Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 90 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/02/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Henry Kichwen Spring is located in Koitabut Village of Nandi County.

For people in this community, a normal day starts by getting up early in the morning at 6am and going to their farms. Many people in this community engage in small-scale dairy farming, poultry keeping, cash crop farming such as small tea scale sugar cane plantations, bananas and subsistence farming such as vegetables and cereals of all kinds ranging from maize, beans and ground nuts.

They mainly till their lands in preparation for planting, while others harvest-ready crops from farms. After which, the food is stored for future use and some are taken to the market to be sold. The community members try to balance their budgets so as to meet their daily needs and keep life going. This location borders two counties namely, Vihiga and Nandi with a good road network that links different location between the two counties.


This unprotected spring serves an estimated population of 90 people.

Though the spring has been in existence for a long time, efforts to protect it were always futile. The only hope was their elected leaders, but they have done very little to help them.

During our visit to a school called Kosiage Primary School, one of the teachers invited us to visit the spring and give any advice on a way forward. On arrival, the spring was found to be very open and in need urgent attention to prevent people from drinking the contaminated water.

On our visit to the site, we saw a green mold on the water surface, leaves, and rotten branches. That is a clear indication that the water is not safe for human consumption if used untreated.

The lack of safe water leads to many lives being at risk of getting waterborne diseases like typhoid and cholera.

People use jugs to draw water and pour them into larger containers while others dip their large containers directly into the water to fill up. The gathered water is then stored in the containers in people's homes.

The community members were happy to see us visit their spring and revive their lost hopes and breath life back into them.

With the protection of this spring, many people will be able to access safe and clean drinking water with ease unlike in the previous times when they could only struggle to at least get clean water as little as possible.


The community members have clean compounds, with dishracks and clotheslines often present. The garbage is thrown into the farms and left to decompose and naturally turn into manure.

Also, nearly every household has a latrine. They ensure that there is proper disposal of human waste. Latrines in the community are made of wooden floors, mud walls, iron sheet roofs, and doors of timber joined together.

The provision of sanitation platforms will help to boost the sanitation status of many households who use latrines made of wooden floors which, when wet, makes people slide and fall down while trying to use them.

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 Koitabut Community, Henry Kichwen 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 a mask made 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 Koitabut, Kenya.

An elder shows the informational pamphlet on COVID-19 he received at training

We trained more than 9 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.

Cough and sneeze into the elbow

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.

Teaching 10 steps of handwashing

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.

Using a leaky tin for handwashing

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.

The installed prevention reminders chart at the spring

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: Koitabut Community, Henry Kichwen Spring

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

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

February, 2019: Koitabut Community, Henry Kichwen Spring Project Complete

Koitabut Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Henry Kichwen Spring has been transformed into a flowing, safe 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

Construction at Henry Kichwen Spring was successful and water is now flowing from the discharge pipe.

"Truth be told, this is a great blessing to our community and my family as well, given that this is the first time for us to see such a beautiful water source. We are going to do everything within our power to ensure that safe, clean water will always flow from our spring," said Mr. Kichwen, the spring's namesake.

The only challenge was occasional bad weather, with rain that forced our artisan and the volunteers to take a break for a few hours. More often than not, the workers braved the conditions and kept on constructing the spring protection. Their perseverance paid off!

"I must say that this project has come at the time when we most needed it. Our mothers have been suffering a lot trying to access water from the then unprotected water source," remembered Lewis.

"Protection of this spring will greatly eliminate all the contaminants and thus safe and clean drinking water will forever flow from the pipe."

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. The community plans to plant grass around the spring area to prevent soil erosion, and has already put up a fence to protect the construction from wild animals.

With this spring now handed over to the community, we will continue to follow up with the water committee to make sure everything runs smoothly.

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.

Once fully dry and frame removed, this latrine floor will be set over the pit in the background

New Knowledge

The community has been trained to form a very strong management committee that will oversee all the activities carried out at the spring. Also, the group is being advised to always seek the advice of our organization when there is a major issue that may require our help.

This entire training was planned and organized by both our field officer and community contact, Jessica Lihemwo, who mobilized the community members by urging them to attend the training.

Community representatives who attended training pose for a group picture

Several topics were covered during the training, such as personal and environmental hygiene, common local diseases and their prevention, and care of the water point. The ten steps of handwashing were demonstrated, along with demonstrations for dental hygiene and water treatment.

Handwashing demonstration

The facilitator was able to shed more light on why it is important for community members to practice good ways of handling water and food to avoid contamination. During this topic, participants were strongly urged to always cover their water on the way home from the spring and also while storing it. Furthermore, they were reminded to always maintain high standards of hygiene while handling food as a slight mistake can lead to contamination of food.

"Every topic covered today is new knowledge added to me. With this training, I believe that the areas we have not been practicing shall be improved for the betterment of all," said Mrs. Isalano.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

January, 2019: Koitabut Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Henry Kichwen Spring is making people in Koitabut Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to build a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this 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: Koitabut Community, Henry Kichwen Spring

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Koitabut 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 Wilson Kipchoge recently visited Henry Kichwen Spring in Koitabut to check up on the spring and interview community members about the project's impact in its first year since completion. Wilson shared the following reflection from his visit:

"As you enter this community, the compounds look very clean and green due to the high standards of...hygiene that are practiced by community members, thanks to the hygiene training that was done. Moreover, community members have carefully made sure that the water from the spring is consumed freely without restriction on members who did not contribute during [the] construction of the spring."

"For this group of people, [the] availability of abundant, safe, clean water is a blessing to them since they rely on it as their only main source of water. The water is sufficient enough to serve them and available at all times of the year. The environment looks very green with trees around the compounds, flowers near homesteads, and grass covering the ground, thus providing a natural carpet."

Ivan with Field Officer Wilson

Ivan Kibungei Lukaye is a community member in Koitabut who relies on Henry Kichwen Spring for his daily water needs. Ivan met with Field Officer Wilson at the spring to share his thoughts on the project's effect on water quality.

"Since this spring was constructed last year, we [are] now drinking very clean water unlike in the previous years where we could not drink water from the then-open spring," he said.

"Construction of this spring has helped lock out any contaminant that could enter into the spring and spoil it, thus making it unsafe for human consumption."

Field Officer Wilson with Shaline

10-year-old Shaline Jeruto was also there, and offered a different perspective as a young girl and student in her village.

"For me, water from the spring is good and does not make me get sick when [I] am at home and also at school. Before this project was done, I could miss [school] for some days because of headache and stomachache [related to waterborne diseases]," she said.

"But today, [I] am very happy that diseases like typhoid and cholera have gone forever and [I] will live a healthier life as I pursue my education as a young girl."

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 Koitabut 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 Koitabut 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.


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