Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 08/15/2023

Project Features

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Community Profile

This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the Community

A normal day for people in this community starts at around 6:00 AM when you will see women moving up and down their compounds, preparing their children for school.  Most people in this community are involved in small scale farming.  They take their farm produce to the Kakamega town market (two Kilometers away) for sale in order to earn a living.  Due to the dry season being experienced in the region, the sale of vegetables has become a booming business for the women in this community.

Women living around the spring have an added advantage as they are able to irrigate their vegetable farms with water from the spring - making their produce of better quality than their competitors.  This results in them making just enough money to take care of their family's basic needs.

Most men in this community don't do much.  However, other men work hard for their families supplying water from the spring to the town center and people’s homes since most water sources have gone dry.  On a good day they can sell a 20-liter container at 15 shillings and end up earning up to 300 shillings a day - making it possible for them to support their families and pay school fees for their children

Water Situation

Isaac Spring is located in Shitaho village within Kakamega County.  It serves a total population of 210 people in 30 households.  Water is collected from the source using jugs or 1kg plastic containers and is then transferred to plastic jerry cans and ferried to the home or market.    If to the home, it is then either left in the gathering containers or transferred to plastic drums or earthen vessels and left uncovered in the kitchen, leaving it unprotected from dust, flies and anything that might fall or be dropped into them.  The containers are regularly rinsed with water and - on occasion - scrubbed with lantana leaves.

Contamination of the water is evidenced by its murkiness.  Also, the community members report that they have suffered from many cases of waterborne diseases like typhoid.  Water at the Isaac Spring is open to surface runoff from farming, open defecation and garbage pits as well as dirt and bacteria from people’s feet as they step into the water to collect it.

Sanitation Situation

Only 25 – 50% of the families have latrines while the others simply use the bushes.   Pit latrines are mud-walled with off-cuts on the floor.   Some have worn-out superstructures, with many not accessible to children and the elderly.

The community members also lack sanitation facilities like dish racks, washrooms and compost pits.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

A significant aspect of this project is the Hygiene and Sanitation Training.  Objectives will be to:  Enhance awareness of proper water source management; Improve access to safe and clean drinking water;  Improve knowledge, attitude and practice of sanitation and good hygiene.

The three-day training will include the establishment of a Water Users' Committee and a Health Workers group for the sustainable management of the water source and health and hygiene promotion, respectively.

Plans: Sanitation Platforms

Five sanitation platforms will be installed in homes.  These concrete floors make great foundations for safe and clean latrines.  Five families will prepare for this by sinking a pit that the concrete slab can be placed over. New latrines will go a long way in reducing the level of open defecation in this community!

Plans: Spring Protection

Isaac Spring was approved for this project given the level of need and the willingness of the community members to contribute towards the project.  By volunteering as unskilled laborers, attending trainings, and providing food and accommodation for the skilled artisans, community members confirm their investment in the sustainable management and maintenance of the project upon completion.

Clean, safe water will be life-changing for the Shitaho community as they spend less time and money treating preventable illnesses and spend more time and energy in education, farming, marketing and taking care of their homes.

Peris Masindikha, 82, who is a widowed farmer in the community, had this to say:  “I have been sick for the last six months.  I have no one to take care of me.  It takes me a week before I can take (a) shower, wash my cloth(es) and I do all this minus soap. Kindly, this community is in a dire need of support …”

Peris, we hear you!

(Editor's Note: We're sad to inform you that after the writing of this report, Mama Masindikha passed away.)

Project Updates

August, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Rosemary Makanji

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 Shitaho to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point, Isaac 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.

Rosemary Makanji stands outside her home.

It was during this most recent visit that Rosemary, a 44-year-old farmer, mother, and member of the spring's water user committee, shared her story of how the coronavirus has impacted her life.

Rosemary shows some of her new health and sanitation norms in the midst of the pandemic, including quickly fetching water at the spring instead of socializing, wearing a mask, and washing her hands before leaving and returning home.

Field Officer Christine Masinde met Rosemary outside her home to conduct the interview. Both Christine and Rosemary observed social distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. The following is Rosemary's story, in her own words.

Camera operator Allan Amadaro talks with Rosemary and her husband during her interview.

"As a community, we continue to benefit from this water point since it supplies us with clean and safe water. We no longer suffer from waterborne and water-related illnesses like diarrhea, typhoid, cholera, and malaria. We spend less time at the spring as it's faster and easier to get water from the installed pipe. We are healthier and our economic standards have also improved since we have extra time to spend on income-generating activities.

Rosemary fetches water from Isaac Spring.

The way we fetch water from the spring has really changed since the outbreak of COVID-19 as we have to observe social distancing at the spring unlike before when we could greet each other by shaking hands and hugging each other. We have to wear masks and also wash our hands before we fetch water.

