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The Water Project : 16-kenya4849-sanitation-platform
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The Water Project : 15-kenya4849-sanitation-platform-construction
The Water Project : 14-kenya4849-digging-drainage
The Water Project : 13-kenya4849-backfilling
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The Water Project : 10-kenya4849-transporting-materials
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The Water Project : 1-kenya4849-wakamu-spring

Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 329 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

People living in Timbito wake up early in the morning to work on their farms. They plant maize and various vegetables, and are enjoying fulfilling work now that it’s the rainy season – Most crops are now ready for harvest.

Any excess will be taken to the local market to sell and trade. They are currently selling sweet potatoes, maize, and beans. Some men are in the ‘boda boda’ business, ferrying people from one destination to another on bicycles or motorcycles.

We did a project to protect Timbito Spring on the other side of this community, and now it’s time to bring clean water to even more people living here. A man living near Wakamu Spring visited Timbito Spring and saw the clean water for himself, and immediately sent in an application to our office.

Water Situation

Wakamu Spring is used by 45 different household living nearby in Timbito. They use its water throughout the year, sharing that there really isn’t any other reliable source in their area. The water is used for drinking, cooking, and all other domestic chores. It is also used in gardens and farms when it hasn’t rained for a while.

To cut down on trips to the spring, community members use the largest container they can manage to carry. When using a large container, a smaller cup must be brought to bail water directly from the spring. Smaller containers are just dunked directly under the water until full.

As much as the community members are glad that they have access to water, the bad side of it is that the water is not either clean or safe for human consumption. This was clearly evident during our visit, as one of the community members even brought their animals to drink directly from the spring. The community members also admit that they really need to boil water before drinking it, but they fail to do so at times. Firewood is hard to come by! Failing to treat this water always results in serious diarrhea and stomachache.

Sanitation Situation

Less than half of the households that rely on Wakamu Spring have pit latrines. Those who have them keep them in very poor condition; they weren’t built well in the first place, nor are they clean. Because of these poor conditions, open defecation is an issue here.

As women care for their small children, they’re often brought to the spring as they fetch water or carry out other chores there. Unfortunately, letting small children relieve themselves whenever and wherever they please is a socially acceptable practice in many rural areas – and that happens much too often around Wakamu Spring. Community members report that these feces are washed into their drinking water!

Dish racks and clotheslines would also greatly benefit the majority of households here; they’re laying their clothes and utensils out on the ground to dry. We were not able to find many hand-washing stations either.

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 latrine floors.

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, adequate and secure. 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

11/15/2017: Timbito Community Project Complete

Wakamu Spring in Timbito 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 started communicating the need for hygiene and sanitation training ever since our first visit. The village elder was our contact person, with him calling all community members to be available for the sessions. There were 20 participants of which seven were men and 13 were women, all who met under a tree nearby the spring.

Two of our facilitators 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.

Here are the men who attended training! Culture dictates there be a respectful distance between men and women.

Demonstrations were some of the most popular parts of the training, with participants really appreciating getting their hands involved. We did this with hand-washing, teaching the 10 steps of washing with soap and running water. We also took participants to their spring, where construction had recently finished. There we were able to teach about proper spring use, management, and simple maintenance.

Participants learning about their spring protection and how it yields clean water.

After training to the time of publishing this report, several community members have dug new latrines and built hand-washing stations. Some people even reported that they have been suffering from less stomachaches ever since they started washing hands.

Mr. Lazaro Okamu said, “I am very much grateful for the training, for I have learned about the ten hand-washing steps which I have never known all these years since I was born 40 years ago. With many more topics that I have learned, I promise to educate others, starting with my family members.”

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.

The artisan putting the final touches on a sanitation platform.

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 even volunteered their time and strength to help the artisan with manual labor.

Women hauling materials to the construction site for the artisan to use.

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.

Backfilling protects the water from potential contaminants.

The only challenge during construction was that there ended up being quite a few water sources underground. We had to divert other flows from mingling with the one we were protecting. Thus, properly protecting this water took some extra construction materials, but it was worth it!

This process has transformed Wakamu Spring into a clean water source. People gathered to celebrate this transformation and fetch their first buckets of clean water. Mrs. Gertrude Peter said, “To the people whom God has sent to us, I would like to thank you so much for you have really saved us. For the past three years since I moved to this place, I been a friend of the hospital for my children have suffered a lot! Right now, am happy because we will no longer drink unclean water.”

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10/13/2017: Timbito Community Project Underway

Timbito Community will soon have a clean, safe source of water thanks to your donation. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Wakamu 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, Chegulo, Chebwai, Timbito
ProjectID: 4849
Install Date:  11/15/2017

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.