Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 420 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/09/2024

Project Features

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It was a sunny, dry day when we traveled to Sichinji to visit Kubai Spring, making dust billow up as we drove along the dirt road. This is a rural, peaceful area where farms abound. There are breaks among the fields where households sit with three to four mud-walled buildings.

There used to be gold miners here but the resource has long been exhausted. Some of the farmers have ventured into sugarcane but this turned into a challenge when the local sugar factory went under.

Kubai Spring is an open, unprotected water source. It is nonetheless one of the main water sources for the 420 people living here. The banks are slippery and most people step directly in the water as they fill their containers.

"The spring serves so many people and since it's not protected, we have a high risk of water-related diseases such as typhoid and amoeba," said Mr. Kubai, the spring's namesake. There is a high rate of water-related diseases from drinking the water. Some people think all of this sickness is due to witchcraft, but it's truly this water. Children die early because of typhoid and amoeba. Families spend money on treatment yet their low income puts such a strain on them.

What we can do:


Most of the community members have latrines, so open defecation is rare. They have clotheslines, but dish racks are rare since they would rather use any and all wood for firewood. Most of them do not have handwashing facilities which means they are not washing their hands at critical times. Most of them bathe at night in darkness, so they do not have bathing shelters for privacy.

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

"Most of our latrines are constructed with mud floors and when it rains it's unbearable to use," said Mrs. Mbone.

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.

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.

Project Updates

June, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Margaret Mbone

This is the first story from a new series by The Water Project meant to highlight the perspectives and experiences of the people we serve and how they are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We invite you to read more of their stories here.

A lot has changed for Margaret Mbone since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in her home of Sichinji, Kenya. A 59-year-old farmer, mother, and wife, Margaret recently met us at her home (while observing social distancing) to share her story.

Margaret Mbone (left) with 3 of her children outside their home

We were happy to meet Margaret at home, because she was actually supposed to have gone to join a burial the day we came. But, she canceled her plans to attend since the previous day, the security at the burial homestead had cautioned community members that no one would be allowed to attend.

This decision came after the burial homestead had slaughtered a cow with the intent of cooking meals for guests. This was against the rules, because during the pandemic there is to be no feeding during the ceremony to avoid the spread of the virus.

And so Margaret, like so many of us, was at home. Margaret's home community of Sichinji has no reported cases of COVID-19 to date. We observed mask-wearing in the community and also handwashing stations with soap set up at residents' homes. These observations encouraged us because it meant people are taking precautions and prevention steps seriously, including those covered in our recent training here.

Margaret stands at the entrance to her homestead, visible to the right

Margaret depends on Kubai Spring as her daily source of clean water, which we helped protect last year. The timing could not have been better, according to Margaret.

"Before the water point installation, we used to suffer - especially the children - from water-related diseases such as typhoid, amoeba, and stomach pains. But since protection, the water is clean and safe."

Since the pandemic requires Margaret and her family to wash their hands frequently, they can access clean water from the spring to wash hands as many times as possible. Margaret is very happy that, all things considered, the pandemic could not have come at a better time since the water she is using to help protect herself and her family from the virus is safe.

Other things at the spring and at home, however, have changed.

"Due to the curfew hours, it means I have to fetch water earlier and observe social distancing at the water point. No more meeting at the water point to catch up on affairs because crowds are not allowed. Now I have to wash my hands at the water point before fetching water. We were afraid that the virus would affect the water, but we were told it does not affect water at the drawing point."

Margaret fetches water from Kubai Spring

Before the pandemic, Margaret's husband and other children used to visit her from Mombasa and Nairobi more frequently. But since the lockdown was enforced in those cities, they can no longer leave to see Margaret. Her husband and working children are no longer employed due to the shutdown and consequent widespread job losses, so they cannot assist Margaret financially. Her husband used to send money home from his work, but now there is nothing to send and no sense of when he will have it next.

"There's no work at the moment, so we just stay at home," said Margaret.

Margaret does her laundry using water from Kubai Spring

Knowing her husband and children are stuck in a lockdown affects Margaret emotionally, she said, because she fears for their safety and wellbeing. Other ways that Margaret would usually connect with friends and her support network have been lost temporarily due to the restrictions, heightening her social stress.

Without church gatherings, Margaret said she feels spiritually malnourished. She is missing the fellowship that comes with the weekly service. Social gatherings were banned, hence women "cannot meet as women to help one another, especially at such a time like this." She also cannot visit relatives, especially during burials, because it is no longer allowed.

Margaret (right) takes advantage of her short trips to the spring to talk with others while wearing a mask and observing social distancing.

Many community members here said they do not wish for schools to reopen just yet for fear of their children contracting the virus. Right now, Kenyan schools are scheduled to reopen in September, providing they can pass a checklist of prevention measures required by the Ministry of Health.

So for now, Margaret's 3 children who are supposed to be in school during this period are stuck at home all day. That means a lot more breakfasts, snacks, and lunches that would have otherwise been provided by the school. You can see how much Margaret's crops and stores have been depleted already because of how much her children require on a daily basis, our team noted.

Margaret puts on her face mask

Margaret and her fellow community members in Sichinji are not giving up in the fight against COVID-19. The community has embraced the rules enforced by the government about wearing masks, observing social distancing, handwashing with soap, and ensuring that they are not caught outside after curfew.

The national curfew has been a particular point of stress, followed by relief, for Margaret. She was so happy with the recent extension of the curfew from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. The curfew also ends an hour earlier in the morning, shifting from 5:00am to 4:00am.

