Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 280 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/10/2024

Project Features

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An average day in Shisere Community begins at 5:30am when women wake up to do chores and get their children off to school. Morning chores include rushing to the spring to fetch water for drinking and cleaning. Men start by taking care of their domestic animals and later proceed to the farm until afternoon hours when it is too hot to work. The day ends by 8pm when the sun goes down.

People get their water from Francis Atema Spring, which is close to several households. Though the spring is nearby, it's a great struggle to get there after it rains. The ground around the spring gets muddy and slippery.

The water is completely open to contamination and is visibly dirty. The more people who come to fetch water, the more time the next person has to wait for the mud to settle to the bottom again. The community members suffer from water-related diseases after drinking this dirty water and use massive resources to purchase treatment.

"I have for a long period of time suffered in terms of consuming dirty and unsafe water," said Mr. Richard Lijodi.

"Many times I have been diagnosed with typhoid and I have used a lot of resources to cater medication. At last, there is someone who has the interest of people at heart."

What we can do:

"People perish due to lack of information," said Mr. Wendo.

"We are suffering as we do not have adequate information on proper sanitation and hygiene. This has not only rendered our homes unattractive but also majority have reported being sick."


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

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.

We met a 40-year-old father. He is a married man with three children; two boys and one girl. He does not have a pit latrine in his home. When we learned that he does not have a latrine we became curious to know what the family is using for a toilet. When we visited his home we found out that he had dug an open hole that every member of the family is supposed to use.

We were left concerned about how young children use the pit. The pit is large so there's a danger of falling in, and it's open without walls or any structure to make it private.

This problem will soon come to an end since this father's family has already been chosen as one of the sanitation platform recipients.

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 Shisere Community, Francis Atema 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.

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 Shisere, Kenya.

We trained more than 12 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.

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.

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: Shisere Community, Francis Atema Spring Project Complete

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

By the time we arrived at the site, the member of the county assembly had already arrived and was accompanied by community members and local isukuti drum dancers. A brief speech was made by the member, who was extremely happy to see this development in her area. The isukuti dancers were then requested to play local Luhya songs as we all danced around the spring in celebration.

"We are happy and we really appreciate [you] for this project. We also want to thank our area member of the county assembly for working hand in hand with [everyone] during the implementation of this project. At least we are now sure of clean and safe water! As a sign of appreciation, we promise to take good care of this project for as long as we can," said Mr. Atema.

The Process

The community worked alongside our artisan to make this spring protection successful, gathering supplementary materials like sand and stones and making meals for the work team.

The spring area was excavated with jembes, hoes, and spades to create space for setting the foundation of plastic, wire mesh, and concrete. Cement, waterproof coating, ballast, and sand were mixed together to make a very strong foundation.

Brickwork started whereby the artisan took all of the required measurements of the spring structure before proceeding with the work. Construction of the superstructure continued with fixing the discharge pipe in the brick wall. Stairs were built on one side of the spring to allow in and out movement by users.

Community members continued to use the unprotected spring water even during construction

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 pipe 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.

Plastic 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 MCA communicated to the area chief about or need to train, and then he spoke to the village elder about going around and inviting all of the community members to attend. The great involvement of local leadership in this project yielded a high turnout. Our hygiene and sanitation training was held at Mr. Atema's homestead since he is obviously the person living closest to the spring site. He had plenty of room outside under some shade trees, so this location provided both comfort and convenience for the participants.

There was a huge turnout for training

There were dozens of adults and children eager and waiting to learn!

Participants learned about topics including:

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

Community members learning about how spring protection works and how to best care for it

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

The facilitator started out this topic by giving one participant the opportunity to demonstrating handwashing the way he does it daily. He went ahead and did it, and all the other participants confirmed that they also do it the same way. The facilitator then went ahead to demonstrate the proper way and each step of handwashing. They were all amazed by the ten steps!

Participants kept on laughing at their local leaders who were struggling to master the ten steps. At the end, one participant volunteered to guide the MCA slowly, step by step. In appreciation, the MCA joked about paying him to remind her of the ten steps on a weekly basis.

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

"Apart from enabling us to access clean water, [you have] also taken us through training that will really help the people of this village to observe hygiene, and I believe this will help us to keep away diseases like cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and diarrhea. May God bless the organizers, facilitators, and even the participants for making this day a success," said Mr. Khayumbi.

Thank You for making all of this possible!

April, 2019: Shisere Community, Francis Atema Spring Project Underway

Dirty water from Francis Atema Spring is making people in Shisere 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: Shisere Community, Francis Atema Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shisere 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 project, accessing water at this water source was so devastating."

"We were forced to scoop water slowly so that it did not get dirty before one filled a jerrican; this led to time wastage."

"During this period, being sick and going to the hospital due to contracting waterborne and water-related diseases such as typhoid and diarrhea was a usual thing. It was indeed a frustrating moment."

"Now, it's so easy to draw clean and safe water flowing from the discharge pipe, time is well utilized to undertake other duties which result in overall family growth."

"People are healthy and the resources that used to cater to medications have been diverted to other development activities."

"Due to COVID-19, the clean and safe water flowing has enabled us to wash our hands frequently and boosted our hygiene and sanitation standards."

"The protection of the spring has widened my scope of thinking. I am conscious of development activities, and I am able to engage in small business activities which is the initiative of the small group formed during the water user committee training."

"I have personally improved on hygiene and sanitation standards, thus good health is my portion."

Mary with Field Officer Jacky Chelagat

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 Shisere 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 Shisere 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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