Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 227 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/03/2024

Project Features

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Siseche Spring is located in Matsakha sublocation of Kakamega County.

The community was chosen by a team of field officers who went to out to vet 2018 projects. They were directed by Mr. Juma Siseche to the spring and found the spring to be yielding a lot of water, making it viable for protection.

Most of the community members work in sugarcane plantations. They wake up very early in the morning to tend to the farms to provide their daily meal.

Sugarcane is the main cash crop in the area which serves West Sugar and Butali Sugar factories. Most students drop out of school to help their parents in the farms due to lack of school fees.


The lack of safe, clean drinking water and poor sanitation in this area is life-threatening. For that reason, these people are in need of safe and clean water to reduce the contraction of waterborne and hygiene-related diseases.

The people use a jug to scoop water from a pool into which the spring drains. They then pour the water into their containers until they are filled up. The little children dip their containers directly in the pool of water, making it turbid.

People store their water in the same plastic containers which they use for fetching water.

The spring is unprotected. As a result, there are cases of waterborne diseases experienced by community members. There are reported cases of typhoid and cholera, for example.

"During the rainy season, many cases of typhoid are reported in our area because our spring is usually more prone to contamination by surface runoff," Mr. Siseche, a farmer in the community, said.


The community requires training on good hygiene and sanitation practices so that they can live in a clean environment and maintain cleanliness of the spring and its surrounding.

Fewer than half of households have latrines.  The latrines that do exist are in pathetic conditions. The floors are made of mud which is not washable and the doors are either rusty iron sheets, rags, or plastic bags.

They dispose of their garbage in their gardens whereby, after decomposing, it acts as manure to make the land fertile.

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. 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

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 Matsakha Community, Siseche 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 Matsakha, Kenya.

We trained more than 14 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: Matsakha Community, Siseche Spring

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

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

October, 2018: Matsakha Community Project Complete

Matskaha Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Siseche 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.

New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was organized with the help of the water and sanitation committee chairman, Mr. Juma. We agreed on an ideal date and he took the initiative of informing the community about the scheduled training. We met on the front yard of Caroline Astiba, who lives central to most community members. It was a sunny morning, but the participants made themselves comfortable under a shady tree.

The training was attended by 16 participants, 10 of which were women and six were men. Though not counted, a number of children also attended the training and were very active in asking questions. In fact, everyone was very attentive and involved. Those who were too shy would whisper their questions to the person sitting next to them - and then that person would amplify for us.

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.

Discussing handwashing

During spring maintenance and management discussions, participants brainstormed many ways to keep their water source safe. Some came up with harsh measures for children when they misbehave at the spring, but the facilitator explained that is is much better to educate the children about the dangers of playing at the spring instead of instilling fear in them.

We saw the determination of community members in ensuring that their spring is well-maintained. They said that by our asking them to gather sand and stones to deliver to our artisan, they feel that they are really part of this project.

"I have spent a lot of my resources on medication for a long time without knowing that the common diseases that have been taking my resources are preventable," shared Lilian Buronya.

Lilian Buronya

"It is true, we had been exposed to these diseases because of poor hygiene practices. I now have the duty to prevent them as I have acquired knowledge from you."

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.

Two sanitation platforms drying in the sun

Spring Protection

This project was one of a kind for this community, for it brought unity. All the households put their heads together and came up with a plan to gather enough sand and stones for our artisan to use. Mr. Juma confirmed that he had never seen this community so united, apart from funerals.

Death has been a plague in this community, especially during August of this year. Before the artisan was deployed, Mr. Juma lost his mother and we had to wait for her to be buried before construction work began. Two more deaths were reported in the community during the construction process. The community, however, was committed to seeing their spring protected.

"Our water had very many frogs, which affected the quality of our water. It had a foul smell and was often turbid," Mrs. Esther Juma recalled.

"Now we are sure of drinking clean water because our reservoir will be treated and sealed from contamination. We lack words to express our gratitude to you."

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.

The artisan first constructed the spring with two discharge pipes, but then rebuilt it to have one with a higher yield.

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.

This is when the artisan recognized the porous soil they were working with. This soil made it difficult to keep all of the water in the reservoir area. This issue caused us to think of another step for construction; a solid foundation for the headwall was built to combat seepage.

At first, two discharge pipes had been placed, but no water was coming out. There was plenty of water behind the headwall, but there wasn't enough pressure to push it up and out the pipes. The artisan reconstructed the headwall and tried it with only one pipe. The water was only dripping out. The artisan asked the community if it would be OK with them to place the pipe a little lower than usual to give them a better yield. They agreed, and this method worked.

Water is now gushing from the discharge pipe at Siseche Spring! Everyone is happy the artisan persevered to get water flowing.

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.

August, 2018: Matsakha Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Siseche Spring is making people in Matsakha 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: Matsakha Community, Siseche Spring

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Matsakha Community 2.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Matsakha Community 2 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!

Life for community members in Matsakha had a turning point last year when Siseshe Spring was protected. Before the spring protection, a lot of time was wasted waiting for the water to clear up between people in line before fetching it.

But, today this is a different story.

As we arrived in the community, we found women not at home, but at work so that they could earn some income to provide food for their families. This is because they no longer have to spend most of their time waiting for and fetching water. They hope their work will help to reduce poverty in their community. We also noticed that the children looked healthier and happier. All these improvements are a result of the WaSH project implementation in this community.

"I am happy that now we have clean and safe water...and this gives me enough time to study," said Alex Injendi, a high school-aged student in Matsakha.

Alex also noted that during this last dry season - one of the driest on record in Kenya - water did not flow through the spring's pipe for some days. Concerned the water had dried up in the drought, the water committee contacted our team of field officers.

Enjoying a drink from the spring

After a quick response and excavation of the spring, our team found that the clay works inside the spring had collapsed, leaving the water to flow through escape channels instead of the discharge pipe. After some repairs, clean water has been flowing since. This experience gave us continued to hope that this community is dedicated to the longevity of their water point, and will work to keep it functional and accessible to all.

Kids play with spring water

"I used to fear to come to fetch water in the spring, but now it is safe and we have clean water. Thank you," 15-year-old Sharon Shanjilia noted.

Sharon holds hands with another child 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 Matsakha Community 2 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 Matsakha Community 2 – 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.


16 individual donor(s)