Rosemary has her kids practice social distancing at the spring to act as an example for others, and to remind her children to do the same when they are away from home.

At such hard economic times, getting money to take care of our basic needs is a big issue, but one thing we are grateful for is we have access to free-flowing, clean, and safe water from the spring that was implemented. We use it for drinking, washing our hands frequently to reduce the spread of coronavirus, and to keep our bodies and environment clean.

Rosemary washes her hands with soap and clean water from Isaac Spring using the leaky tin handwashing station she set up outside her home.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, my husband was employed in the city. Unfortunately, he lost his job after the pandemic hit our country. He had to come back home without any benefits since he was working as a casual laborer. Providing for a family of 8 is now difficult with no monthly income. Products from our small farm are not enough for food but we have to sacrifice some meals so that we can sell part of the farm produce and buy essentials like soap and paraffin for lighting at night.

Rosemary checks her maize.

My children no longer go to school and restricting them is not easy because they like playing with their friends. However, I always emphasize that they should take into consideration the preventive measures of COVID-19.

Rosemary with her family at home.

My parents live in a different county and before the pandemic, I could visit them frequently but now I have resorted to just calling them, which is not easy. I really miss seeing them but I love them and I wouldn't want to risk them by visiting and spreading the virus to them unknowingly.

Rosemary feeds her livestock.

To stop the spread of the virus, we have a handwashing facility in our compound to enable us to wash our hands regularly with clean water and soap, we wear masks, keep social distancing, and avoid unnecessary travels.

One restriction that was lifted was going to church. I can now freely go to church and pray to God so that this pandemic can come to an end. But the most important thing is to keep safe during this pandemic and the imposed directives are for our own good.

Rosemary puts on her mask before leaving the house.

We were trained by your team on how to make leaky tins and tippy taps using locally available materials. After the training, we ensured that every homestead had a handwashing station to enable us to wash our hands frequently with soap so that no one in our community can contract the coronavirus. We also learned how to wash our hands using the right technique for at least 20 seconds."

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Shitaho Community B, Isaac 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.

Trainer Christine Masinde stands with hand sanitizer used at training before exchanging materials

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 Shitaho, Kenya.

Christine offers to sanitize participants' hands before beginning training

We trained more than 38 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.

Trainer in action

At the time, social distancing was a new concept, and one that challenges cultural norms. Although some community members were hesitant to adopt social distancing during the training, we sensitized them on its importance and effectiveness in combating the spread of the virus.

Sanitizing hands

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.

Building reminder chart

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.

Training on how to make and wear a mask properly

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.

A woman stands with the reminder chart at the spring

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.

Training in progress

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.

Christine works her way through the group with sanitizer

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.

September, 2018: A Year Later: Isaac Spring

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Isaac Spring for Shitaho Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories. Read more...

June, 2017: Shitaho Community Project Complete

Isaac Spring in Shitaho Village B in Kenya is now a protected, clean source of water thanks to your donation. The spring is protected from contamination, five sanitation platforms have been provided for the community, and training has been given in sanitation and hygiene. Imagine the changes that all of these resources are going to bring for these residents! You made it happen!  Now, want to do a bit more? Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this spring protection and many other projects.

We just updated the project page with the latest pictures, so make sure to check them out! And please enjoy the rest of the report from our partner in Kenya:

Project Result: Spring Protection

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, fencing poles and hard core (crushed rock and gravel). As well, accommodation and food for the artisan were provided. A few people volunteered their services as laborers.

The area of the spring was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of polythene, wire mesh and concrete. After the base had been set, both wing walls and the head wall were set in place using brickwork. The discharge pipe was fixed low in place through the head wall to direct the water from the reservoir to the drawing area.

10 kenya4711 community member levels foundation

A local man helps level the ground in preparation for the concrete foundation.

As the wing walls and head wall were curing, the stairs were set and the tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. This reduces the erosive force of the falling water and beautifies the spring. The process of plastering the head wall 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.  Lastly, the base of the spring was plastered and the collection box was cleaned. The source area was filled up with clean hardcore and covered with a polythene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination. Finally, grass was planted and cutoff drains dug to direct surface water away from the spring box.

14 kenya4711 construction

Community members arrived in shifts to help dig proper drainage around the spring system.

Immediately upon completion, the community members were allowed to use the protected spring by the officer in charge. It took a mere minute and 15 seconds to fill a 20-liter jerry can!

18 kenya4711 girl waiting to fill containers

Families carry as much water as they can to help limit the number of trips made to the spring. 

