Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 112 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/02/2024

Project Features

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112 people in Sichinji rely on Makhatse Spring to meet their water needs. Carrying water is a tedious process, especially when going up and down a steep slope. We were, however, challenged by an old lady carrying a 10-liter jerrycan with ease up the slope while we were breathing heavily just carrying our notebooks and pens.

Although the community has fitted a pipe so that they don’t have to step in the water and dunk their containers, the spring is still open to contamination. Community members have suffered for long time due to drinking water from the unprotected spring. Typhoid has been a menace among the people.

"During the rainy seasons, surface runoff accumulates at the spring and carries away the pipe that we used to draw water from. The water becomes totally inaccessible to us and it also becomes contaminated," shared Mr. Vincent Luvembe.

"This forces us to minimize water use in our household as we wait for the water to clear up. We end up piling up laundry and they become infested with bed bugs."

An average family in Sichinji Village consists of extended family all sharing one piece of land. Most of the inhabited land is that which has been passed down from one generation to the other. The people in this village do not believe in selling inherited land because that's where their ancestors have been buried, and they also expect to be buried there too. Most able adults in this area depend on subsistence and cash crop farming to sustain their families. The farming is done by women, men, and children, though traditional gender-defined roles are still observed. For example, women are expected to cook and men to build household structures.

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.

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 concrete 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 Sichinji Community, Makhatse 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 Rose demonstrates handwashing

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 Sichinji, Kenya.

We trained more than 32 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Due to public gathering concerns, before there were any cases in the area 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.

Trainer Janet demonstrates handwashing

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.

Sharing COVID-19 informational pamphlets

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.

Reading a pamphlet

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.

Prevention remidners chart installed at the spring

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.

Observing social distancing

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.

June, 2019: Sichinji Community, Makhatse Spring Project Complete

Sichinji Community is celebrating its new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Makhatse 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 Makhatse Spring was successful and water is now flowing from the discharge pipe.

"I'm really grateful to you for considering our spring for protection," said Mrs. Indeche.

"Accessibility was a big issue, especially during the rainy seasons when we would wade through knee-deep mud to access water. At least now I'll be clean and I can also send my children to the spring because the risk of slipping has been eliminated."

The Process:

Construction went on well without challenges since the community members were cooperative in providing local sand and stones for the artisan to use, and were always there to help with manual labor.

Children help by carrying bricks to the construction site on their day off from school.

The spring area was excavated with jembes, hoes, and spades to create space for setting the foundation of polyethylene, wire mesh, and concrete. This step of the process yielded a surprise: the artisan found old cement under all of the dirt. Upon inquiring around the community, he found out that there was a spring protection from 1911!

Cement, waterproof coating, ballast, and sand were mixed together to make a very strong foundation.

Brickwork started with the artisan taking all of the required measurements of the spring structure before proceeding with the work. Construction of the superstructure continued with discharge pipes fixed in the brick wall.

Stairs were built on both sides of the spring to allow in and out movement by users.

Stone pitching along the lower part of the spring was done to prevent soil from eroding and blocking the outlet drainage. Finally, the plastering of the walls and the floor was done, and tiles were placed below the discharge pipes to keep the falling water from hitting the cement.

The spring was then left for two days to undergo curing and hardening before being backfilled using stones.

Polythene was stretched across the top and covered with soil to allow clean water to flow from the pipe. Community members promised to dig cut-off drainage at the slope of the spring to divert surface water from entering the spring and to also plant grass over the protected area to prevent erosion.

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 will continue to encourage them to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors as we visit for monitoring and evaluation.

New Knowledge

The community health volunteers and water, sanitation, and management committee training at Makhatse Spring was one of a kind. The participants came out in large numbers and sat patiently and listened attentively. The facilitator was able to talk to the participants in their local dialect and this made them very happy. They felt at home and did not see the hygiene training as something strange but just common knowledge and practices which any local Kenyan can adopt.

After the training, we could see that they had embraced the project more and had a sense of ownership. Despite the training ending at 5pm, when most of the women would have left to prepare supper for their families, they instead went downstream to a nearby river to collect sand for the completion of the spring protection construction. We commended them on their commitment to the project and we are hopeful that the community will improve on their hygiene standards.

Participants learned about topics including:

– Environmental hygiene
– Waterborne and water-related disease, along with water treatment methods and how to properly handle water

One of the participants had brought water in a 20-liter jerrycan for our demonstrations on dental hygiene and handwashing. When the facilitator looked at the jerrycan, it was evident that it is never cleaned, nor did it have a lid.

The facilitator seized the opportunity to tackle the topic of water handling and treatment. She demonstrated how women usually dip their fingers in a jerrycan as they lift it onto their heads. When she put the jerrycan on her lap, a big smudge of mud was seen on her skirt. This was a further indication that the jerrycan was dirty. The women promised to clean their water containers and ensure that all of them have lids.

– Leadership and governance for the spring committee
– Management and maintenance of the spring

Training participants gathered around their spring as it's under construction

Community members were taken over to the protected spring to talk about how it works, how to care for it, and rules that should be set for spring use. People should not be doing laundry near the spring nor should bring their animals to the location.

– Family planning
– Personal hygiene, highlighting handwashing and dental hygiene

During demonstration on handwashing, the facilitator demonstrated the way that most people in the villages wash their hands: He did this by sparingly sprinkling water from a jug on his fingertips. The participants were very amused and requested the facilitator to repeat what he had just done. They confirmed that he was right.

The facilitator then proceeded to show community members the way handwashing should be done. Some of them found the ten steps of handwashing to be very tedious, especially for large families during meal times. However, the trainer emphasized the importance of thorough handwashing with running water and soap and its role in preventing illnesses. He also encouraged them to improvise leaky tins (handwashing stations) instead of depending on a jug that they have to pick up and pour.

Thank You for making all of this possible.

April, 2019: Sichinji Community, Makhatse Spring Project Underway

Dirty water from Makhatse Spring is making people in Sichinji Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to solve this issue by 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 again with news of success!

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: Sichinji Community, Makhatse Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Sichinji 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!

"Before the spring was protected, I could not go to fetch water on my own because I was afraid I might encounter snakes since the area was bushy."

"Now, I am able to fetch water on my own and anytime during the day as the bushes were cleared."

"I am clean as I can easily fetch water for bathing and washing my clothes. I also have clean drinking water."

Triza 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 Sichinji 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 Sichinji 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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