The extension gives Margaret more time to do her work on the farm while relaxed without worries of the curfew. When asked what restriction she is most looking forward to being lifted next, she said "the reopening of the church".

Thankfully, information about COVID-19 is spreading across all areas of Kenya thanks to the many forms of news. Margaret cited the radio, word of mouth, television, and our own team's training in her community as her main sources of information about the disease.

"Training helped me see the need for washing of the hands more frequently and setting the handwashing station at the entrance of the home. Also, it helped me see the sense of wearing masks whenever I go out of my home."

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Sichinji Community, Kubai 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.

Team Leader Emmah heads training

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 Sichinji, Kenya.

Mr. Kubai shows his homemade mask to the group

We trained more than 15 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.

A community member installs the new leaky tin at the spring

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.

Emmah demonstrates proper handwashing technique

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.

A woman demonstrates handwashing

During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point, 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.

Women are often at the frontline of preventing COVID-19 in their homes and communities; here, they demonstrate social distancing

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.

November, 2019: Sichinji Community, Kubai Spring Project Complete!

Sichinji Community now has access to clean water! Kubai 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

Women and men lent their strength to the artisan to help him with manual labor. Our field officers reported how impressed they were with this community's level of engagement and teamwork, as they have never seen so much cohesion and strength brought to a spring protection before.

First, 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 on the headwall brick by brick

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.

Clearing the stairs site; plastering the rub wall

The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a thick plastic tarp to prevent potential sources of contamination. These layers were then covered in soil, and community members planted grass and constructed a fence around the area to keep animals and people off the spring box. It took about 2 weeks of patience for the concrete to dry.

Backfilling with great help from the community

Community members planting grass around 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.

Handing-over session at Kubai Spring with Field Officer Protus on right

The project was handed over to the community by the field officer on behalf of our team in the presence of the village elder and the community members, who are now a happy lot. They could not believe that drawing water from the spring is so quick and easy now!

(To hear the community members tell, sing, and dance their thanks for their new water point, check out the video on the Photos tab of this project page!)

When asked how they thought the newly protected spring might bring change to their community, farmer Pamela Nangila reflected on how difficult it was to fetch water from the unprotected spring compared to what they have now.

"Drawing water was a very tedious exercise. Sometimes the person who drew before you could make the water dirty so you would have to wait for it to settle before drawing," she said.

Today, all that has changed thanks to spring's new discharge pipe and strong yield.

"The delays at the spring will be a forgotten story...sending children to the spring is okay as initially the hole where the water was coming from was very unsafe and women were very afraid whenever they heard or sent the children to the spring. Our prayer for The Water Project is that God will continue using you to touch many more lives all over Ikolomani."

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.

Proud new sanitation platform owners

New Knowledge

Mr. Maurice Kubai, the Board of Management Chair for Sichinji Primary School and landowner of the spring, together with a village elder were tasked with organizing the training. They gave us the community’s preferred date for training, for they were very much aware of the community calendar when it comes to planting season and other big events.

Some 35 people attended training, which was was conducted at the spring so that the participants could witness the final stages of the spring protection process. The attendance was excellent, especially given it is a very busy season with many people harvesting their maize this time of year. We also had a meeting with the community health workers in the village on the same day.

Community member raises a hand during training

The participants actively participated in the training, with the elderly women and men being more active than the middle-aged women and children. Since most of the participants and especially the elderly did speak either of the national languages, we translated the entire session into their native languages so that everyone could understand the training equally.

Participants keenly taking notes 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. We could see in the participants' words and actions that many of these topics resonated deeply with them, and they were ready to immediately adopt the personal hygiene practices.

Assistant Chief drops in on training to offer words of encouragement; Team Leader Emmah Wekesa in center

The leadership and governance session was made quite special as the area Assistant Chief graced the occasion. He participated in the construction of the cut-off drainage by digging the trench. He also thanked our team for coming to assist the community to protect the spring. He said the major challenge for their community was lack of safe water and wished if resources would allow, we could protect more springs around his location.

Assistant Chief helps dig drainage channels

The Assistant Chief emphasized that the spring should be maintained by the community and for any cases of unsolvable conflict that might occur, his office was open to assist. It was clear from the community members' welcoming response to the Assistant Chief that he is indeed ad respected leader here, and could not have popped in at a better time.

Trainer David leads site management session of training while artisan continues to work

While discussing site management and practices to uphold the sustainability of the spring, the facilitator explained to participants how pit latrines constructed nearby or on an uphill slope of the spring could pollute the water in the spring. Mama Rose raised a concern of a nearby unprotected spring whose water smells very bad, she said.

She asked whether the pit latrines built around that spring might be the cause of the bad smell of the water. This question was able to enlighten the community on the dangers of constructing pit latrines near the spring because this can pollute their water.

"This training will help us lead a better, healthy life. I know how to keep myself clean," said Kenneth Mboya, a local farmer.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

October, 2019: Sichinji Community, Kubai Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Kubai Spring is making people in Sichinji 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: Sichinji Community, Kubai Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Sichinji 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 protection, the water was always dirty. You had to consume a lot of time in drawing the water since you had to wait for it to clear first before drawing."

"Now, the water is clean and easier to draw. It has helped me in saving time and being in school on time. I am no longer suffering from diseases like typhoid and diarrhea because I am taking clean and safe water."

"My grades in school have improved since now I have more time to study. I used to waste a lot of time while fetching water; now, it's easier and faster."

Euginous fetches water from Kubai 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 Sichinji 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 Sichinji 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.


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