Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 203 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 11/19/2023

Project Features

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It was a cold and rainy day our first visit to Kisasi. Us field officers had to wait for two hours before touring the village because it started to downpour as soon as we got there.

A lot of noise is heard in Kisasi. There are hooting horns and wailing sirens of vehicles and motorbikes moving along the nearby main road. Children make a lot of noise in the evenings when they come from school, especially at the spring where they meet to draw water. There are a lot of trees in this area, and tea, vegetables and maize crops are also planted on numerous farms.

Everyone is awake by 5:30 am. They prepare and eat breakfast, then disperse to different places like the market for those in business or to the farms for those who are farmers. They all plan how to balance making a living with preparing lunch, feeding animals, and fetching water. Most people end the day at 8 pm because there is no electricity here.

Since there isn't any water at home, fetching water becomes the most disruptive activity of the day. People have to take up their water container and go out into the community to find water. 203 people in this area are reported to rely on Edward Sabwa Spring to get water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and many other things.

The surrounding environment is filthy, and people step in the muddy and grubby water as they fetch it. The bushes around the spring aren't clear and could be hiding snakes. A plastic pipe has been inserted where water is flowing and surrounded by rocks to stabilize it. The pipe makes it a little bit easier to fill a container with water, but the water flowing into the pipe is still open to contamination from the surrounding environment.

Most people here have been treated by either native doctors or in the local clinic after drinking this dirty water. They spend money that could have used profitably in another area. If they had access to adequate and safe water, they would save that money and invest it in development. "We suffer from diarrhea because we drink dirty water. Come to our rescue, because it will save us from wasting time and money in search of medical attention," said Mr. Sabwa.

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.


There are homes at which mosquito nets are used to fence gardens to keep chicken away - as opposed to preventing malaria. Poverty has become the order of the day to the extent that some people have given up hope of ever living good lives free from struggles. "We are used to poverty to the extent that we only struggle to get food to eat, nothing more because the more we try the more we get disappointed," said Ebby Mulyango.

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 (including the use of mosquito nets!). 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

There are many latrines in the village, but they are not in good condition. Latrines are made of mud, which cannot get wet without compromising the latrines' integrity. Floors are even made of mud that puts the latrine users at risk of falling through 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

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Kisasi Community, Sabwa 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 Kisasi, Kenya.

We trained more than 21 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.

March, 2020: Kisasi Community, Edward Sabwa Spring Project Complete!

Kisasi Community now has access to clean water! Edward Sabwa 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.

"This project is so helpful to us since we can now get clean water and stay healthy because many of us were being affected with the waterborne diseases and spent more cash on health, but now we know we are going to stay healthy and do more projects. Thank you," shared the spring's landowner Mr. Edward Sabwa.

Young boys enjoying the spring water upon the project's completion

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 manual labor, too.

Community members help carry stones to the construction site

Early in the construction process, we noticed one young man in particular who was working very hard at the construction site every day. He said his name was Eugene. Eugene amazed the staff and this prompted them to find out the secret behind his hard work. Eugene then shared his story.

Since he was born, Eugene had always drunk dirty water from Edward Sabwa Spring. At one point, he suffered severe typhoid and had to stay away from school for such a long time. Eugene's father sought help to protect the spring, but all of his efforts proved futile.

Eugene's greatest motivation, he said, was that he had left this village with his dad 5 years ago to live in Eldoret. The week before we met him, his father had passed away and so Eugene decided to come back home to Kisasi. No sooner had he buried his father than he was informed about the protection of Edward Sabwa Spring. Eugene saw this as an opportunity to honor his dad who had worked tirelessly to ensure that one day, they would have clean water.

"My dad and the ancestors - wherever they are right now - they are proud of me and they are smiling. His death has brought water home. I will work hard to ensure that the spring is protected and also ensure that it is well maintained," added Eugene.

The Process

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.

Community member helps pass bricks to the artisans

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.

Artisan measures the discharge pipe's placement in the headwall

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.

Planting grass and building fencing around the spring as water begins to flow

The only delays during the entire construction process occurred early on when frequent and heavy rains poured down on the day of brickwork and plastering, forcing the artisans to stop work for some hours. Work picked up again the next day when the weather was favorable, so the artisan recovered the lost time and work went on as planned.

