance to the unprotected Mwangu Spring. Community members have reported having contracted waterborne diseases from the water due to the fact that it is open to contamination.

"Community members in this village have suffered as a result of consuming dirty and unsafe water from this spring," Mr. Newton, a local farmer, said.

People scoop the water from the source to fill their plastic containers.

One of the women we found at the spring was Mrs. Sylvia Nakhumicha.

She married young and her husband died after 12 years of marriage. She acquired a new title "widow" and her 3 children were baptized as" fatherless."

The death of sole breadwinner for the family left her confused and disillusioned. Hunger does is unforgiving for a widow. A class two drop out, from a poor background with no resources, what options were at her disposal?

Mrs. Nakhumicha had to come up with a way to provide for her children.

She decided to fetch water for people, wash clothes for them, and perform any chore that could earn her a living. Her major source of income was fetching water from Mwangu spring for 10 KSH ($0.10) per jerrycan.

Whenever it rained her day was doomed. The rains make the path to the stream too muddy and the water too dirty to collect. So, when it rains there was no money for her. That meant no food for her children.

When she heard the plan to protect the spring, she went into prayers for the project to be implemented faster. She will be able to get clean water whether it rains or not and she will also be able to access the spring with ease.

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 clarity) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Handidi Community, Chisembe 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.

Two young girls review the informational pamphlet on COVID-19 received at training

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 23 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.

Handwashing 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.

Prevention reminders chart installed at the spring

Communtiy member Zachaeus Chisembe said that the spring users had not yet handled the matter of Coronavirus with the seriousness that it deserved since most of them could be seen in crowded places, they were walking outside their homes with no face masks, and the majority of them could be seen touching their eyes, nose, and their mouth every now and then. He said it was good that our team had come to emphasize what was being announced on the radio about COVID-19 prevention, and he hoped that the participants were now going to be keen on doing what is expected of them in order to prevent Coronavirus.

Face mask tutorial

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.

Homemade mask tutorial

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: Handidi Community, Chisembe Spring

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

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

October, 2018: Handidi Community Project Complete

Handidi Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Chisembe 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.

Fridah Khayeri's Story

I was born and brought up in a small village in Vihiga County. We had a river known as River Cheptingun. It was open to all kinds of contamination. Children are so innocent; I never considered the river a threat to my health and I heard my seniors say "water does not have a bad heart."

So, we used to consume the water directly from the source.

Many are the times when my entire family would complain of stomachache and diarrhea - but instead of going to the hospital, we pegged the diseases to witchcraft and opted to take some medicinal herbs that ended up healing us.

When I grew up and was married into Chisembe Village, I found the same scenario. And since this time around I was informed on the importance of accessing clean and safe water for consumption, I really wished our spring could be protected so that my children should never undergo the kind of life I underwent.

My wishes and struggles were in vain since as a community, we were unable to mobilize all the needed materials to protect it.

I am more than excited to see my wishes achieved today! Seeing Chisembe Spring protected and the entire community accessing clean water is worth shedding tears of joy. My children will no longer suffer due to consuming dirty water, and long life is their portion.

Spring Protection

The eagerness of the community to access clean and safe water made the entire construction process go smoothly. It was easy for our trainers and artisans to work here without challenge.

"The protection of the Chisembe Spring is quite an achievement to all people in this community," said Sarah Amuyunzu.

"As a community, we have suffered for decades in terms of consuming dirty water and a lack of proper information on water, sanitation, and hygiene. I am more than excited to be accessing clean and safe water as the problems of being sick and wasting time at the spring is now history."

Construction 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.

The spring area was excavated with jembes, hoes, and spades 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 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. As we arrived to take final pictures, the chairman of the water committee had already collected the fencing poles they'd need to protect the area.

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.

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was planned with the help of the village elder who went door to door informing his community about the importance of attending. The participants were recruited from each home, with at least one person to represent each home. A total of 37 participants attended the training, out of which 19 were men and 18 were women.

Training was conducted at the spring construction site. Many of the participants were amazed at what was going on at their spring, so they suggested this venue so they could monitor the good progress. There was a high level of participation as people kept on asking for clarification. One man named William Buruti was hilarious, entertaining the participants by asking funny questions about every topic.

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.

"People perish due to lack of information. Personally, the training has equipped me with more information than I ever imagined I would acquire," said Mrs. Brenda Muhambo.

"Most of the homes are going to experience a turnaround and their lives are going to change for the better."

July, 2018: Developments in Handidi Community

Field Officer Jacklyne has been making constant visits to Handidi in preparation for training and spring protection. This last visit, she made a surprising discovery. The landowner of Mwangu Spring took a shortcut and attempted to build a spring protection system for himself. Jacklyne reports that the results of his efforts are not up to our standard, and so the people of Handidi have come forward with an alternative spring. Once the owner of Mwangu Spring is open to greater cooperation, we will consider rebuilding his spring protection so that it provides reliable clean water.

We have added pictures of nearby Chisembe Spring, where the community members have said they are willing to work alongside Jacklyne and our artisans to build a spring protection that will be effective and long-lasting.

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: Handidi Community, Chisembe Spring

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Handidi Community 5.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Handidi Community 5 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!

Sanitation and hygiene among Handidi community members have improved over the last year since Chisembe Spring's protection and the associated training and installation of 5 sanitation platforms.

Before this project was implemented, the community used to access dirty and contaminated water from the unprotected source which really affected them. During our most recent visit, people shared how they are glad to now access clean and safe water and consequently, the rate of waterborne diseases has reduced.

This project has improved lives in this community, which is evident when you visit the community members in their homes. You will see clean compounds, clotheslines, dishracks, and people accessing clean and safe drinking water.

"5 family members who didn't have their own latrines were able to benefit from sanitation platforms. They have seen a great difference and they now own [a] latrine and everyone ensures that it's well cleaned to avoid infection or outbreak. Because of the available clean water, parents are now helping their children to practice personal hygiene," said Mr. Indimuli, chair of the water committee in the village.

Left to right: Michelle Mushila, Mr. Indimuli, and Field Officer Betty Muhongo at the spring

In addition to Mr. Indimuli, 11-year-old Michelle Mushila also met us at the spring and shared her thoughts on how this project has impacted her life as a student and a child over the last 12 months.

"It has become so easy for us to get water from the spring. Before the spring was protected we used to waste a lot of time waiting for water to settle. At the moment, we can do our school work without any problem and our performance has improved."

Chisembe Spring green with grass a year after completion

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 Handidi Community 5 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 Handidi Community 5 – 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.


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