Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 200 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/06/2024

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

Residents of Handidi Village grow crops like maize, beans, cassava, groundnuts and bananas, mainly just for their own consumption. They also grow cash crops like sugarcane and tea, but the proceeds are not enough for their daily needs. Both the tea and sugarcane crops are sensitive to weather changes. During the rainy season, tea crops are affected by the cold and hail, while sugarcane is affected by leaf rust.

During our baseline survey, the challenges for this community were obvious. Most of them live below the poverty line with at least one person in the family moiling and toiling in activities like brick-making or breaking large rocks into smaller ones to sell as construction materials.

Community members wake up early in the morning, with women preparing breakfast for the rest of their families. They then go to fetch water at the spring for general use, while men leave to do work like brick-making. Others go to work on either their own farm, or get paid to labor on another's farm. By then, the children are off to school.

Water Situation

Handidi Village relies on Malezi Spring, which according to Grace Malezi has existed for over 25 years. The spring serves over 25 household with an approximate total population of 200 people. Women and children are those most responsible for collecting water at this spring for domestic use, while men only go to the spring to collect water for bricking and watering nursery beds. They use containers of different sizes; 20 liters for women and small containers such 3 liters, 5 liters and 10 liters for children.

Malezi Spring is unprotected, with water flowing through bushes before entering the collection point. Here community members have improvised a plastic pipe to collect water. People remain for a long time at the spring waiting for their containers to fill. The worst thing here is that spring, being unprotected, is exposed to different agents of contamination. When it rains, surface runoff draws waste to the source. And human and animal activities contaminate the water to a point that community members suffer from waterborne diseases like typhoid, dysentery and cholera. These waterborne diseases are common diseases in this community and have weakened standards of living as more finances are used for medication rather than development.

Sanitation Situation

Sanitation in this community is wanting. Most people do not have pit latrines, while those who have them keep them in poor state. The latrines are very risky to any living creature, as the young and old have to balance on rotting wooden slats. The practice of open defecation is still common in this community, as they prefer bushes to the dangerous, dirty pit latrines.

Hygiene practices in the community are poor also, as most community members don't wash their hands after visiting the pit latrines. Litter is disposed of everywhere, because most of the community members do not have compost pits. Dish racks, clotheslines and bathing rooms are not common. The available ones are made of local materials such as used sacks, mosquito nets and tree branches.

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.

"We have been drinking water without boiling thinking that water is clean as we see on our naked eyes, but it has not been that way. We have been suffering for long time from waterborne diseases and spending a lot resources in medication that could have been used in paying school fees or using on development," said Grace Malezi, the landowner. Thankfully, protecting the spring will ensure that its water is safe, adequate and secure. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water.

Project Updates

October, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Gracy Malezi

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 Handidi to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point, Malezi Spring. Shortly after, we returned to check in on the community, offer a COVID-19 refresher training, and ask how the pandemic affects their lives.

It was during this most recent visit that Grace Malezi, who more often goes by Gracy or Mama Gracy, shared her story of how the coronavirus is impacting her life and her community. Gracy is a 70-year-old farmer, grandmother, and mother in Handidi. As the namesake of the spring, she is also the water point's caretaker.

Mama Gracy Malezi outside her home

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

What is one thing that has changed in your community since the completion of the water project?

"We have a continuous supply of clean water. There also has been a reduction of waterborne and water-related diseases, which were affecting our children."

Gracy fetching water from Malezi Spring

How has having a clean water point helped you through the pandemic so far?

"With a continuous supply of clean water, there is regular washing of hands. It has also helped us to maintain a high level of personal hygiene."

Handwashing with soap and clean water from Malezi Spring using the leaky tine Gracy set up outside her house

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Kenya, has fetching water changed for you because of restrictions, new rules, or your concerns about the virus?

"Yes, fetching for us has changed. During the first few weeks, there was a lot of fear among us; no one was sure about the disease. But with the information we've learned over time, we now fetch water while observing the set regulations."

Physical distancing at the spring

How has COVID-19 impacted your family?

"It restricted our movement around. My children have just been doing menial jobs. They are involved with construction. With the outbreak, some have been laid off from work unexpectedly. Also, just being able to afford basic needs has been a challenge since the outbreak."

Gracey at home with her granddaughters

What other challenges are you experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

"Economic challenges. The outbreak has caused a major impact on the economy. This has thus has affected us severely because we are in small-scale business."

What hygiene and sanitation steps have you and your community took to stop the spread of the virus?

"Regularly washing hands, social distancing, and wearing face masks."

