Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/03/2024

Project Features

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A day in Buhayi village begins early in the morning when children start preparing for school. Women ensure the house chores are done, including cleaning the compound, utensils, and animal pen. Water is fetched early in the morning so as to enable all other activities that need water. Also, early morning is the best time to work because the weather is still cool.

Other activities that fill the day are planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops. Farming is the common livelihood here. Vegetables, beans, and groundnuts are sold at the local market. Some families also have livestock and poultry so they can sell milk and eggs too.

But upon arrival at the water source the 175 people living here use, it was very clear that people are drinking dirty water. Nasichundukha Spring is at the bottom of a slope which means contaminants eventually wash in. Soil erodes into the water, nearby farming fertilizers wash down the slope when it rains, and people dunking their unwashed containers under the surface further contaminates the water.

When we visited, we found a girl washing her laundry uphill from the spring. These contaminants lead to illnesses like typhoid.

There are various negative consequences of safe water scarcity, which include loss of income or job due to illness. People miss out on earning income, going to school, and working the farm to feed their families. A lot of money is lost in treating these illnesses, and this affects the normal functioning of the family.

"My children have failed at times to attend school due to stomachaches. I felt sorry for the eldest son who missed an exam because of being hospitalized with diarrhea. This is very sad and this is only my family. What of the other families? This means that many people suffer and it's only the protection of the spring that can rescue all of us," said Mr. Sifuna.

What we can do:

Spring Protection

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.

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. There will be stairs down to the collection point and a pipe that can easily fill water containers. 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.


"I have been living in this community for quite some time, for about 15 years now. We have a problem with maintaining our sanitation and hygiene it is very poor. Many of my community members are very careless with the way hygiene is carried out, ignorance is why and we need to be enlightened. This will help in minimizing the rate at which our children are getting sick with diarrhea and stomachaches," said Mrs. Wekulo in expectation of training.

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

Around half of the households using Nasichundukha Spring have a pit latrine of their own. Those who don't have a good place to use the bathroom share with their neighbors, but those latrines aren't always accessible. The latrines we were able to visit are made of mud and wood, which means they cannot be cleaned with water. Pouring water on the wood and mud floors compromises their integrity and endangers the user. There is a big chance of the pit latrine users falling through the floor to the pit.

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should most benefit from new cement 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

August, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Joseph Sifuna Wekesa

This post is part of a new series by The Water Project meant to highlight the perspectives and experiences of the people we serve and how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting them. We invite you to read more of their stories here.

Our team recently visited Buhayi to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point, Nasichundukha Spring. Shortly after, we returned to check in on the community, offer a COVID-19 refresher training, and ask how the pandemic is affecting community members' lives.

It was during this most recent visit that Joseph Sifuna Wekesa shared his story of how the coronavirus is impacting his life. At 64-year-old, Joseph is a farmer, father, cattle trader, and landowner of Nasichundukha Spring where he and his family go for all of their daily water needs. Dedicated to ensuring the spring's longevity and accessibility to all, Joseph also serves as Chair of the spring's water user committee.

Joseph Sifuna Wekesa

Community Engagement Officer Jemmimah Khasoha met Joseph outside his home to conduct the interview. Both Jemmimah and Joseph observed physical distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. The following is Joseph's story, in his own words.

Joseph explains how fetching water has changed in his community since the protection of Nasichundukha Spring, and how the pandemic has impacted his cattle trading business.

"One thing that has changed is in this community since the installation of this water point is cleanliness and having peace. Initially, most households did not have handwashing stations in their compound due to insufficient clean and safe water. Also, peace was lacking because the community members would fight at the spring. Everyone was in need of clean water, and since they used to have to scoop it [from the ground], it was not easy to maintain cleanliness, thus bringing chaos every other time.

Having enough clean water has helped us so much in the following ways: washing hands, washing masks, and also cleaning surfaces. This has helped us prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Joseph at the spring with 2 of his youngest sons, who are helping him collect water for his cows to drink.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, fetching water changed whereby individuals were advised to be queueing [instead of grouping] whenever they are more than 1 at the water point. There is no idling or storytelling at the spring as it initially was.

The COVID-19 outbreak has really impacted our lives negatively as a family. Economically, the small businesses I used to do to support my family dropped. This is because many people do not have money to support the business. The little money people get is to buy food for their family.

Joseph at home with family.

COVID-19 has also affected children's education for they are not going to school. This has also affected parents because controlling their movements is not easy. There is a fear is that the children are becoming restless, thus they could be high chances of spreading the virus.

Joseph uses clean water from the spring to quench his cattle's thirst.

The activities and the things we are doing to stop the spread of COVID-19 are: we have put up handwashing stations so we may wash hands as many times as possible; putting on a mask every time we are leaving home to go where there's a gathering; and while in a multitude of people, we ensure we are keeping a distance from one another, especially during funerals. People have also been advised to stay at home, especially when they do not have an urgent thing to attend to.

Joseph washes his hands with soap and clean water from the spring using a leaky tin handwashing station he set up outside his home.

The most helpful part that we received during [your team's COVID-19] training was mask-making. Because the law is to ensure every individual wears a mask while in a public place, we are all able to afford one, for we are able to make it.

