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The Water Project : 1-kenya4711-isaac-spring

Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

Community Profile & Stories

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.)

Recent Project Updates

06/26/2017: 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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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04/26/2017: Shitaho Community Project Underway

Shitaho Community will soon have a clean, safe source of water thanks to your donation. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Isaac Spring, and often suffer physical illnesses after doing so. Our partner conducted a survey of the area and deemed it necessary to protect the spring, build new sanitation platforms (safe, easy-to-clean concrete floors for latrines), and conduct sanitation and hygiene training. Thanks to your generosity, waterborne disease will no longer be a challenge for the families drinking the spring’s water. We look forward to sharing more details with you as they come! But for now, please take some time to check out the report containing community information, pictures, and maps.

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Kakamega, Shirere, Bukhungu, Shitaho
ProjectID: 4711
Install Date:  06/26/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 11/16/2017

Visit History:
09/30/2017 — Functional
11/07/2017 — Functional
11/16/2017 — Functional


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

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Country Details


Population: 39.8 Million
Lacking clean water: 43%
Below poverty line: 50%

Partner Profile

Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO) works together with less privileged and marginalized members of communities in Western Kenya to reduce poverty through harnessing and utilization of local resources for sustainable development.