Portrait of Gracy wearing her homemade mask

Like most governments worldwide, the Kenyan government continues to set and adjust restrictions both nationally and regionally to help control the spread of the virus.

What restriction were you most excited to see lifted already?

"Opening of the church was what I was most excited about. I had missed the fellowship with other believers."

What restriction are you still looking forward to being lifted?

"I am looking forward to opening schools for all students, not just a certain [class year]."

Checking on her bananas

When asked where she receives information about COVID-19, Gracy listed the radio, television, and our team's sensitization training.

What has been the most valuable part of the COVID-19 sensitization training you received from our team?

"From the training, I benefited a lot from learning how to make masks and the steps in washing hands."

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Handidi Community, Malezi 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 Shigali reviews the prevention reminder chart

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 Handidi, Kenya.

Trainer Patience distributes COVID-19 informational pamphlets

We trained more than 14 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.

Building a tippy tap handwashing station

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.

Homemade face mask tutorial

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.

Community members following the mask tutorial closely to sew their own

The training participants thanked our team for considering them during this period to the extent of bringing to that village such valuable knowledge. They promised to keep social distancing, wash their hands frequently with soap and water, and to observe everything was taught that during the training.


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.

A woman sews a mask at training

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: Handidi Community

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Malezi Spring for Handidi Community in Western 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: Clean Water Flowing in Handidi Community

Malezi Spring in Handidi 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 scheduled by coordinating with Mrs. Grace Malezi, since she agreed to greater responsibility as the spring landowner. She asked for a week's time to mobilize her community to participate, and went door to door inviting people to attend. 14 people ended up attending, surprisingly with two more men than women. Normally, women outnumber the men because they are seen as most responsible for sanitation and water chores in their homes.

5 kenya4725 training

Training participants wave for a group picture!

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.

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 near the spring, we could easily show the group how to manage and maintain their new clean water point. One of the most important sessions was on hand-washing, which is a great, efficient way to prevent the spread of disease.

4 kenya4725 training

The trainer, Catherine, pours water as a participant follows the steps of thorough hand-washing.

Mr. Nelson Mwongoi said, "I am sincerely happy for your contribution made towards protection of this spring, and for ensuring that we get clean and safe water for drinking. More so for enlightening us on so many issues ranging from poultry farming, sanitation and hygiene, water and foodstuff handling, leadership and governance and so many others."

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.

25 Mrs. Grace Malezi and her sanitation platform

Mrs. Malezi lives with her family next to the spring. They were one of the needy families who benefitted from a new latrine floor!

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.

6 kenya4725 construction

A local man helps the artisan mix concrete.

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.

7 kenya4725 construction

Some local men stand at the artisan's call as he builds the steps down to the spring.

Nicholas Likami was there to witness the transformation as others fetched their first containers of clean water. "I am now 68 years of age, and I have been drinking water from this spring. I suffered from waterborne diseases through consuming water from this source. It's truly God's mercies that am still a live today! I am expecting to live longer since am now able to access clean and safe water for drinking," Mr. Likami exclaimed.

Thank You, Nandansons Charitable Foundation!

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!

A Year Later: Handidi Community

August, 2018

“I used to miss several classes due to waterborne diseases that were common in the area… Since completion of the spring, I can’t remember the last day or month I had a headache.” – Augustine Mateo, a 13-year-old student

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Handidi 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!

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Malezi Spring for Handidi Community in Western 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 – we’re excited to share this one from our partner, Jonathan Mutai, with you.

"Since the protection of this spring, we are drinking water without any worry because the spring is not exposed to agents of contamination like it was before," Mrs. Grace Malesi said.

Grace Malesi

The community members have embraced good sanitation and hygiene practices. Each homestead looks clean because they collect rubbish and dispose of it in their compost pits. Their water is clean since it is no longer exposed to agents of contamination. According to Grace, she has been practicing what we taught during training, and it has assisted her greatly in saving the money she used to spend to treat water-related sicknesses.

"We appreciate the work you did with us," she said.

All the people of Handidi are now accessing safe and clean water, free from forms of contamination. This is attributed to spring protection.

A picture from our monitoring visit in May 2018.

The spring protection 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.

"I used to miss several classes due to waterborne diseases which that were common in the area," Augustine Mateo, a 13-year-old student, said. "I personally thank WEWASAFO and The Water Project for considering our spring for protection. Since completion of the spring, I can't remember the last day or month I had a headache."

This functional spring protection in Handidi 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 Handidi 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 Handidi 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.


Project Sponsor - Nandansons Charitable Foundation