Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 203 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2017

Functionality Status:  Water Flowing - Needs Attention

Last Checkup: 05/08/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

In Shikoti Community, women and men wake up by 6:30 am to go looking for enough water to make bricks, which is their main economic activity. Other than this, they also cultivate maize as a cash crop. For those community members who don’t venture into maize farming, they at least plant enough in a kitchen garden for their own family's food.

Some also rear cattle, including bulls that are used in bullfighting, a common social and leisure activity in this community. Men take special care of their bulls to make them strong for bullfighting. When individuals pit their bulls against each other, the winner is given cash for their bull. This motivates them to work hard making sure their bulls are strong and ready to fight.

Water Situation

A major source of water in Shikoti Community is Ambale Spring. It is an unprotected source of water that is open to many different sources of contamination. It pools at the surface, and different kinds of aquatic critters make the water their home. The growing tadpoles are the most visible, as can be seen in the pictures.

The water is especially dangerous during the rainy seasons, when rainwater washes different contaminants like feces, farming chemicals, and garbage into the spring. Animals are also free to come and go to quench their thirst.

People most commonly carry a 20-liter jerrycan and smaller container for fetching. The cup is dunked into the spring over and over again until the larger jerrycan is filled. When the spring's water is delivered back home, it is poured into different containers by intended use. Some water is kept outside, in the kitchen, and by the latrine. A covered clay pot is kept in the main sitting room for drinking, because it is believed to keep the water cool like a refrigerator.

After drinking this water, people suffer from waterborne diseases like cholera, typhoid, and diarrhea.

Sanitation Situation

Less than a quarter of households have a pit latrine, with the few in existence shared with neighbors. This overuse of latrines makes them dirty and smelly, attracting clouds of flies. The walls are made of mud, and the roofs are made of iron sheets or thatched grass. Because of these poor conditions, many community members, especially children, prefer to relieve themselves in the privacy of bushes.

There are no hand-washing stations, and only a few helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines. Garbage is piled up near gardens and farms. When the pile gets too high, it is burnt. Anything that composts can be used as fertilizers for whatever's growing.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least two 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. "We have really suffered in this village with waterborne diseases of the unprotected water," said Catherine Ambale. If the system constructed at Ambale Spring is well-managed and maintained, then the clean water will keep community members healthy for years to come.

Project Updates

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ambale 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 Shikoti, Kenya.

We trained community members 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.

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.

September, 2018: A Year Later: Shikoti Community

A year ago, generous donors helped Ambale Spring for Shikoti 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...

August, 2017: Shikoti Community Project Complete

Ambale Spring in Shikoti 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

Hygiene and sanitation training was held at the home of Josephine Makokha, who was hospitable and invited us to make use of her large front yard. Many more women showed up than men, because women are viewed as most responsible for hygiene and sanitation in their households.

2 kenya4717 training

Community members always choose to hold training in a well-shaded area to keep out of the hot noon sun.

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.

1 kenya4717 training

As community members brainstorm, the trainer writes their ideas on poster paper in the front.

We brought poster paper and illustrations that facilitated discussion 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 so close to the spring, we could take the group over there to do onsite training in management and maintenance.

5 kenya4717 training

The trainer takes participants on a walk to the spring so they can learn about how it works and how to best maintain it.

After these participants returned home, it was up to them whether or not they'd practice what they learned. Our trainers visited later, and were happy to find that many local households had picked up litter and thrown it in freshly-dug garbage pits. They had also erected hand-washing stations outside of their latrines.

6 kenya4717 training

These women - and one man - form the water committee that will oversee Ambale Spring.

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.

The artisan takes a break from spring construction to cast a sanitation platform. This will form the base of a new latrine.

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.

However, construction materials presented the biggest challenge for community members. They collected everything they'd need and were ready to go ahead with construction, but went to bed that night and everything was stolen by the next morning. This forced them to collect everything over again - but they weren't discouraged. They persevered saying that this was well worth the good health that clean water would bring.

7 kenya4717 construction materials gathered by community

People persevered to get the artisan all of the local materials he'd need to protect Ambale 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.

8 kenya4717 woman fetching water during construction

Water is diverted during construction so the concrete can dry. Community members still had to fetch water, though!

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.

11 kenya4717 clean water

The woman who hosted training at her home, Mrs. Makokha, is now on the water user committee. She is grateful to see that the spring is protected, and will do her best to manage and maintain it so that it will serve generations to come. "I am happy at long last the spring is protected. No more spending a lot of money on treating waterborne diseases," she shared. Other committee members joined Mrs. Makokha at the spring where they fetched their first full containers of clean water.

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!

A Year Later: Shikoti Community

September, 2018

The impact of access to safe water on Shikoti Community was apparent the moment we arrived.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Shikoti 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!

A year ago, generous donors helped Ambale Spring for Shikoti 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 Janet Kayi with you.

Life for people in Shikoti Community has improved significantly since the protection of Ambale Spring. The impact of the project is felt when visiting with the community members - The warm welcome tells it all. And the beautiful smiles on their faces show thanks for improved lives and money saved that they use to spend on treatment for waterborne diseases.

Women and children are happy and enjoy fetching clean and safe water for drinking. Families now cover their containers and are observing other lessons learned from the hygiene and sanitation training.

"We use to drink contaminated water from this spring before it was protected and we used to suffer from waterborne diseases," Jenipher Makokha said.

"We now have access to clean and safe water for drinking. We practice good hygiene by keeping our environment clean."

Jenipher Makokha and Josephine Muyuka

Protection of the 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 Shikoti is changing many lives.

Josephine Muyuka was one of the families who had a brand new sanitation platform built for her household. She is happy and encouraged because of the new latrine.

"Now I understand the importance of good hygiene practice after I acquired knowledge on the same. I comfortably clean the latrine using water, something that I never used to do," she said.

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 Shikoti 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 Shikoti 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.


Project Sponsor - Yakima Foursquare Church