Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/04/2024

Project Features

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Amwayi Spring is located in Isembe Village within Kakamega County. The people in the community are mainly farmers - sugarcane at a large scale for profit and food crops for eating or selling in the local market. The other source of income is casual labor jobs, mostly performed by the men and sometimes women in female-headed households.

A normal day for this community involves women waking up at 5am to prepare breakfast on school days and clean the compound.

This is also the time when they milk the cows and clean the shades. The men are also up at this time. Many go into town since they are either public transport drivers or motorbike operators.

The women, after seeing off the children to school, directly go to the farms before the sun gets too hot - an activity that goes on for almost four hours. The remaining part of the day is spent washing clothes, cooking lunch, and attending community, women, or church meetings.

The day is usually over at around 8pm, with a plate of dinner, if food is available. Then people retire to bed.

Poverty is the only hindrance to achieving things in this community, but if synergy is created between the beneficiaries, local government, and well-wishers, the lives of these people will change tremendously.

Development can easily be achieved and this starts with access to clean water and sanitation. That is paramount in having a healthy community.


A teacher from a beneficiary school known as Mwangaza Secondary requested the organization staff to visit the spring and assess the situation.

The people of this community are in dire need of support in accessing clean and safe water and sound sanitation that will improve their lives.

The spring also serves a number of homesteads, all of whom require this basic need in order to live healthy lives and increase their productivity.

The traditional method of drawing water is usually used. The water is scooped using a small plastic container and poured into a bigger plastic jerrycan. Drinking water is stored in clay pots. The rest of the gathered water is stored in the same jerrycans until it is all used up. Then more is fetched.

The source is contaminated because it is an open source with no protection. Dirt flows into the source and channels of contamination are all open.

"I have lived in this community ever since I was a child, my parents home being just a stone throw away," Mrs. Catherine Alwang'a said.

"We have experienced a variety of health problems, and since conventional medicine is a bit expensive for most of us, we either live with the disease or resort to traditional medication, which has not been so effective."

A safe water shortage for this community is a "death sentence" on it own, as the people continuously suffer from waterborne diseases like typhoid and cholera. The children hardly attend school when they get ill and miss out on the lessons.

When the men and women are sick, the eldest child has to take care of them and the rest of the household. This means the parents cannot work and the child has to miss school.

"The children miss school when they fall sick, and production is low when the parents are sick, to a point where households go hungry. Since the kind of jobs we have can only cater for daily needs, we live, as the saying goes, from hand to mouth," Mrs. Alwang'a said.


More than half of the households in the community have latrines. The latrines that exist are dug holes in the ground.

The walls differ from one homestead to another, but the most common latrines are the ones covered by pieces of cloth. Some are thatched with no doors on them. Most are smelly and so small that one has to bend over while walking inside.

A majority of the people dispose their garbage behind their kitchen where there is a dug pit. Some just pour the garbage on a small section of their farms to compost.

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.

Project Updates

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Isembe Community, Amwayi 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 Jacky shows how to wear a mask

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 Isembe, Kenya.

Cough and sneeze into your elbow like this

We trained more than 17 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.

Stick to contactless greetings like waving

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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

Reviewing the prevention reminders chart

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: Isembe Community, Amwayi Spring

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

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

November, 2018: Isembe Community Project Complete

Isembe Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Amwayi 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 planned by coordinating with our contact person Mrs. Truphena, who was able to let us know exactly when people were most likely available. Most of them sell vegetables at the market center as the men go look for casual labor work, so she took these schedules into account.

There were 11 women representing different households around the community. There were no men because they all leave early in the morning to find work. The women were active and very interested in all we had to teach. We had a good time training this group; we believe their great involvement in this project is because they know that water directly affects their family's everyday life.

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.

Talking about the rules that should be followed to make this spring a long-lasting clean water solution.

During the topic on water and food handling, we were able to list a number of common good and bad habits which a number of the participants confessed to have been practicing all along.

During the handwashing session, most women were eager to come up front to demonstrate their quick memories; they had just learned ten steps for thorough handwashing, which includes scrubbing the fingernails and wrists. Our trainer was able to assist these women in their understanding of handwashing and its importance to their family's health.

"I have taken part in some trainings held in other places, but never had we discussed these particular issues that directly affect our health and hygiene," said Mrs. Catherine Akhayati.

"I am now more informed than I have ever been, especially on issues of food and water handling. I believe I am a transformed woman now, and I am also able to share this information with my friends and family members whenever we are gathered together."

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 Amwayi Spring was successful and water is now flowing from the discharge pipe.

"We have yearned to have this project in our community for so long," said Mrs. Catherine Alwanga.

"We cannot begin to explain how happy we are and how relieved we are to finally start taking clean and safe water."

The community has already worked on a fence to protect the water point, and during training they promised to plant grass and indigenous shrubs and trees that will prevent erosion.

Thumbs up for great work and great-tasting water!

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.

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.

September, 2018: Isembe Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Amwayi Spring is making people in Isembe 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: Isembe Community, Amwayi Spring

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Isembe Community 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!

Field Officer Georgina Kamau shared the following reflection from her recent visit to Amwayi Spring in Isembe, where she checked up on the spring and interviewed community members about the project's impact in its first year since completion:

"It is one thing to have access to water, and it’s another to have access to water that is safe to drink. The community members of Amwayi Spring are now enjoying fresh and clean drinking water. Their sanitation has improved since they now have clean food, dishes, and bedding. Since they got the sanitation platforms, the toilets are cleaned every day using water. Their health has also improved considering they don't suffer from waterborne and skin diseases.

The spring is in good working condition. The place is kept clean and well maintained. Most of them have put into practice what they learned in the training by improvising leaky tins at the latrines. The bright smiles on their faces tell that they are very happy and grateful for the project and ready to embrace more projects in [the] future."

Josephine Ambani with Field Officer Georgina Kamau at the spring

Josephine Ambani is a farmer in Isembe who depends on Ambayi Spring for water. She reflected on how the project has impacted her and her community.

"We no longer fall sick from frequent diarrhea, which was the case before the protection of the spring. The latrines are easy to clean since we got the slabs [and the] same to our surroundings considering water is now very easy and fast to access."

13-year-old Silas Okumu has also felt the difference of the protected spring and shared what the project has meant to him.

"I now enjoy going to the spring since water is easily accessible, unlike before where we used to wait in ques. It would take a bit of time to fill the container since we used to scoop the water using a jug but now we take a very short time to collect enough water for the day, which gives us more time to do other activities," Silas said.

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 Isembe Community 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 Isembe Community – 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.