Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/05/2024

Project Features

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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 people from Luyeshe Village wake up very early in the morning to work on their farms and prepare their children to go to school. The community keeps dairy cattle and grows maize, sugarcane, ground nuts, bananas and vegetables. Some members of the community are involved in making bricks to earn extra income, since there are many construction projects going on in the area. Because of these activities, the people are better able to educate their children and provide for their own needs.

There are around 700 people from 100 different households living in Luyeshe. (Editor's Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, we believe a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people.  That's why we continue to work with communities until they have clean water that is both adequate and accessible. To learn more, click here.)

Water Situation

One of the main water sources in Luyeshe Community is Simwa Spring. Underground water bubbles up into the waterhole, and jerrycans and other plastic containers must be dunked in the water to collect it. Surface runoff from storms runs into the waterhole, carrying with it anything and everything that is on the ground uphill.

For these reasons, its users contract waterborne diseases such as typhoid, diarrhea, amoebiasis, stomachache and malaria. One resident further stated that the spring is contaminated because some people urinate nearby.

"During the dry seasons all other people come to draw water from the unprotected spring. This brings congestion at the spring. In addition, the containers that the people use to draw water from the unprotected spring contribute to contamination," said Mrs. Loice Simwa, a leader of the community.

Sanitation Situation

Less than half of the households here have pit latrines which are made of wood floors, polyethylene or mud walls, banana leaf roofs and doors made of old bedsheets or old iron sheeting. They are often rickety structures that offer little privacy, and become unsafe after years of use. The wood floors cannot be easily cleaned and end up decaying to the point of collapsing - oftentimes while in use. The fear of this happening often causes many potential users to seek privacy amongst bushes or behind buildings instead.

Some households have dish racks and clotheslines, although most are of a rudimentary nature. Many people heap up their solid garbage and allow it to decompose in their kitchen gardens. Few know about composting, and none of the households have hand-washing stations.

This is about to change!

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members will participate in a 2-day hygiene and sanitation training.

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.  The training objectives specific to this community include: To empower the community to be able to protect, preserve and manage water resources in the community; To mobilize the community to attain "open-defecation-free" status; To enable people to practice good environmental hygiene and ultimately to enable the community to continually have access to safe, adequate and clean water.

Plans: Sanitation Platforms

On the final day of training, the Luyeshe Village members will select five of their families to benefit from new latrines. The five families must prepare by sinking a 2’ x 3’ pit over which our concrete sanitation platforms will be placed.  When that new floor is installed, they will build a superstructure over it according to their means. Selecting five of the neediest families will help decrease open defecation, protecting the entire community from this dangerous contamination.

Plans: Spring Protection

The spring was identified during one of our routine monitoring visits to Matsakha Primary School, which benefited from 30,000-liter rainwater collection tank. We visited the spring for ourselves and found it viable for protection because it has a good discharge rate, serves more than 350 people, and does not dry up at all during the year.

The community will provide local materials such as: ballast, bricks, hardcore, clean sand and poles for fencing. Community members will participate in spring construction by providing unskilled labour to fence off the spring and plant the grass around it, supervise and monitor the progress of the construction work, and feed and house our artisan.

This community is ready for a new chapter of life that will begin once Simwa Spring is protected to provide adequate clean water.

Project Updates

October, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Loice Ezekiel Simwa

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

It was during this most recent visit that Loice Ezekiel Simwa, better known as Mama Simwa, shared her story of how the coronavirus is impacting her life and her community.

Loice Ezekiel Simwa, better known as Mama Simwa

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

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

"Every community member believes that this water is safe for drinking and drinks it even at the spring, unlike before when we had to sieve and add water purifiers."

Mama Simwa heads to the spring

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

"We have been able to wash our hands all through this pandemic period."

Mama Simwa gives a hearty smile while handwashing at home

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?

"Watching of distance at the spring has affected my fetching of water. I have to come to check if the spring has fewer people before I can go down into the spring to collect water."

Mama Simwa fetching water while community members observe physical distancing at Simwa Spring.

How has COVID-19 impacted your family?

"Things have really changed. Prices of items have gone up, especially foodstuffs, making it hard to even feed my family. My son who does some minimal jobs now depends on me since he can't find those jobs anymore. My school-going children have been at home since the schools were closed."

