Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/04/2024

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

No one is seen lazing around in this village, as all must do whatever they can to ensure life goes on. Some men bake bricks to sell while others fetch water to sell in Majengo. Women engage in small-scale farming, growing maize sold for a price that fluctuates every season.

Animals are also raised, and their milk sold to other villagers who don't have their own livestock. However almost everyone has at least one cow, so many women travel to other markets to sell their milk.

Water Situation

Isabwa Spring has a lot of water, but it has remained unprotected for as long as the landowner Mr. Isabwa can remember. Using it in such a poor state predisposes its users to many dangerous diseases, lowering productivity of the locals and also lowering performance of children in schools as a result of absenteeism.

This water source serves 800 people, including students at St. Joseph’s Teacher Training College. "Seeing and talking to representatives of an organization that promises to help them get clean water is like a miracle," says Elizabeth Agiza. "Please help us. We need clean water."

There are so many people relying on Isabwa Spring that people are there lining up as early as 8am. The first come first serve rule applies here, with the others lining up their buckets and sitting as they wait their turn.

(Editor's Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people.  This community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)

Sanitation Situation

A good number of homesteads in this village have sanitation facilities that are not properly maintained. Constructing latrines with wood floors and walls poses danger to the users. A woman fell inside a pit latrine after its floor became too weak to bear her weight, and she died. Nor are these latrines properly roofed, so rain falls and further weakens the wooden floors.

Most dish racks are dirty, which means utensils that are washed and placed on them get dirty before use. A good number of homesteads have clotheslines, but unfortunately most people still spread their clothes on the ground to dry, especially the heavy garments which they fear would break their feeble wire lines. There are no hand-washing stations here, nor does a single homestead have a compost pit. Instead, garbage is piled up behind the home and burned.

Nazan Mafao said, "We suffer diseases because we do not know how to prevent them. Come and teach us so that we get to understand hygiene in a deeper way, and by so doing you will have helped the whole community to avoid diseases..." The landowner of Isabwa Spring, Mr. David Chagusha Isabwa added, "It is good for the village to be enlightened on matters of sanitation and hygiene."

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least three days. This training will ensure participants are no longer ignorant 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.

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.

Plans: Sanitation Platforms

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrines.

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 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.

Plans: Spring Protection

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.

In addition, 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.

"I have suffered for years until my body got adapted to this water. I detest seeing and using it in that state but I have no choice. That is how hard life has been, but we have always prayed God to protect us from diseases and He has been faithful to me. That is why He directed you here. Please help us, we need clean water," pleaded Mr. Isabwa.

Thank You for coming alongside Mr. Isabwa and Wamuhila Community!

Project Updates

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Wamuhila Community, Isabwa 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.

A trainer fills the handwashing station with water for practical demonstrations

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 Wamuhila, Kenya.

We trained more than 26 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.

Handwashing with a smile

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.

Showing the COVID-19 informational pamphlet received at training

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.

Homemade mask tutorial with Trainer Patience

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.

Fitting the mask made during training on a child for her to keep

"To the participants, it was a blessing to have training officers all the way from Kakamega to Vihiga County just to train them on Coronavirus. They agreed to make it a habit to wash hands every now and then using soap with running water. They also accepted to make face masks locally and wear them when they go out of their homes. To add on that, they agreed to stay at least 1 meter apart from one another, and finally they all agreed to sneeze in their flexed elbows," recalled Trainer Patience Njeri.

Reviewing the prevention reminders chart

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.

Cough and sneeze into the elbow

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.

August, 2018: A Year Later: Wamuhila Community

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Isabwa Spring for Wamuhila Community in Western Kenya. In addition, 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...

September, 2017: Wamuhila Community Project Complete

Isabwa Spring in Wamuhila Community, 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: New Knowledge

We worked with Village Elder Nazan Mafao to get people to attend training. He insisted that at least one person from every household be there, but three ended up not being able to make it because of a death in the family. One of these families had lost their teenage daughter who misused birth control pills, and were burying her on that very day (Editor's Note: We desperately wish we had been in time for her to attend our training on family planning). However, Elder Mafao was so zealous about hygiene and sanitation that he committed to meet with them at their return and relay all of the information.

A cluster of trees nearby Isabwa Spring provided comfortable shade for the participants to sit under. They used some of our poster paper to spread out on the ground to protect them from the dew. Normally, we carry a table from a local home to use as an easel for our flip charts, but it was much too steep where we met. Instead, we pinned our pictures and posters up on trees.

2 kenya4716 training

Everyone including the children arrived on time, with the children most excited to be involved. They always scrambled to be the first for demonstrations, and even stayed behind to get extra time with our trainers. They followed us after, asking to be photographed showing off their mastery of hand-washing! They ran back to the village bragging that their pictures would be sent back to America.

4 kenya4716 children who wanted to show off their hand-washing

These children are excited to show you their hand-washing skills!