Comunity Engagement Officer Jemmimah conducts the interview with Joseph and camera operator Allan Amadaro.

The greatest restriction that I was excited to see lifted was the reopening of churches. Yes, it has not been fully opened, but the shorter time and people that are allowed per sitting has really made us have time to worship. This is a great relief for with God, everything is possible."

I am still looking forward to kids going back to school so as to help them in getting knowledge, and borders to be opened so as to enable us to continue to get our businesses running."

September, 2019: Buhayi Community, Nasichundukha Spring Project Complete!

Buhayi Community now has access to clean water! Nasichundukha 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.

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

Community members in Buhayi were ready to get out of their comfort zones to get to work and see their spring protected. Women and men lent their strength to the artisan to help him with manual labor. Our team was impressed by various community members who brought bricks and fence poles without being paid, and by the committee that they had pre-chosen to ensure construction work and materials preparation would be done on time.

This leadership made it very easy, later on, to teach about leadership and governance, for already the community had chosen their leaders who were doing a wonderful job.

Many community members turned out to help with construction

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.

Artisan works on the rub wall; behind him, the 2 discharge pipes and headwall

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.

Community members assists by passing the tiles to the artisan

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. There were no delays experienced during the construction of this spring and this made the workflow easily.

"This is the best group that I have ever worked with," said Field Officer Jemmimah Kasoha.

"Mobilization of materials was super [easy] and they showed the greatest level of unity and cooperation. A fence of strong trees was made and [they] also planted of grass. This was an activity that was done by both men and women who happily did [it] with great joy that they now have clean water. They went further and planted beautiful flowers which will make the spring neat and well kept as [a] live fence. They have also put [in] a huge cut-off drainage [trench] which will help in preventing soil erosion to 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.  It was so humbling to hear community members speak blessings and they asked us to continue with the same heart of service to all. One member prayed and asked God to always protect us as we move from one place to another as we give many other people water.

"This water point was really in [a] bad state and we did not believe it [would] have this great look," said Joseph Wekulo, a farmer in the community.

"We have suffered for quite some time because many people used to come and promised to protect it but in vain...Many of our children have had multiple days absent from school due to sicknesses, especially stomachaches, which we believe...came from this dirty water. Now [I] am a proud member who has got clean, safe, and sufficient water. We promise to take good care of it so we [can] drink clean and safe water always."

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.

New Knowledge

Mr. Joseph Sifuna Wekesa was tasked with organizing the training. He gave us the community’s preferred date for training, for as the spring's landowner he was very much aware of the community calendar when it comes to planting season and other big events.

30 people attended training, with the majority being women but also including men and children. Attendance was strong and as expected. The training was held at Mr. Wekesa's homestead, which is only 30 meters away from the spring. The weather was sunny and pleasant, and participants sat comfortably on plastic chairs under a tree. The training went well and even included some participants from other villages whom we had met during the construction process. The community members invited these guests to their training to learn more about the work that had been done, and to make connections for a possible future project in their community.

COmmunity member responds to 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.

The artisan joins the conversation at training

The whole session was very interactive. The participants were articulate and quick to ask and answer questions, despite some needing translators for they spoke neither English nor Kiswahili. This showed that the training was important to attendees and they were focused the whole day. People showed particular interest in handwashing, hygiene, and socio-economic empowerment.

Handwashing practice

During the site management portion of training, which was held at the spring itself, we asked for a demonstration of how the women typically mount and carry water on their heads. After they showed how they might put the container on the wing walls or the discharge pipe before getting it to their heads, we discussed why these practices were discouraged since they could damage the spring. Everyone agreed to do their best to avoid this method and to instead use the stairs or a friend's help to get their water up.

Another thing that made this topic special was that the community members were so bright in understanding that the flowers they had planted were multi-purpose. They would help beautify the spring, but they would also create a more permanent live-fence should the wooden one they erected ever break or be taken down. This was excellent site management and should help maintain the long-term protection of the spring.

Training complete!

When discussing water use, one participant by the name of Nelson Mmusi asked if it is wrong to drink more water now that it is more easily available. Nelson explained that he typically drinks 4 liters in a day because of the heavy construction work he does. Many community members were amused at Nelson's comments because some had never had even 1 glass of water a day. Nelson was one special case who already knew the real metabolic importance of taking enough water for the body.

"The topics taught are all touching me personally and [I] am happy that I will be able to pass the knowledge to my family and my neighbors who were not able to attend the training," Nelson said. "[The training on the] steps of handwashing, leadership and governance, and food security will greatly change my life."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

September, 2019: Buhayi Community, Nasichundukha Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Nasichundukha Spring is making people in Buhayi 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

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: Buhayi Community, Nasichundukha Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Buhayi 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 was not easy to get water from this source before it was protected because the area around the spring was bushy and I had fears of going to the spring alone."

"The spring was in a pathetic state; the area around the spring was so muddy and we used to step in the water while collecting it."

"Now, it is easier because the area around the spring is clean. Also, it is easier to fetch water from this water point because we have the staircase and the water point was well constructed and is very beautiful."

"The time that was wasted at the spring has been recovered because I have enough time for my homework."

"Also, the money that was used for medication has been recovered and is used in the small business that my parents have started."

Clean water flows 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 Buhayi 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 Buhayi 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.