Project Result: Knowledge and Understanding

The training was held at Mr. Patrick Mboya’s compound which is near the spring and had trees that provided shade to the participants.  Participants were mobilized by Mr. Mboya who had to walk from door-to-door informing community members that they should create time out of their tight schedules to learn how to manage the spring.

The training topics included:  The importance of Community Contribution; Leadership and Governance; and Spring Management and Maintenance.

A practical session at the site informed participants what they should do and not to do at the spring.  There was a demonstration where handwashing with soap was presented.  A focus group discussion helped in identifying the most common local and serious diseases and information was presented on how to prevent them so as to avoid costs of treatment. A question and answer session followed where participants raised any other issues concerning safe water and hygiene.

9 kenya4711 training

Trainings often attract more women than men because they are seen as most responsible for family hygiene and sanitation.

After the training, the participants elected respective leaders to be in charge of both the spring and overall hygiene promotion in their village. The five slots for sanitation platforms were assigned amongst participants even before construction work began. Upon completion of the project, the community members fenced around the spring to prevent contamination from people and livestock. Also, those trained have become "ambassadors of good hygiene," not only to their community, but also to the neighboring communities.

2 kenya4711 training

Community members gather round and discuss health problems and ways to prevent them.

"I thank God for this opportunity to attend this training … many years we have spen(t)  a lot of money on medication, but now I know.  We have been exposed to this diseases for so long without knowing and now we know … We will live to protect ourselves through your training … We thank you for your support and m(a)y God bless you all."  –Phanice Isaac, a 48 year-old woman.

Project Result: Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed and are ready for use. These five families are happy about this milestone and are optimistic that there will be much less open defecation. People without proper latrines would often use the privacy of bushes, but now have a private place of their own. It is expected that proper use of latrine facilities provided by the sanitation platforms will go a long way in reducing environmental pollution here. We will continue to encourage these five families to build walls and roofs to protect their new platforms.


Community members organized a thanksgiving event at the spring site to thank The Water Project and WEWASAFO for blessing them with a protected spring and five sanitation platforms.

"Am truly happy for your contribution towards this community.  It has been long since we have this good projects to our people, and now here you are to support such a small village like ours. I will be forever grateful for your kindness and for your good work to the people ... We didn't know this spring will be as good … and we can now enjoy having clean and safe drinking water. On behalf of this community, we promise to take good care of our spring using your training knowledge, so as our great grandchildren can also use it. Thank you so much!  May God bless your organization and your donors so as they can provide more funds for you as implementing partner to reach more needy community as ours." – Joseph Shikondi, Village Elder

This project has really changed their way of thinking and living. Many of them now know that they can accomplish much together through collaboration as they did during construction process.  This is one of the important lessons Shitaho Community has learned!

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.

A Year Later: Isaac Spring

September, 2018

Alvin Shiakachi no longer misses school waiting in long lines to collect unsafe water. Now, he has clean, safe water.

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Shitaho Community B, Isaac Spring.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shitaho Community B, Isaac Spring 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!

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Isaac Spring for Shitaho Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – and we’re excited to share this one from Olivia Bomji with you.

Sanitation and hygiene standards in Shitaho have improved drastically. Before the project was implemented, the community used to access dirty, contaminated water from the unprotected Isaac Spring which negatively affected their health.

Since the spring was protected, the people living here now access safe and reliable water to meet their daily needs. As a result, waterborne diseases are a problem of the past.

"I have experienced great changes in my life and in my family because we now have clean and safe water that helps keep everyone healthy," Phanice Isaac said.

Protection of this spring is only one step along the journey toward sustainable access to clean water. The Water Project is committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by donors like you, allows us to maintain our relationships with communities by visiting up to 4 times each year to ensure that the water points are safe and reliable.

This is just one of the many ways that we monitor projects and communicate with you. Additionally, you can always check the functionality status and our project map to see how all of our water points are performing, based on our consistent monitoring data.

One project is just a drop in the bucket towards ending the global water crisis, but the ripple effects of this project are truly astounding. This spring in Shitaho is changing many lives.

"Since the project was completed, children like me can access clean drinking water that we bring to school. And we no longer have to wait in long lines which waste a lot of time - especially during school days," Alvin Shiakachi, an 8-year-old boy, said.

"We are not getting sick frequently as we used to. As a result, we are spending more time at school!"

This is only possible because of the web of support and trust built between The Water Project, our local teams, the community, and you. We are excited to stay in touch with this community and support their journey with safe water.

Read more about The Water Promise and how you can help.

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 Shitaho Community B, Isaac Spring 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 Shitaho Community B, Isaac Spring – 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.


Palmetto Middle School
Red Bank Elementary School
North Dunedin Baptist Church
Trinity Presbyterian Church
Saints and Sinners
5 individual donor(s)