Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 315 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 01/15/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Shirakala Community is a cosmopolitan area, thus activities differ from one family to another.

Individuals wake up early to fetch water from Ambani Spring, engage in morning cleaning then go on to their respective places of work. Children, on the other hand, go to school for their academic studies.

The spring is an unprotected water source that serves more than 300 people. Community members scoop the water using a small jar to fill their larger jerrycans. The containers are often not clean, contaminating the water that is already affected by pollutants like open defecation and proximate farming.

The containers rarely have covers and the water is stored in the open at home in the same canisters or pots.

Individuals reported having contracted waterborne diseases such as diarrhea and typhoid as a result of consuming the water.

"This has been a thorn in our flesh since time immemorial," Madam Roda said.

More than half of households have latrines. Most are not in proper condition, making them hazardous to users.

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

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Shirakala Community, Ambani 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.

Trainer Olivia leads a handwashing demonstration

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 Shirakala, Kenya.

We trained more than 14 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 demonstration

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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

Trainers review the prevention reminders chart

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.

Community member shows an informational pamphlet on COVID-19

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.

Community member speaks to the group about wearing masks

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 Udpate: Shirakala Community, Ambani Spring

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

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

October, 2018: Shirakala Community Project Complete

Shirakala Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Ambani 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, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, fencing poles and gravel. They also hosted our artisans for the duration of construction.

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. It was difficult to find enough stones to fill up the excavated area, but the community members continued their search until the artisan had enough.

The backfilled spring box was covered with plastic to further prevent contamination.

The concrete dried over the course of two weeks. With this spring now handed over to the community, we will continue to follow up to ensure they build a fence around the area to protect it and plant grass to prevent erosion.

"Protection of Ambani Spring is a great achievement for the entire community. Most times we have wished for its protection but all has been in vain," Mr. Charles Mmusai said.

"I used to sacrifice a lot and clean the spring but still at the end we would access dirty water due to its being open to all kinds of contamination."

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 worked with the village elder to plan hygiene and sanitation training. Once we had a schedule, he went door to door inviting everyone to attend. We had asked him to aim for at least 15 household representatives, but we were pleasantly surprised to find 24 participants waiting for us.

The weather at the beginning of training was cold, but the sun came out as the day progressed. The training was conducted at the spring site, which was convenient for management and maintenance demonstrations.

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 got very excited talking about proper care of Ambani Spring. They are passionate about seeing this precious resource last for generations. They appointed leadership for the water use committee which will enforce rules and regulations for spring use; rules like no washing clothes at the spring and no farming nearby.

The handwashing activity was a lot of fun too, wherein community members all wanted a chance to practice the ten steps in front of the trainer. They learned how to make their own handwashing station at their homes, and promise to wash hands regularly.

"This training is an eye opener to all who participated, the information acquired in this forum is going to transform lives and increase the lifespan of many," Clement Ambehi shared.

"I am excited and feeling privileged to be in this community when it is going through a positive transformation in accessing clean and safe water."

August, 2018: Shirakala Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Ambani Spring is making people in Shirakala 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 Udpate: Shirakala Community, Ambani Spring

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shirakala Community, Ambani 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!

"The protection of Ambani Spring has been a real blessing to this community," reported Field Officer Jacklyne Chelagat reflecting on her recent visit to Shirakala.

"They are now able to access clean and safe water for their domestic use. Initially, cattle, sheep, and goats would step in the water source and make the water so dirty and they had to wait for so long for the water to settle before they could fetch [it]. With the protection, the animals cannot easily access the water point making it more clean and safe for consumption."

"The area around the spring looks smart and so appealing to the eyes. Members of this community can now access clean and safe water. They are so committed in ensuring that the environment around the spring is well-maintained," Jacklyne added.

(To hear Jacklyne speak with community member Rhoda Sakwa about the protected spring, and to hear what roaring a 4-pipe discharge sounds like, check out the video on the Photos tab of this project!)

Rhoda Sakwa with Field Officer Jacklyne at the spring

Treasurer of the water committee Titus Issac met Jacklyne at the spring on her visit and shared how he thinks the project has impacted his community in the first 12 months since its completion.

"Cases of waterborne diseases have greatly reduced since the protection of the spring. This has resulted [in the] emergence of [a] few development activities that have improved the living standards of its people...During the [spring] protection, a few people were issued with [sanitation platforms] and we have seen how it has improved their lives," Titus said.

Rhoda, Jacklyne, and Titus are all smiles at the spring

10-year-old John Lihavo, though a bit shy at first, was pleased to share his own experience after Ambani Spring's protection.

"Since the spring was protected, it is now easier to get water from the spring. We used to spend a lot of time in the spring whenever we were sent to the spring to fetch water...At the moment we do not experience major challenges since we use [a] very short time to fetch water and run to school."

(We are currently investigating whether we can help improve access to clean water at John's school too so he and his classmates will not have to carry it from home!)

Titus, John, and Jacklyne at the 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 Shirakala Community, Ambani 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 Shirakala Community, Ambani 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.


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