Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 490 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/05/2024

Project Features

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Ilala Community is located in Kakamega County, Kenya. It is home to 490 people who do not have access to clean water.

They get water from a spring that has pooled to the surface. Arnold Johnny Spring is completely open to all forms of contamination, and wild animals even drink from it directly.

People bring their buckets along with a small jug that is dunked under the surface to collect and pour water from the spring into the bucket. This is a long process that further contaminates the water. Sometimes there is a long wait after someone fetches water to allow for dirt to settle back to the bottom.

Waterborne disease is prevalent throughout the community, and families are having to spend money on treatment. This rampant sickness has completely destroyed these households’ potential to save money and tackle development opportunities for themselves.

People here farm at a small scale, consuming most of their crop themselves while managing to sell a small excess in the local market. A good number of community members have tree lots on their pieces of land which serve as their source of firewood. Many people take the time to harvest more wood so that they can sell it to others. They also keep dairy cattle and poultry.

What we can do:


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, since handwashing is one of the most efficient ways to keep germs from spreading.

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

It was also noted that quite a number of homes still do not have their own pit latrines, with some forced to share sanitation facilities while others reportedly opt for open defecation; this exposes the entire community to fecal-oral diseases.

"This is a God-given opportunity, and the idea of protecting the spring will solve our water problems," said Mrs. Esther Mukolwe.

"Moreover, the sanitation facilities and health promotion campaign through trainings will enable, enlighten and capacity-build the community to take matters related to community health as a priority."

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from concrete latrine floors. These are a huge upgrade from wooden slats; they are safe and easy to clean.

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

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ilala Community, Arnold Johnny 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.

Using soap is critical in fighting the virus

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 Ilala, Kenya.

Handwashing demonstration

We trained more than 30 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.

Trainers use teamwork during the 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.

Homemade mask tutorial

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.

Installing the prevention reminders chart at the spring

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.

The village elder addresses the training group and urges caution

Training participant Mr. Machoni said that he was lucky to have been taught how to make a face mask at home and how to make a handwashing leaky tin. He asked his village members to do as they were taught in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Social distancing check

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.

Facilitators use visual aids to discuss disease transmission

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.

April, 2019: Ilala Community, Arnold Johnny Spring Project Complete

Ilala Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Arnold Johnny 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 Arnold Johnny Spring was successful and water is now flowing from the discharge pipe.

"I would like to specifically appreciate [you] for considering this community for such a water facility. Thank you for your concern for communities and service to humanity. May the Lord bless you," said Phyllis Muhonje.

"At last the spring has been protected and we are assured of clean and safe water for our use!" said Mr. Shamwama.

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.

The ceramic tiles installed under the discharge pipes protect 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 concrete dried over the course of five days, during which a community member wetted the concrete to make sure it would dry without cracking. The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination.

We went as a team to meet the community at the spring to do an official handing over ceremony. 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. That committee has already led the community in building a wooden fence to protect the area behind the discharge pipe.

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.

New Knowledge

Mr. Arnold Johnny and his sister-in-law worked with us to plan a hygiene and sanitation training for their community. They went door to door and made announcements to invite everyone who uses Arnold Johnny Spring for their water.

Participants arriving for training

Participants learned about:

– Leadership and governance
– Management and maintenance of the spring

Under this topic, the participants were informed on the best practices for maintaining the spring. They were advised to plant thorny shrubs behind the spring to add a natural fence to the fence they already built from sticks. They were also advised to plant grass to prevent erosion. They were urged to clean out the pipes before fetching water and to clean the stairs and pick up rubbish around the spring area.

During the training, we made it clear that our office is there and standing by to do major repairs to the protected spring. The community is trained on how to be accountable for any minor issues that arise (such as a crumbling stair). The assistant chief promised to help the community sort out any issue should it arise.

– Family planning
– Personal hygiene, including handwashing
– Dental hygiene
– Waterborne and water-related disease, along with water treatment methods

We got to know this community a lot better during training. There was a large graveyard at the family home where training was hosted. We inquired about the graveyard and learned there were four tombstones for family members who passed away. Then the training host walked some meters from his home and showed us two more markers: one for his wife and one for his daughter. Is the chairperson for the spring. He walked some meters from the compound where there were two more graves: one for his wife and one for his daughter.

Many people in Ilala lose their loved ones much too soon, and the entire community believes it's because of a curse. As a result of this fear, young people move away after they receive an education. Others fear to build permanent houses, believing if they live in something more temporary then the village curse might not affect their family. This fear has rendered the village to be so underdeveloped.

The host who showed us around and let us know about this issue is now the chairperson of the water committee. He told us that this training and the protection of Arnold Johnny Spring will breathe new life into the community. He knows that as the community sees things changing for the better, fear will be dispelled.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

February, 2019: Ilala Community, Arnold Johnny Spring Project Underway

Dirty water from Arnold Johnny Spring is making people in Ilala Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re building 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: Ilala Community, Arnold Johnny Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ilala 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!

"Before the project, water from this spring was never clean. It used to have dirt that could settle at the bottom of a water container when allowed to settle for some time."

"When it rained, the situation would be made worse by the storm waters that would sweep through the spring eyes, thus polluting the pool of water from which we used to get our drinking water here."

"Today, we have no stress when it comes to fetching water."

"We have a discharge pipe under which one simply puts their container and it gets filled up with very clean and potable water within a short time span."

"This spring is a permanent source that also gives clean water that we use to wash our school uniforms. Thus, we now go to school in clean attire and also in good health without any fear of stomachaches."

"This water point has helped us achieve the goal of going to school without the fear of falling sick of stomach problems that sometimes forced us to miss going to school."

"As a girl, I feel good to be sent to collect water from a safe area. This spring is safe because the management committee always ensures that any bushes nearby are cleared and that children's welfare is looked at as a matter of priority. We are not discriminated against when we come to collect water here."

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 Ilala 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 Ilala 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.


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