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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 350 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

The mothers living in Isese Community begin with fetching water from the unprotected spring for preparing breakfast and household chores. After they are through with their usual duties at home, they go to the farm. Some members of the community grow maize, beans, and other vegetables, even bananas, which help them pay school fees for their children. As is in most communities around here, women work the most to support their families.

Water Situation

Sylvanus Spring is an unprotected water source located on the lower side of the village, surrounded by bushes. Many people who lack latrines defecate close to the water point. During the rainy season, the rainwater washes this downhill into the spring. This kind of contamination has resulted in constant outbreaks of many water-related diseases like typhoid.

The community members had approached various organizations and politicians to assist them in protecting Sylvanus Spring, but have never succeeded. Politicians take advantage of the community members, especially when they are running for office again. ”They promise to protect the unprotected spring but all their promises has never been fulfilled, even after electing the said leaders to power,” says Bishop.

Sanitation Situation

Sanitation is a challenge here since many people lack latrines and the few that have them keep them in a pathetic state. The children say that they always use the bushes because they fear falling through the large holes in the latrine floor. Though the people we talked to say that they wash their hands after going to the bathroom, this could not be proven since there were no hand-washing stations to be seen.

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

Protecting the spring will ensure that the water is safe and adequate for drinking. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water. 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.

Recent Project Updates

01/10/2018: Isese Community Project Complete

Sylvanus Spring in Isese 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 spring, where there was enough shade. Being by the spring also allowed for some practical demonstrations on management and maintenance of the spring protection. The trainers arrived to 24 people already waiting there for them. Schools were also closed for the day, so a few children joined us.

We covered several topics including 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, hygiene promotion, and many others.

Demonstrations were some of the most popular parts of the training, with participants enjoying getting their hands involved. We did this with hand-washing, teaching the 10 steps of washing with soap and running water. And since we were already near the spring, we were able to teach about proper spring use, management, and simple maintenance.

People started putting the things they learned into practice right away. Some of the women had brought laundry that they planned to wash after the sessions, but they learned that doing these kinds of chores at the water source can actually contaminate the water. These women instead grabbed their laundry went back home with it, and plan to bring back water to do all of their chores.

Mrs. Modester Shisia said, “I have spent a lot of my resources on medication for a long time, without knowing that the common diseases have been preventable. It’s true we had been exposed to these diseases because our spring was unprotected. Now, I will have a duty to prevent them because I have the knowledge from you.”

Training participants take a group picture at Sylvanus Spring as construction is ongoing.

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 are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

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 we asked a few people to volunteer their time and strength to help the artisan with manual labor.

Young boys transporting materials to help the artisan protect Sylvanus Spring.

The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of polyethylene, wire mesh and concrete. After the base had been set, both wing walls and the headwall 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 polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination. Community members then helped us plant grass and dig cutoff drains to direct surface water away from the spring box. This process transformed Sylvanus Spring into a clean water source!

Community members wasted no time getting to the spring to celebrate its finish; they were there singing songs of thankfulness. They fetched their first containers of clean water, but didn’t want to go back home because they were so impressed with the transformation.

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11/15/2017: Isese Community Project Underway

Isese Community will soon have a clean, safe source of water thanks to your donation. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Sylvanus 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:  Rainwater Catchment
Location:  Kakamega, Shirere, Bukhungu, Isese
ProjectID: 4745
Install Date:  01/10/2018

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Functional - New Project


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.