Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/16/2024

Project Features

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It was a bright and sunny morning the day we most recently visited Sambaka Village. We first learned about Sambaka Village's main water source, Sambaka Spring, during the training at nearby Wasike Spring. It was there that a Sambaka community member met our team of field officers and requested them to visit their unprotected spring, and we have been working with Sambaka Village ever since.

Sambaka Spring has enough water for the 350 community members who depend on it, but it is not safe for drinking purposes due to its openness to contamination. The spring is not very far from homesteads and the spring is accessible to everyone. The way leading to the spring is not that busy, and both the old and the young can access water without any problem.

The community members come with containers that are often dirty to draw water, which contributes to further contamination. Community members have to get inside the spring and dip their containers into the water, some using smaller jugs or cups to fill bigger containers. This stirs up the mud and makes the water murky.

Community members have suffered for a long time due to the spring not being protected, with typhoid as the main waterborne disease making people sick.

“Personally I have had several challenges, [as] we have spent a lot of money and time [on] treating our children [from waterborne illnesses]," said Syphorose Mamati, a farmer and mother who lives in the village.

"I will be so grateful if our spring will be protected."

In this community, the majority of people use pit latrines with superstructures made of different materials, including mud walls and iron sheets, dried grasses, or anything else that will provide privacy. There is water around some of the latrines for handwashing using a tippy tap. Most community members expressed their stress, however, that they had never had any information shared with them regarding health education, hygiene, or maintenance of their latrines.

"We as the people of Sambaka community have suffered a lot due to lack of access to clean drinking water and sanitation," said Denial Major, a farmer and father in Samabaka.

"Addressing sanitation challenges here will improve livelihoods and our life will not be the same again."

Sambaka community is a traditional rural settlement whose farm holdings have gradually decreased due to the subdivision of land. The community is very peaceful and unified, as evidenced by the calls we would get from neighbors whose own water source was protected, but who were worried about their neighbors who were still dependent on unprotected Sambaka Spring.

This location experiences both short and long periods of rain, unlike the rest of the area. This has made the area very green in terms of vegetation. Most families are small scale farmers, growing maize, sugarcane, beans, and sweet potatoes. Hence, families' food provision is at the core of their activities. Some of the buildings in the village are mud-walled while others are made of brick walls with iron sheet roof and separate, grass-thatched kitchens.

A typical day here starts at 5:00 am when most people wake up to prepare their children to go to school. Then at around 6:30 am the adults proceed to their farms until 10:00 am, when women come back home to do domestic chores like cleaning, fetching water, cooking, and grazing their cattle. At around 3:30 pm at the start of sunset, the women start preparing for dinner while men will walk to the market to go and socialize with other men. After dinner, women will sit around the table for discussions and prayers. The men come home anytime between 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm and the women are expected to still be awake to serve them food. After that, everyone can now retire to bed.

What we can do:

Spring Protection

Protecting the spring will help provide access to cleaner and safer water. 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 task carried out by women and young girls. In Sambaka as in so many places in this region, this is especially true as more value is put on boys' futures, so they end up being the ones who continue in school. Girls are therefore left at home and are responsible for often doing as many chores as adult women. Protecting the spring and offering training and support will, therefore, help empower the female members of the community by freeing up more of their time and energy to engage and invest in income-generating activities.


Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least 2 days. This training will ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance. The facilitator plans to use Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST), Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), 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 is consumed. We will also emphasize the importance of handwashing.

Training will result in the formation of a committee that will oversee the operations and maintenance of 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 channels. 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 5 families that should benefit from new concrete latrine floors. Training will inform the community and selected families on what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, including bricks, clean sand, and gravel. The 5 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

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Sambaka Community, Sambaka 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 Karen demonstrates a new way of greeting from afar

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 Sambaka, Kenya.

Trainer Erick leads the handwashing demonstration

We trained more than 63 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Before there were any reported cases in the area, we worked with trusted community leaders and the Water User Committee to gather community members for the training.

Trainer Karen encourages everyone to repeat the 10 handwashing steps

At the time, social distancing was a new concept, and one that challenges cultural norms. Although community members were hesitant to adopt social distancing during the training, we sensitized them on its importance and effectiveness in combating the spread of the virus.

Erick uses a leaky tin handwashing station and shows how to make it

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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

Trainer Karen shows how to cough or sneeze into the elbow

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.

Erick installs the prevention reminders chart 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.

Erick listens to a question during the question and answer forum

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.

