Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 182 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Apr 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 09/07/2023

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Chepnonochi is a rural village with many people living in homes made of mud walls and iron roofs. Their kitchen walls are darkened by daily cooking smoke and are very small in size. This village is full of agricultural, with dwellers investing a lot of time and energy in planting food crops while some have also ventured into planting tree saplings to sell. The area is very quiet and noise is only heard when students of Gemeni Salvation Army Primary School are out for breaks playing in the fields. There are actually lots of schools in the area, so a few people work as support staff such as school cooks or guards.

An average day starts at 5 am and ends at 10 pm. Most people spend their days digging on their farms. Many women are also busy with household chores like fetching water and preparing food for children and spouses. Some have small businesses in which they sell green vegetables, tomatoes, onions, and various fruits to their customers, who are mostly civil servants employed in Shamakhokho or teachers.

However, the pursuit of water takes up valuable time each day. These 182 people have no water at home and must instead go out into the community to bring some back whenever they need to drink, cook, clean, bathe, and water animals or plants. They heavily rely on the water at Shikati Spring.

There is a plastic pipe where water is flowing to help the users fill their buckets. Water is tapped from this pipe directly into the containers. During this process, people must ensure that they balance on the stones laid at the entrance to the spring lest one slides back and plunges into the drainage channel. Though the pipe makes fetching water a little bit easier, it does not protect it from the contaminants that wash into the water. Animals come and go, while rainwater washes even more contaminants down the banks and into the water.

Community members have lost dear ones as a result of diseases believed to have been spread through unsafe water. Some get better through treatment, but so much time and money is wasted going to the clinic and staying at home to recover.

"Our community has suffered a lot due to taking water from this spring that is contaminated and is exposing us to water-related diseases. Come and help us protect it so that will not have to bury our dear ones as a result of those diseases," said Mrs. Kagai, a school cook who drinks water from Shikati Spring.

Scroll down to the last section of this report to learn about how we found Shikati Spring, along with a story about our community engagement.

What we can do:

Spring Protection

We will protect the spring to 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.


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

"The state of sanitation and hygiene is very bad in our village. We need education to help the whole village, and that is the only way we will be safe from diseases caused by poor hygiene. I say the whole village because we have people that do not have latrines! They must be told to build latrines," said Mrs. Gavalwa.

"We can achieve a good health standard if we all cooperate; one person cannot do it alone."

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.

How We Heard About Shikati Spring, and an Important Intervention

One sunny morning when we were seriously mobilizing materials for the project at Gemeni Salvation Army Primary School, a woman kept on following us and requesting ten minutes. We kept on asking her to wait as we were engaging with suppliers of sand and ballast to ensure they bring good quality materials, but the lady persisted until we gave her our attention. She explained how the headteacher at Gemeni had announced to the entire school how our organization that is constructing water tanks and latrines in schools also protects unprotected springs in villages.

She then explained that they have a spring protected by the community, but it is still exposed to contaminants as evidenced by the way people in Chepnonochi are still suffering from diarrheal diseases. We congratulated her community for protecting the spring, but went on to explain that we cannot destroy an already-protected spring to protect it anew, since there are so many springs that aren't protected at all.

The lady seemed to be disappointed but she never got tired of begging us to go and check her spring. Since she wouldn't leave, we decided to give the spring a visit: Not to protect it but to establish the routes of contamination in order to give her community a short training on how to make the water safer for consumption.

Reaching there we were shocked. How on earth could Mrs. Khagai call such a spring 'protected?' Community members had just bought a plastic pipe and put it inside the flowing water and lodged it there with stones. We had to explain that what they had done was not protection, and that we would request the organization to protect Shikati Spring.

The woman sighed in relief and went on to direct us to the landowner's home to talk more about the project. On our way to the landowner's home, a strange sight caught our attention. There was a pit with thin logs suspended over it. We stopped by the household and asked the man there what it was going to be used for. We learned it was going to be a pit latrine, but just needed to be filled in with mud. The logs were so weak and thin and would have been very dangerous to stand on. Even my weight was too much for such logs to bear, let alone a family of seven members stepping on it several times daily.

The man and his family were discouraged from constructing a latrine with such a weak floor, and 20 minutes were taken to convince him to get better latrine floor construction materials. He decided to do so but admitted he didn't have enough money for better materials. Nancy was still with us and told us she was aware of some strong metals from the area chief's old kitchen were being sold at a throw-away price.