It took about 2 weeks of patience for the concrete to dry. No sooner had clean water started flowing through the pipe after backfilling than the entire community came filled with excitement to gather at the spring. Our staff took this moment to remind the community members on the importance of maintenance and repair issues and then officially handed the spring over to the community.

Community members celebrate the spring along with Field Officer Karen Maruti, in center next to the discharge pipe

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 sanitation platform owner

New Knowledge

Community member and spring landowner Edward Sabwa along with community leaders and the local pastor 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. We decided to hold training on the day of backfilling at the spring construction site to ensure that the community participated fully in the process of construction and understood how to take good care of the spring. Facilitators Karen Maruti and Amos Misiko then deployed to the site.

With only 18 people in attendance, we were surprised by the low turnout. We soon learned, however, that one of the residents of this community has passed away earlier that morning and thus most people had gathered at his home to comfort the bereaved family. Those who had shown up for training insisted it continue and that they would pass the knowledge gained onto their neighbors, so we proceeded with the day as planned.

Trainer Karen shows how to make and use a leaky tin for handwashing at training

The weather was sunny that day. We opted to conduct our training under the shade near the spring so that we could also conduct the practical sessions about site management and water handling at the spring site with ease. This was a very conducive environment for training.

We covered several topics including community participation; 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. 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 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 community is in the process of starting their own official self0help group as well, which could help spearhead these new activities.

A woman demonstrates toothbrushing next to Trainer Amos

The participation of the women was greater than of the men, our facilitators noted, as they had to ask the men questions to get them to speak up. The whole group was interested and responsive the whole day, though.

The session on safe water handling was particularly memorable. Facilitator Karen picked up some leaves and threw them in the water and asked how many people had ever done that. All of the women raised their hands. Karen then probed them further, asking if they ever looked at the leaves keenly or washed them before inserting the leaves into the water. At this point, the women started staring at each other seeking answers. Karen then informed the group that by throwing leaves into their water, they could be consuming bird feces, dead insects, and all sorts of contaminants whether naturally occurring or not. The women started cursing and stated that they would never do that again! We also discussed the importance of not sitting on open water containers in case one has dirt on their clothes that could drop into the water.

Site management of the spring was another interesting topic. It was at this juncture that one woman stood up and stated that there is one particular stubborn lady in the community who constantly does her laundry at the spring and never adheres to the rules against it. Another person said she wanted to become a Community Health Volunteer just so she could deal with this stubborn person. The facilitator at this point encouraged the water and sanitation management committee to enact rules and regulations and enforce them for the sustainability of the spring.

Trainer Karen shows how to clean a jerrycan before using it to fetch water

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.

"Many of the members of this community could not access clean water in the past as the spring was unprotected. We were also ignorant of safe water handling practices...I am happy that we have learned [better] and will stop these behaviors for better health in our community," shared Added Vincent Lukaya, a farmer who attended training.

Ready to carry clean spring water home

After training, the community members were seen practicing water hygiene by washing their containers and covering them as they carried water home.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

February, 2020: Kisasi Community, Edward Sabwa Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Edward Sabwa Spring is making people in Kisasi 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: Kisasi Community, Edward Sabwa Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kisasi 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 protection, the surrounding environment of the spring was bushy and filthy, thus causing spring contamination. The bush around also harbored snakes that scared children away from coming to the spring."

"The community members used to draw water through a discharge pipe that was fixed on the source. This pipe was dirty and had also been inserted in a dirty place, thus the water was always contaminated."

"Since the project was completed, oh my! The bush was cleared and the place is now safe even for children to come to the spring. After protection, we have always enjoyed slean and safe drinking water. We no longer experience diarrhea amongst the young."

"I was burdened with fetching water each day as I feared sending my kids to the spring due to the snakes that were breeding around the bushy spring. Now, I don't fear that anymore, and my kids go all time to fetch water. As for me and my husband, we are pastors in the local church, thus we use this time to go for missions and outreach activities. We are really grateful to God and to you."

Susan fetches water 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 Kisasi 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 Kisasi 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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