Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 119 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/07/2023

Project Features

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The village of Bukhaywa is highly vegetated with different crops grown on farms. The grass and trees grow tall and green since the rainy season is here. The buildings are a mix of mud-walled and grass-thatched, semi-permanent, and permanent structures, with one home compound often encompassing buildings of each type. The nearby market place is noisy since trading is taking place, but it gets quieter as you go into the homesteads and the farmlands. The houses are kept clean and neat. Nearby, there is both a primary and secondary school.

Here in Bukhaywa, the father is expected to earn the money to feed the family while the mother helps to raise and take care of the children and the homestead. The older children also help with what they can through small businesses like kiosks and brick making. This community grows maize and vegetables as the main crops. Sugarcane is also grown and sold to the nearby market or to brokers who take it to the factories to be turned into molasses or refined sugar. The people here seem very close to one another. Everyone knows their neighbor by name and what they do for a living.

The average day in Bukhaywa starts as early as 6:00 am. The mother is the first to wake up and milks the cows. She prepares breakfast and ensures the children are ready for school. The father then wakes up to eat and leave for the farm. Next, the mother goes to Ashikhanga Spring for water which will be used for that day. She will be among the 119 people who depend on the spring for their water every day. She then goes to the farm as well to perform her duties. At midday, she returns home to make lunch for the younger children who leave school at 1:00 pm. The older ones will join them later in the evening. The day will end at 4:00 pm where everyone returns home for evening tea with maize and beans as they share about their day's experience around the kitchen fire.

At Ashikhanga Spring, the water is dirty and has visible algae growing in it. Animals graze close to the spring, meaning the rains carry animal waste into the open water source. The spring has a lot of water and never dries up, even during the harshest of dry seasons such as this last year, one of the driest seasons on record in Kenya. This makes it a great candidate for protection.

When the other springs dry up in the area, however, the number of members accessing water from Ashikhanga Spring increases tremendously, which causes congestion. This means long lines and wasted time. This is because the method of water collection takes some bit of time. People must carefully balance on a rock placed for access, dip their container into the water until it is halfway full, then finish filling it up using a jug by scooping water and pouring it into their larger jerrycan until it is full.

This also results in contaminated water as people dunk their hands, containers, and sometimes feet into the very water they are trying to collect. When the lines get too long, people sacrifice how much water they collect and are not able to meet all of their needs. This results in poor hygiene practices such as failure to bathe twice a day, cleaning the house daily, or missing any other personal hygiene practices that require water.

At home, drinking water is stored in traditional clay pots, which are largely preferred by community members here since it is believed that the pots make the water taste much better and keep it cold.

"If it wasn't for the chlorine dispenser that was provided for us next to the spring, we would be suffering from more cases of waterborne diseases," said Carolyne Makhavali, a farmer and mother in the village. Even with the chlorine, however, waterborne illnesses are far too common here, and rob people of their health, time, energy, and money as they pay for medicine and treatment.

"As you can see the presence of algae and it is continuously growing, we would appreciate the help to protect this spring so that we can access clean and safe water."

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 a task predominantly carried out by women and young girls. 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

September, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Isabella Amagua

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

It was during this most recent visit that Isabella Amagua shared her story of how the coronavirus is impacting her life. Isabella is a 29-year-old farmer and mother living in Bukhaywa.

Isabella Amagua looks out from the front door of her home in Bukhaywa as she watches her kids play.

Isabella is invested in preserving the safe and clean water at Ashikhanga Spring, which is why she serves as Secretary of the spring's water user committee. The elected committee members work together to help manage the water point's maintenance and care, and inspire their neighbors to do the same. Field Officer Georgina Kamau Wanjiru, who met Isabella outside her home to conduct the interview, noted that  Ashikhanga Spring is indeed in excellent condition, and its environment clean. A clear sign of an active and respected water user committee, Georgina noted.

Isabella with her daughters and other community members at Ashikhanga Spring. The COVID-19 prevention reminders chart hangs on the spring's fence from our first sensitization training in Bukhaywa when the pandemic began.

As a mother, Isabella has been torn throughout the pandemic between trying to go about her daily work and trying to watch her kids at home to keep them safe. All children are home from school due to Kenya's national coronavirus-related school closures, which impact both adults and children. Isabella's dilemma with rearranging her work-life balance is felt the world over, as so many families try to adjust routines and expectations for everyday life. Still, it isn't easy.

Isabella shares what has changed in her community since the protection of Ashikhanga Spring, and how the pandemic has changed her work-life balance.

Both Georgina and Isabella observed physical distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. The following is Isabella's story, in her own words.

Isabella sits for her interview conducted by Field Officer Georgina Kamau Wanjiru and camera operator Allan Amadaro.

"Waterborne diseases such as typhoid and diarrhea no longer present cases here, like my mother who once suffered from typhoid. Ever since the spring installation, no one has suffered from such cases. Hygiene and sanitation have also improved since the water is easily accessible.

Isabella washes her hands with soap clean water from the spring using the tippy tap handwashing station our team helped install at the spring during our first COVID-19 sensitization training in Bukhaywa.

Before the installation of the water point, we used to go far to get clean water. But now that the water closer to us is clean, we use it for all purposes, mainly drinking. This has helped us because, with the pandemic and social distancing rules, we would have risked our lives going too far to access clean water.