We later learned that the man is offering unskilled labor support to build the area chief's new kitchen. We worked it out that the man will be given the strong metal as payment! The man is so happy and grateful that we passed by his compound on our way to the landowner's home.

We look forward to having more opportunities like this as we visit the community and hold hygiene and sanitation training.

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Chepnonochi Community, Shikati 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 Chepnonochi, Kenya.

We trained more than 12 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: Chepnonochi Community, Shikati Spring Project Complete!

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

Chepnonochi Community now has access to clean water! Shikati 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.

Christine Gavalwa fetches water

"For a long time now we have had cases of infection related to water and this was due to our water being contaminated as the catchment area had been exposed to contaminants. This is now a thing of the past as we now access clean, safe water for our personal use thanks to our partners," said Nancy Khagai upon the project's completion.

Nancy works as a businessperson in the area and also volunteers her time as a Community Health Volunteer in her community.

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.

Brickwork along the spring walls

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.

Plastering underway

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.

Community members working together to move a large stone into the backfill area

During the implementation process, the only challenges the team faced were heavy rains, which often slowed down the construction process, and an initial shortage of large stones used for backfilling. Both hurdles were eventually overcome, however, thanks to an abundance of patience, flexibility, and determination on all sides.

Stretching the plastic tarp over the backfilled stones

It took about 2 weeks of patience for the concrete to dry. 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. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day flowing in all directions.

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.

A boy stands with his family's new sanitation platform ready for installation

New Knowledge

Community member and Community Health Volunteer Nancy Khagai 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, Lead Field Officer for the project Samuel Simidi deployed to the site with a team.


14 people attended training. ‘Hot!’ was the best description of the weather of the day, said Field Officer Samuel. Much as it still was early morning, the sun blazed down on us. The venue for the training was under a tree having been approved by both the facilitators and the community members as it was cool and conducive for the training, though we did end up in the sun for much of the day anyway. Participants in the training were actively and equally involved in every stage and session of the training.

Handwashing 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.

The 10-step handwashing process was a new idea to the community. They were very eager to learn the steps and ensured they followed the facilitator on every step to get it correctly until they knew it by heart and could show others.

Participants show off clean hands after volunteering to demonstrate the newly learned handwashing technique

During the leadership and governance session, the facilitator talked with the participant about how leadership comes with power and that power is associated with great responsibility. To help drive the point home, the facilitator made it clear that a good leader is one who recognizes the power they have and does not misuse or abuse it. The facilitator asked for the group to give some of the characteristics a good leader and the group responded listing quite a number of them!

A woman shares her thoughts during the training

It was an exciting moment as most of them used opposites to explain the characteristics. Their ideas included that good leaders should: look smart, have good ideas, be understanding, strong, respectful, courageous, and brave. They said leaders should not: be a thief, a bully, have a temper,  or be rude. When it came time to hold the election for the leaders of the newly formed water user committee, this group proved unique!

More than 3 people contested for every leadership position, though the winner took each position with complete landslide victories. It was an exciting process to facilitate, said our team.

Community Health Volunteer Nancy Khagai holds a training poster to lead a conversation

We also brainstormed income-generating activities that can be used to start both a community savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring, as well as a cooperative lending group to enable members to develop their own small businesses.

"The training has not been in vain as we have learned quite a lot touching on hygiene and sanitation and we promise to disseminate all we have learned here today to the rest of our members so as to improve the hygiene and sanitation standards of the community," said Susan Luvayo, a farmer in the community.

Trainer Samuel explaining the solar disinfection method of water treatment to the group

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: Chepnonochi Community, Shikati Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Shikati Spring is making people in Chepnonochi 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: Chepnonochi Community, Shikati Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Chepnonochi Community 2.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Chepnonochi Community 2 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 this project was completed, getting water was a problem. The water available was little and required one to wait for a long time in order to get water. This made community members wait for a long time because of the queue at the spring and it brought many conflicts at the water point."

"Since the project was completed, getting water from this point is easier, enabling community members to take the least time possible at the spring. This has helped reduce crowding at the water point, hence conflicts rarely occur at the spring."

"When we did not have access to clean water, this exposed us to water-related health conditions. But, nowadays, we get clean and safe water from the spring and we no longer are infected with water-related diseases. The money used for medication has been directed to other, income-generating activities."

Nancy at the spring with Field Officer Rose.

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 Chepnonochi Community 2 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 Chepnonochi Community 2 – 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.


Mitch Brownlie, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
3 individual donor(s)