An elder reads an informational pamphlet on COVID-19

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.

January, 2020: Sambaka Community, Sambaka Spring Project Complete!

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

Community member splashes the group as they celebrate the new 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. On the first day of excavation at Sambaka Spring, the work began by the young men clearing the area using jembes, slashers, and pangas. It was during this step that we found a large snake lurking in the bushes we were clearing! This was a perfect example of the types of dangers and challenges at the unprotected spring we can help to reduce and remove through clearing the surrounding area and protecting the water source.

With improved site management practices such as keeping vegetation to a minimum around the spring, dangers like the surprise of this snake can be minimized while fetching water

The excavation created 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.

Artisan works on the headwall while community members help assemble bricks

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.

Artisans shape the stairs and drainage channel

The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a thick plastic tarp to prevent potential sources of contamination. The only challenge to this project was that there was a lot of rain that interfered with the construction and delayed the artisan slightly. All work came to an end eventually, however, it took about 2 weeks of patience for the concrete to dry.

The spring nears completion as community members help plant grass, dig drainage channels, and clean the spring steps

There was no formal handing over ceremony held at this new water point, but after the training the facilitators allowed the community members to officially start using the water without restrictions to anyone. Members of the community were urged to be kind even to those who had not contributed to the project and to not restrict them from fetching water, but to use the water as a united community.

Women ready to take their clean spring water home for the first time

Community members expressed how glad they were for the project and shared their hope that it will positively impact their health and economic situation. This is because, as they explained, community members will now be able to access safe and clean drinking water unlike before, thus improving their health and preventing unnecessary resources being used on settling hospital bills that were as a result of consuming contaminated water.

''This new water point is so nice and will promote healthy living in this community. We are now sure that we are consuming safe and clean water. Thank you so much," said Melisa Alfayo, a farmer in the community.

Sanitation Platforms

All 5 sanitation platforms have been installed. These 5 families are happy 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.

Community member stands tall as a proud new owner of a sanitation platform

New Knowledge

The facilitator in charge of the training, Betty Majani, informed our main contact person in Sambaka, Mr. Daniel Barasa, as well as the village elder that there would be a training session available to all community members. Betty emphasized the slogan "tell a friend to tell a friend" in her recruitment to get the highest number of participants possible. Mr. Barasa, a local leader who would end up being elected Treasurer of the water committee, was tasked with organizing the training. He gave us the community’s preferred date for training, for he was very much aware of the community calendar when it comes to planting season and other big events.

It was a bright, sunny day when facilitators conducted the training at Mr. Barasa's home under a tree. 22 community members turned up for the training, which was a great turnout and more than we were at first expecting. The fact that we conducted the training under a tree was so nice because there was fresh air circulating all over and the light was enough for those who were taking notes, thus making the environment so conducive to learning.

Training kicks off led by Facilitator Betty Majani

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.

The attendees were so active and one could easily tell from the way they were asking facilitators questions during the session that they were keen on learning every detail within each topic. Community members participated fully, including being willing to volunteer with hesitation when called upon for demonstrations.

Trainer Betty leads site management training at the newly completed spring

The Hygiene and Health Promotion session was a very enjoyable session during which we covered the 10 steps of handwashing. When we asked volunteers to demonstrate the proper method, they were able to do so until everyone could demonstrate they had mastered the new concept. This made the session so special and everyone became very happy when all the attendees were involved.

''I really want to thank you for this wonderful provision of the spring and training that you have granted to us. This will definitely curb cases of waterborne diseases in this community that we have had for decades. May God bless you so much,'' said David Sinino, who was voted Secretary of the water committee.

The water committee that was established agreed to start meeting once per month and to support each other financially using the ideas for economic development we covered in training. They will also save some money for the future maintenance of the spring.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

December, 2019: Sambaka Community, Sambaka Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Sambaka Spring is making people in Sambaka 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. Learn more here!

Giving Update: Sambaka Community, Sambaka Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Sambaka 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 it was protected, my mum never allowed me to fetch water from the spring."

"She claimed that I would bring her dirty water since I would not know how to draw it carefully, thus making it even dirtier."

"Right now, I can access the water easily using the staircase, draw, and carry it home without help from anyone. It is very easy.

"It also helps me exercise during this period of coronavirus when schools are closed. Walking up and down the spring is good exercise."

"The spring being protected has enabled me to also participate in house chores by fetching water. This makes me proud that I can help out."

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 Sambaka 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 Sambaka 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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