Training topics included but were not limited to leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; the spread of disease and prevention. We also covered water treatment methods, environmental hygiene, and hygiene promotion. We also took a session to emphasize proper maintenance of the spring protection project. The community should refrain from washing clothes, watering animals, farming with fertilizers, and open defecation in the vicinity.

Our poster paper and illustrations facilitated presentations on healthy and unhealthy behaviors. Group discussions were also very effective in helping participants take responsibility for what they were learning. And since we were at the spring, we could easily show the group how to manage and maintain their new clean water point.

3 kenya4716 Patrick Vudoti explains how the community cleans water jerrycans

Little Patrick explains how his mom currently washes out their water containers.

28-year-old Rachael Ambuso said that "this is the kind of knowledge we have lacked for so long! The funny thing is that we did not even know that there were a lot of very important messages we were lacking, henceforth we shall welcome whoever comes to our village with the intention of educating us, no matter the area of interest."

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 finish building walls and roofs for privacy.

8 kenya4716 a drying latrine floor

This sanitation platform now needs walls, a door, and a roof! The family will build the superstructure with materials that are affordable for them.

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). Accommodation and food for the artisan were provided and a few people volunteered their services as laborers.

11 kenya4716 Mr. Anziva helping the artisan

Mr. Anziva spent a couple of days helping the artisan protect Isabwa Spring.

The spring area 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.

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.

13 kenya4716 building the stairs

The artisan working on stairs for easy access to clean water.

Heavy rains continuously interrupted construction; whenever working with cement, the artisan had to get traps to cover things up. This added a few extra days to the process. But perseverance soon gave the community a reason to celebrate: They now have clean water.

14 kenya4716 clean water

Rebecca Sayo was there, and she explained that she was shocked. "We have struggled and prayed for long to have clean water in our village, but hope was lost along the way after being disappointed several times. But when you reached here and said that we should look for the local materials (sand, stones, and bricks) I tended to believe them as they wanted us to participate – that is the only hope I hanged on to. You disappeared after doing the baseline for about two months and I started thinking to myself that you were just like the rest. After that short but seemingly long wait, materials came and just within three days our spring is already protected; I wonder at how God works! Thank you for supporting us, we cannot make you understand the depth of our gratitude, but God who sees our hearts really knows that this is a rescue to many!" she exclaimed.

There are dozens more people now coming to get clean water from the spring than the we anticipated. It appears that some families were evading us so they wouldn't have to help gather materials and help our artisans. They were walking many miles just to fetch water from another community. The water user committee is standing up for their water point, telling these truants that they are not allowed to draw water from Isabwa Spring until they contribute 300 shillings to save for spring protection maintenance. The account already has 1,800 saved! We share this with great joy as this is evidence the community will jealously protect and maintain their new source of clean water. This is sustainable development!

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!

After that short but seemingly long wait, materials came and just within three days our spring is already protected; I wonder at how God works!

Rebecca Sayo

A Year Later: Wamuhila Community

August, 2018

Rita Andesia’s family used to spend money on medicine to treat waterborne illnesses, but now they buy kerosene that allows Rita to study after dinner. Clean water has helped Rita improve her academic performance!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Wamuhila Community, Isabwa 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 Isabwa Spring for Wamuhila Community in Western Kenya. In addition, 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 – we’re excited to share this one from our partner, Jacqueline Shigali, with you.

Health facilities around Majengo no longer experience long lines of patients since hygiene-related diseases have decreased, Daudi Sabwa, the secretary of the water user committee, observed. In addition to that, united action by community members to clean the water point and discuss matters concerning their spring has created a peaceful bond.

A good number of homesteads that did not have pit latrines when we first met them have now constructed those important facilities in their homes. The community no longer uses mosquito nets to shield vegetables from chicken, but they use them properly to prevent malaria. No clothes are seen spread on the grass or stones to dry, since each household now has a clothesline.

"Practicing good hygiene is now part of me. I used to be so reluctant about it but since we got this project, which came with a lot of health education, I feel compelled to practice high standards of sanitation and hygiene for my own good," Mr. Sabwa said.

Daudi Sabwa

Rita Andesia, a 10-year-old girl in the community, says that having this convenient spring protection frees up her time to study. She witnessed a decrease in sicknesses and absenteeism at her school, Chango Primary.

And this is attributed to the availability of clean water and latrines, and the generally improved hygiene in her village. As a result, Rita’s family can spend money on kerosene for lamps instead of medicine to treat the illnesses caused by dirty water.

"I can wake up any time I want in the morning and also study as long as I want after taking supper before going to bed," she said.

Rita Andesia

The protection of Isabwa Spring is only one step along the journey toward sustainable access to clean water. The Water Project and WEWASAFO (our trusted local partner) are 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 protection in Wamuhila Community is changing many lives. This is only possible because of the web of support and trust built between The Water Project, WEWASAFO, 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 Wamuhila Community, Isabwa 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 Wamuhila Community, Isabwa 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.


Nandansons Charitable Foundation
1 individual donor(s)