Loading images...
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Thank You
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Thank You
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Thank You
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Flowing Water
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Flowing Water
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Flowing Water
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Flowing Water
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Sanitation Platform
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Sanitation Platform
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Sanitation Platform
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Spring Construction
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Spring Construction
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Excavation
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Handwashing Training
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Handwashing Training
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Handwashing Training
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Handwashing Training
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Training
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Training
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Spring Management Training
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Woman Stands Next To Improvised Latrine
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Water Containers For Storing Water In A Households Kitchen
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  The Spring
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Sample Bathroom Made Of Nylon Papers In A Banana Plantation
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Dumping Area
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Clothesline
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Cleaning Dishes Outside
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  Amwani Spring Unprotected Water Source
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  A Latrine In An Open Field With A Dangerous Floor
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  A Community Member Washers Her Utensils As Ducks Eat From Them
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  A Community Member Poses Beside Her Improvised Dishrack
The Water Project: Isembe Community -  A Child Poses Infront Of Her Home

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: 08/07/2019

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

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

11/12/2018: 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.

The Water Project : 19-kenya18147-thank-you

09/26/2018: 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!

The Water Project : kenya18147-amwani-spring-unprotected-water-source

Project Photos

Project Type

Protected Spring

In many communities, natural springs exist as water flows from cracks in rocky ground or the side of a hill.  Springs provide reliable water but that doesn’t mean safe. When left open they become contaminated by surface contamination, animal and human waste and rain runoff. The solution is to protect the source. First, you excavate around the exact source area of the spring. Then, you build a protective reservoir for water flow, which leads to a concrete spring box and collection area. Safe water typically flows year-round and there is very limited ongoing maintenance needed!