Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 420 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/04/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

"Lack of clean and safe water in this community has been like a thorn in the flesh. We have for decades suffered a lot; premature deaths have always occurred in this community, causing parents to lose their breadwinners and most have ended up spending a lot of resources to cater for medication - leaving them very poor," shared Mr. John Lumbasia.

There are 420 living in Sambuli who drink dirty water on a daily basis. This water comes from Nechesa Spring, a source that has pooled to the surface nearby. The spring is entirely open to all sorts of contamination. It is heartbreaking to see people fetching this water and drinking it immediately without treating it.

Lack of safe water in the community has increased the rates of water-related issues such as typhoid and diarrhea. These issues have kept students out of school, which has negatively impacted their academics. Community members have been forced to use a lot of resources for medication.

Sambuli is a typical rural area, peaceful with the only loud noises coming from the domestic animals and birds. The area is covered with green vegetation and looks very lush. Majority of the buildings are made of mud and roofed with iron sheets. A few are grass-thatched that mostly belong to the older people.

Most of the community members depend on farming produce; vegetables, maize and beans for their own families and the surplus for trade. They also practice poultry production and dairy farming at a small scale.

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.

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

"The current state of hygiene and sanitation in our community is still low," divulged Mrs. Elizabeth Munasia.

"A few homes are forced to go to the bush due to lack of latrines, open defecation is mostly spotted. We have in return suffered a lot and our health status has deteriorated for decades."

Less than 70% of households using Nechesa Spring have their own private place to use the bathroom. The majority of the pit latrines we visited are made of mud, which is extremely difficult to keep clean. The smell is unbearable without ventilation.

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should most 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

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Sambuli Community, Nechesa 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.

Handwashing demonstration

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 Sambuli, Kenya.

We trained more than 27 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.

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.

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.

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.

Homemade facemask tutorial

Participants were particularly curious to know whether bar soap could really destroy or wash away disease-causing agents from hands, since the liquid handwashing soap is very expensive for them. The facilitators explained to the group that it is equally good to wash hands with bar soap following the right procedure and it will kill and wash away all bacteria and viruses just as the liquid soap would.

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.

Prevention reminders chart installed 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.

May, 2019: Sambuli Community, Nechesa Spring Project Complete

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

"Previously we had been waking up early in the morning as early as 5 am so that we could get clean (clear because the mud at the bottom of the spring had not been stirred up with constant use) water to drink, and by the time the sun rises the water is contaminated. This made it difficult for us to carry out our daily activities!" reflected Mrs. Wekesa.

"But with this new water point, we will fetch clean and safe water at any time. As a community, we thank you and urge you to continue with the same spirit of helping others."

The Process:

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, and gravel. Some even made extra efforts to work alongside the artisan after delivering all of the materials. 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. Community members also cleared brush and overgrowth from the area to make the environment safer.

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.

Plastering the stairs

The ceramic tiles installed under the discharge pipe protect the concrete from the erosive force of the falling water and beautify 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.

After the backfilling was done at the reservoir area, the community members were already waiting and ready with poles and nails to help the artisan fence in the area.

The final touches for backfilling the area between the discharge pipe and the spring eye

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

As construction began, we talked to our main contact person concerning the need for hygiene and sanitation training. Mr. Soita is a member of the country assembly and a highly respected leader in Sambuli. He consulted with community members to settle on the most convenient date for training. We encouraged him to invite everyone who would be interested in the training even if he or she is not a user of Nechesa Spring.

It was a sunny morning and due to high temperatures, we carried out a brief onsite training at the spring and then moved to a nearby homestead where we could enjoy the shade of trees.

Participants pose for a quick group picture after onsite training on spring care

Participants learned about:

– Leadership and governance for the spring committee

Community members learned about values that make a good leader, and then they voted on leaders for their new spring water committee. The community members were surprised to see a young man being elected by a high number of people compared to an older man who did not get any votes, and this challenged most of the young people to step up and vie for an important role in managing and protecting their new water source.

– Management and maintenance of the spring

– Family planning
– Personal hygiene, including handwashing

After having helped the community understand what health is, the trainer inquired how people practice good health in their daily lives. Many admitted to not be so aware of their health in their day to day lives. Some admitted to eating food on the farm without washing their hands and even after visiting the toilet. At this point, the trainer introduced handwashing to the community members.

He demonstrated to the participants the correct way of washing hands using running water and soap. The community members were shocked at how they have been washing their hands the wrong way. The ten steps of handwashing amazed them with almost every participant wanting to try them out. Previously, many people had just been dunking their hands in a bowl of water to rinse them.

– Dental hygiene

– Waterborne and water-related disease, along with water treatment methods

"Knowledge is power! The training has greatly empowered us to deal with any challenge concerning hygiene and water safety in our community at large," said Mr. Muyeikho.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

February, 2019: Sambuli Community, Nechesa Spring Project Underway

Dirty water from Nechesa Spring is making people in Sambuli 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 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: Sambuli Community, Nechesa Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Sambuli 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!

"It used to be difficult to get water from the unprotected spring since the terrain was steep and slippery, especially after rain."

"The water was contaminated, but, since we didn't have an alternative source, we used to consume it."

"Now, my siblings and I like making several trips to the protected spring because it is easily accessible, the water is clean, and it was also beautifully constructed."

"We hardly miss school because of sickness related to dirty water, unlike before, when we used to fall sick frequently."

"Since fetching water from the spring is faster, I get time to study at home which has really improved my grades in school."

"The water is safe and clean for drinking which has led to reduced waterborne and water-related diseases like typhoid, diarrhea, and malaria."

"We are now healthy and energetic."

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 Sambuli 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 Sambuli 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.


1 individual donor(s)