Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 294 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/11/2023

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

An average day in Chegulo begins early at 6 am in the morning when women wake up and work with their children to do some morning chores including going to the spring for water. The men wake up and head straight to the sugarcane plantation to work. Wives later join their husbands on the farm.

The spring women frequent throughout the day is called Sembeya Spring. It is the closest, most convenient place to get water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. But it was very sad to see people from the community filling their containers with this water. The water is filthy, as it is open to all kinds of contamination.

It also takes a long time to fetch water. The more people dunking their containers under the surface, the muckier the water gets. This forces women to wait several minutes until the water has cleared.

These 294 people regularly content with water-related sicknesses like typhoid. A lot of their resources are spent on treatment.

What we can do:

"I am more than excited to know that my spring will be protected and the entire community will access clean and safe water. My people's lifespans will increase, thus my happiness for decades," said Mrs. Ayieta, the woman we met fetching water at Sembeya Spring.

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.


"The level of sanitation and hygiene in this community is really wanting - as apart from accessing dirty water, most homes lack proper information on sanitation and hygiene. This has really been a threat to our health," said Mr. Khatere.

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

Less than 60% of households have their own pit latrines. Those who don't have one share with their neighbor. The latrines we observed are in poor condition and threaten their users. The floors suspended over the pits put the users at risk of falling through.

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.

Project Updates

December, 2019: Chegulo Community, Sembeya Spring Project Complete!

Chegulo Community now has access to clean water! Sembeya Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of water thanks to your donation. We protected the spring, provided 5 sanitation platforms to different households in the community, and we trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices.

Field Officer Betty gives a thumbs up for her approval of the newly protected Sembeya Spring

Spring Protection

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, including bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, stones, and fencing poles. Accommodations and meals were provided for the artisan, too.

The Process

Women and men lent their strength to the artisan to help him with manual labor. The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of thick plastic tarp, 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.

Community members help move a large stone from the unprotected spring

As the wing walls and headwall were curing, 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.

Team Leader Catherine Chepkemoi inspecting the artisan's work

The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a thick plastic tarp to prevent potential sources of contamination. It took about 2 weeks of patience for the concrete to dry.

Community celebrates the spring

As soon as it was ready, people got the okay from our field officers to begin fetching clean water. We met them there to celebrate this momentous occasion.

"Who could have imagined that one day our water spring will be protected. We are so happy that we shall draw water from a protected spring. We will ensure that no one interferes with it," said local farmer Monica Ombaka.

Young boy enjoying the spring water

Sanitation Platforms

All 5 sanitation platforms have been installed. These 5 families are overjoyed about this milestone of having a private latrine of their own and are optimistic that people will no longer leave waste outdoors. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

"Thanks to The Water Project. God bless you for making a difference in the lives of this community," said one family who are now the proud owners of a new sanitation platform.

New Knowledge

Julias Khatela, who would become the Chair of the water committee for Semebya Spring, along with the spring's landowner Mr. Joel Sembeya were tasked with organizing the training. They gave us the community’s preferred date for training, for they were very much aware of the community calendar when it comes to planting season and other big events.

At least 15 people attended training, which was a slightly lower number than we had expected. As it turns out, many community members had gone to the market in Malava to buy a few household requirements for their families. The weather was fairly good because it was not too hot. We carried out our training at Mr. Sembeya's homestead under a mango tree. The place was conducive for the training since there was no noise at all and the shade was awesome.

Field Officer Betty leads the training session while a community member stands to answer a question

We covered several topics including leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; and the prevention and spread of disease. We also covered water treatment methods, personal care like handwashing, environmental hygiene, hygiene promotion, and many other things.

Betty leads the group in the proper handwashing motions

During the leadership and governance session, the facilitator started by asking the participants who a leader is. The responses included "a person who gives direction," "someone who is given responsibility to lead others," and "the head of a particular group or department."

The facilitator thanked them all for their responses and added to their definitions, saying that a leader is a person who gives their best and goes out of their way to get the best for the people they lead. We then went over the specific responsibilities and expectations of each leadership position on the water committee, namely the chair, secretary, and treasurer.

The functions of the leaders made this topic interesting when members wanted to know if our team would be giving the treasurer money to keep on behalf of the community members. We had to shed more light on how the money will be raised from the community members themselves through monthly contributions and the many ways other communities have collected and managed their funds.

Site management training at the spring

While discussing dental hygiene, most of the community members admitted they did not brush their teeth as required. They shared how they used different combinations of warm water, sand, ash, and salt to brush their teeth without knowing about or having access to toothpaste. We advised all the participants to continue not using soap because some have chemicals that are harmful to their gums, and instead we advised them to use salt if accessing toothpaste is a challenge.

"On behalf of these community members I want to thank God for directing you to this village, those people who are not with us have really missed [out]. Personally [I] have learned a lot at my old age. I am going to preach the gospel of sanitation in every meeting that I will attend starting [with] my own family. Thanks so much," said a grateful 77-year-old Mr. Sembeya.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

November, 2019: Chegulo Community, Sembeya Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Sembeya Spring is making people in Chegulo sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install 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.

Giving Update: Chegulo Community, Sembeya Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Chegulo Community 4.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Chegulo Community 4 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 was never easy to draw water from here before it was constructed."

"I would scoop all the dirt that was in the water and so the water ended up being dirty."

"On many occasions, I would take too long to bring water home and that would mean my mum getting angry with me."

"Since the project, life has really changed."

"I get to the spring and just place a bucket at the pipe to draw water. I get home pretty fast since the water flows fast to fill the bucket."

"My grandfather uses the water to irrigate his yams that he grows next to the spring area."

Mark with Field Officer Lillian 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 Chegulo Community 4 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 Chegulo Community 4 – 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.