Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 08/07/2023

Project Features

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An average day for most of the 210 people living in Shamiloli begins at 6 am when mothers prepare their kids for school and then start engaging in other daily activities like cleaning and fetching water. Fathers wake up and head to their farms or other income-generating activities until 5 pm when everyone retires for the evening.

The most common crops are sugarcane and banana. Other families specialize in the rearing of dairy animals and pigs.

But these important income-generating opportunities are often disrupted by illnesses. One big factor of these illnesses is the dirty water that's being consumed on a daily basis. Water is fetched from Kwasasala Spring, an open contaminated source in the community. The water itself is visibly dirty as algae and leaves float on the surface.

Since the banks can get extraordinarily muddy and slippery, community members suspended a log platform over one edge to stand on while fetching water. Containers are dunked directly under the surface until full.

According to the community members, unsafe drinking water from this spring has resulted in outbreaks of typhoid, diarrhea, and bilharzia that have claimed the lives of many community members. A lot of resources have been used to treat family members - which economically affects each family and the community as a whole.

"The problem of unsafe drinking water in this community has increased our poverty index. The little money we get mostly goes to the hospital to treat our loved ones. Developments for us have also stagnated because we use most of the family resource for medication," said Mr. Mambili.

"If this spring is protected all this menace will be curbed and our community will heal."

When doing the baseline survey the community members were not willing to cooperate with us because they claimed that about two years ago a different organization came to the community and wanted to protect the spring, and asked the community to contribute a certain amount of money as part of their contribution towards the project. The community members then contributed money and gave it to the field officer who never came back. The community vowed not to trust anyone again.

We talked to them in detail, explaining our ethics and our intentions for the community until they gained our trust and allowed us to do the baseline survey - and they promised to cooperate towards the project's success.

What we can do:

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.


"In this community, many of my fellow community members have not taken hygiene and sanitation seriously," said Mrs. Ayemba.

"Some is due to ignorance while others do not have the information of good hygiene practices. This has resulted in many illnesses. We are also requesting the organization to keep on visiting us and teach us on matters hygiene and sanitation."

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

In most of the toilets we visited in the community, the area inside was a mess. When they were asked how often they clean the toilets, they reported that they usually sweep them at least once a week. Water is not used to clean the latrines because the floors are either made of mud or wood. If the wood gets wet, there's a chance it will rot out from under the latrine user.

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

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Shamiloli Community, Kwasasala 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.

Reviewing the prevention reminders chart

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 Shamiloli, Kenya.

Participants show the informational pamphlets on COVID-19 they received at training

We trained more than 22 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.

Trainer Janet leads a handwashing demonstration

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.


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.

An elder practicing the 10 steps of handwashing

"None of them knew that a face mask was that simple to make using a small piece of cloth, a needle, and thread. Henceforth, they will sew the masks and ensure that they wear them every time they leave their homes," said trainer Janet Kayi.

Social distancing check

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.

Cough and sneeze into the elbow

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.

September, 2019: Shamiloli Community, Kwasasala Spring Project Complete!

Shamiloli Community now has access to clean water! Kwasasala 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.

Thank you St. Therese Foundation!

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 involvement of the local village headsman made resource mobilization easy for this project.

Delivering sand to the construction site

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.

Working through the mud to redirect the water to allow construction to begin

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.

Setting bricks, measuring progress

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. The community has already taken the initiative of fencing the upstream area of the spring and also made an assurance that any person who may be found guilty of any act to destroy any part of the spring shall pay equally for the damage. They have also planted grass to prevent erosion.

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. (You can watch a video of the gathering on the Photos tab!)

"The water collection and development of the spring will greatly help us from going long distances to look for water," said Mrs. Sabina Munyasa, a teacher in the area. "It will also improve our health standards as the water quality is safe and clear to use. It thus poses no risk to our health. The finances spent on treatment will also go down."

Sanitation Platforms

All 5 sanitation platforms have been installed. Mrs. Phanice Ayemba, a teacher from the village who initially lacked safe sanitation facilities, was full of genuine smiles after she became the owner of a new sanitation platform for her household. Phanice, along with the 4 other families selected by their own village, is 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.

New sanitation platforms ready for use

New Knowledge

Ebby Andole was tasked with organizing the training and gave us the community’s preferred date for training, for Ebby was very much aware of the community calendar when it comes to planting season and other big events.

24 people attended training, which was held inside one of the participants' homes due to rain. The participants were very active all day, especially the women, who were very willing and ready to answer questions. They were also keen on participating at different levels in demonstrations when needed.

Community member answers a question during training

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.

Handwashing demonstration

Our session on handwashing and oral hygiene was very special as the participants came up front to demonstrate the proper handwashing and toothbrushing techniques. Though they got lost at first, they came to find the process easy and fascinating.

In our discussion on leadership and governance, it was fun to see that most attendees did not know they already had the qualities to lead others. These included traits that we discussed like having a vision for their community and exemplifying honesty, love, and trustworthiness, among others. It was exciting to watch the community discuss these characteristics and then elect from their group who would lead their water committee to help take care of the spring.

"The project will greatly benefit our lives and the entire community at large since the water will be readily available and safe for use. We will no longer go [far] to look for water," said farmer Mrs. Phanice Ayemba.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

September, 2019: Shamiloli Community, Kwasasala Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Kwasasala Spring is making people in Shamiloli Community 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 Videos

Project Photos

Project Type

Protected Spring

In many communities, natural springs exist as water flows from cracks in rocky ground or the side of a hill.  Springs provide reliable water but that doesn’t mean safe. When left open they become contaminated by surface contamination, animal and human waste and rain runoff. The solution is to protect the source. First, you excavate around the exact source area of the spring. Then, you build a protective reservoir for water flow, which pours through a reinforced pipe in a concrete headwall to a paved collection area. Safe water typically flows year-round and there is very limited ongoing maintenance needed!

Giving Update: Shamiloli Community, Kwasasala Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shamiloli 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, children of my age were not allowed to go to the unprotected spring alone for fear of drowning. The area around the spring was muddy and slippery, too."

"Since the protection of Kwasasala Spring, I go to the spring by myself and make uncountable trips to get water for my parents. It's easy and fast to fetch water."

"The water is safe and clean for drinking and for other family cleaning activities. The installed stairs have also made it easier to access the spring."

"I always make sure that our handwashing station is filled with clean water from the spring so that my family members and I can wash our hands regularly to prevent diseases like diarrhea, and the coronavirus."

Joseph with community member Ebby 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 Shamiloli 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 Shamiloli 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.


St. Therese Foundation