The Simwa Family at home.

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

"Our social life has been affected so much. We can't visit our elderly parents and relatives due to the fear of infecting them with COVID-19."

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

"We wash our hands regularly since we have placed handwashing stations in our compounds. We have avoided crowding in funerals and weddings. We also wear our masks whenever we are going out."

Putting on her mask

Like most governments around the world, 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?

"I was excited when churches were reopened and curfew hours reduced."

What restriction are you still looking forward to being lifted?

"I am still looking forward to our church hours being extended from the 1 hour 30 minutes period to more. I also hope to see our schools reopened.

Working her small plot of yams.

When asked where she receives information about COVID-19, Mama Simwa listed the radio 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 have been able to make masks for my family members from pieces of cloth in my house."

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Luyeshe Community, Simwa 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 Luyeshe, Kenya.

We trained more than 12 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Before there were any reported cases in the area, we worked with trusted community leaders and the Water User Committee to gather community members for the training.

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.

December, 2018: A Year Later: Luyeshe Community

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to protect Simwa Spring for Luyeshe Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local 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...

March, 2018: Luyeshe Community Project Complete

Simwa Spring in Luyeshe 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.

Project Result: New Knowledge

Mr. Ezekiel Simwa was excited to work with us to plan hygiene and sanitation training, and he offered to host the entire event. We gathered under the shade of a tree on his homestead because there were too many participants to fit in his home. It was also nice to take the group over to the spring as it was under construction. There, the artisan could explain more about how spring protection works and what community members can do to manage and maintain their clean water point.

Participants received new notebooks and pens so they could record what they learned.

All 21 participants were great listeners who boldly asked questions for clarification. The field officer clearly communicated the areas of needed improvement for Luyeshe, which included the following and more:

– Hand-washing and personal hygiene

– Handling water and food hygienically

– Safe waste disposal

– Water treatment

Hand-washing demonstration

Mr. Simwa said, "I lack words to express my happiness and thankfulness to you people. Indeed God will reward you for the good work you have done to us and other community members in Kakamega County by ensuring that they get safe, clean water not only for drinking but also for domestic chores."

Project Result: Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed. These five families are happy about this milestone of having a private latrine all their own, and are optimistic that there will be much less open defecation. 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 meals were provided for the artisan, and we asked a few people to volunteer their time and strength to help the artisan with manual labor.

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.

The only challenge to this process was filling in behind the discharge pipe. The artisan ran out of materials when backfilling, and the community scrambled to find enough rocks and other materials for him to complete the task.

But thanks to the artisan and community members' perseverance, Simwa Spring has been transformed into a source of flowing, clean water. Purity Lumbasi was one of the first ladies there. "We are grateful for the good work you did to us. The waterborne diseases that had been rampant in the area will be things of the past. Now we are sure to save at least some money for our children, as opposed to before when we used what little we had for medication," she shared.

January, 2018: Luyeshe Community Project Underway

Luyeshe Community will soon have a clean, safe source of water thanks to your donation. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Simwa 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.

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: Luyeshe Community

December, 2018

“We are very happy with the project you constructed for us,” said Simon Simwa.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Luyeshe 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, your generous donation enabled us to protect Simwa Spring for Luyeshe Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local 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 local team member Jonathan Mutai with you.

The community members living in Luyeshe now access safe, clean water. The water is free from contamination, unlike before when the water point was exposed to all sorts of pollution. Thankfully, the water catchment area has been sealed off and protected.

"Now, drawing water is more enjoyable than before. The water is very clean and we are using very little of our time to fetch it," said 10-year-old Mercy Simwa.

Mercy Simwa

Waterborne diseases reported in the area earlier have drastically decreased. That means students like Mercy miss school less often. Besides that, sanitation and hygiene in the area has also improved as a result of the training that took place alongside the protection of the spring.

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 project in Luyeshe Community is changing many lives.

"We are very happy with the project you constructed for us," said Simon Simwa during a recent visit to the spring.

Simion Simwa

"The time we wasted in drawing water before has greatly reduced. Besides that, waterborne diseases that were rampant in the area have also reduced as a result of the protection of Simwa Spring."

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 Luyeshe 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 Luyeshe 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.


3 individual donor(s)