Isabella washes her jerrycan before each time she fetches water, just like she learned at the health and hygiene training our team led upon the completion of Ashikhanga Spring.

Fetching water has changed because of the new rules, like no touching the pipe, and children no longer hang around the spring or play with water because of social distancing. They fetch water and return home immediately.

Isabella with her children and some of the neighbors' kids - they were all playing together.

Now that the children are at home, the food budget has gone up; since they use a lot of energy playing, they also need a lot of food.

Isabella weeds her kitchen garden behind her house.

We have handwashing stations installed in our homes and at the spring. We ensure that we wear masks whenever we leave the house. Social distancing is observed at the spring and at the market...We are hoping everything will get back to normal and all restrictions will be lifted, but for now, safety is a priority."

Isabella Amagua

When asked where she receives information about COVID-19, Isabella listed the radio, television, and our team's sensitization training.

What has been the most valuable part of the COVID-19 sensitization training you received from our team?

"Learning how to construct handwashing stations, and the proper way to wash hands."

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Bukhaywa Community, Ashikhanga 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 Bukhaywa, Kenya.

We trained more than 29 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.

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.

April, 2020: Bukhaywa Community, Ashikhanga Spring Project Complete!

Please note, all photos in this report were taken before social distancing recommendations went into place.

Bukhaywa Community now has access to clean water! Ashikhanga 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.

Kids pose with Field Officer Georgina at the completed spring

"This water point is accessible to everyone around this community, especially during the dry season when people come from very far and many kilometers to access it. We are very happy with the results," shared farmer Isabella Ligari.

"I know we will now forget about suffering from diseases such as diarrhea and fever. I am really excited about this spring," said farmer Hosea Simba, referring to the improved quality and safety of the protected spring's water.

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, and women and men lent their strength to the artisan to help with the manual labor, too.

The Process

First, the spring area was cleared and 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.

Excavation of the spring site

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 and laborers busy at work on the stone pitching, headwall, and stairs (from left to right)

The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a thick plastic tarp to prevent potential sources of contamination. Then soil was layered on top of the tarp so that community members could transplant grass to prevent erosion. Finally, the collection area was fenced in. It took about 2 weeks of patience for the concrete to dry.

Backfilling with stones

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 with a small handing over ceremony. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day flowing in all directions.

Lead Field Officer for the project Georgina Kamau (right) stands with a community member at the spring's handing over celebration

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

Community member Peter Jairus Ashikhanga, who is the spring's landowner and who would also be elected Chair of the water user committee, helped organize the training in coordination with our team. Together we found the community’s preferred date for training while considering other events in the community calendar such as the agricultural season and expected gatherings. When the day arrived, Facilitators Georgina Kamau and Rose Serete deployed to the site.

24 people attended training, which was about the number we had expected. The day was sunny so we sat under the trees next to the spring. The cool breeze from the trees brought a calm and conducive environment for learning.

Field Officer Georgina hands out toothbrushes and toothpaste to the young volunteers during the dental hygiene training session

We covered several topics including community participation in the project; leadership and governance; personal and environmental hygiene; water handling and treatment; operation and maintenance of the spring and sanitation platforms; dental hygiene; the 10 steps of handwashing, and how to make and use a tippy tap and leaky tin. Handwashing was a particularly memorable topic because one of the participants already knew all the steps of handwashing, so she was able to teach the rest of the group without the facilitators' instructions. Most participants were also able to make their own leaky tin the same day of training.

Participants learning the 10 steps of handwashing

During the leadership and governance session, we held an election for the leaders of the newly formed water user committee. We also brainstormed income-generating activities that can be used to start a community savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring and a cooperative lending group to enable members to develop their own small businesses.

Community member shows the group the steps of handwashing

When an issue arises concerning the water project, the water user committee is equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our team of field officers to assist them. In addition, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

February, 2020: Bukhaywa Community, Ashikhanga Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Ashikhanga Spring is making people in Bukhaywa 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.

Giving Update: Bukhaywa Community, Ashikhanga Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Bukhaywa Community 3.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Bukhaywa Community 3 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, we truly had a big challenge in getting safe, clean water."

"We used to draw water which was open to all contaminations ranging from bird dropping to animals which drank directly from the spring. Accessing the water itself was also another issue for there was no good terrain mud was all over. It was risky for children because they could fall in any time they got to the spring during the rainy season, thus no parent was allowed to send their kids to fetch water."

"We are grateful for the project because we can access water easily any time and any hour of the day. Staircases were put in which enable us to access water easily without any fear of falling down."

"My life has been impacted positively in such a way that I have been able to save time and money. I can easily get to the spring within a few minutes, get water, then embark on other jobs which help me earn income."

Melissa at the spring with a young girl named Anastacia.

"They say time is money, thus having plans and goals which do not have a timeline is like having an invalid dream. As an individual, I had plans of having a business which initially I could not settle due to having so much time spent on putting my house in order. This means that beginning in the morning, if you start your day late then you may not achieve more."

"The water point has helped me achieve my goals for when I get up early, I begin with water which gives me peace to do other house chores, and thus do my business. I am grateful indeed."

Anastacia was all smiles while fetching water.

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 Bukhaywa Community 3 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 Bukhaywa Community 3 – 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.


4 individual donor(s)