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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

"We are happy to have our water system in place again. We have been suffering from waterborne diseases because of taking the contaminated water from the spring. We will maintain the water system for our own benefit, especially for our health and upcoming generation."

Albert Talai

Community Profile & Stories

This project is a part of our shared program with Safe Water and Sustainable Hygiene Initiative (SAWASHI). Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Background Information

Kakoyi Community is home to 550 people from 55 different households. (Editor’s Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people.  This site would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)

Kakoyi Community’s people are farmers who grow sugarcane as their main cash crop. Men and women are both considered the bread winners of their families. Alcoholism is a huge problem in this community, with many men leaving women with the burden of running their homes. Most young men in this community are without jobs, so economic growth of this community is at a standstill.

The Current Source

Kenya Finland Company installed a well in 1987, because they found a good deposit of water that could last the community throughout all seasons. However, the pump was stolen by unknown persons, rendering the well useless for the surrounding community members.

Now, Kakoyi people must fetch their water from a nearby protected spring. Though construction was done to protect the spring’s water, people are still concerned about nearby farming and latrines. Even though locals know about this and choose to boil before drinking, small children still cannot stomach the spring’s water. Kakoyi Community reports that diarrhea and typhoid in children have led to death. Locals like Bernard Talai are desperately in need of a new pump on their well:

Born in Kakoyi Community, Bernard Talai is now thirty years of age, married to one wife and had three children: one is deceased and two are alive.

Being a fourthborn son in a family of six, Bernard is a bitter person who has undergone many challenges as a result of poor sanitation and lack of safe water. Bernard recalls that the misfortunes in his life started when unknown persons stole the hand pump from the well dug by then Kenya Finland Company. “It was in the year 2000, when we woke up early in the morning and discovered that our pump had been stolen. This was after my wife had gone to collect water for drinking,” Mr. Bernard recalls.

On that fateful morning, Bernard recalls how every community member was frustrated not knowing what to do. After some deliberation, they all decided to go back to their old stream and access water from there.
“After a period of five months, my firstborn four-year-old daughter started complaining of stomachaches which later resulted in diarrhea. As a poor family, we tried to treat her through traditional methods but the situation worsened,” Bernard narrates. “My second child also started experiencing the same symptoms like our firstborn. At this point, we decided to get them to the nearby dispensary. On reaching the dispensary, one of my daughters passed away. This has been a tough moment to our young family.”

Bernard and his wife have always remembered to treat water before drinking after the tough experience they went through. Due to the distance of the current water source and the quality of water from the stream, Bernard is upset knowing that they used to have a safe water point right next-door that some inhuman person stole.

“My wife is now three days after she gave birth to my third born. I am forced to hire someone to fetch water from the stream and pay him 5 shillings per container. At the same time, I also pay him to fetch water for my mother who is sick and cannot walk long distances or carry a heavy load. I therefore spent 200 shillings per day, for which it becomes a challenge to raise keeping in mind that I am jobless and I have a family to look after,” Bernard said.

Even though Bernard feels bitterness in his heart, he says that he has a reason to smile again for what God has done for his community by sending a Good Samaritan to rehabilitate the well. “I will commit all my efforts together with the other community members to ensure that our rehabilitated water source is safe and well maintained. I will not wish anyone else to lose a relative through death as a reason of drinking dirty water and eating contaminated food.”

Sanitation Situation

Over 50% of households have pit latrines, which are routinely cleaned by both women and men. The latrine doors are made of old iron sheets. The other portion of the community that does not have latrines often resorts to open defication. These families are in desperate need of their own latrines, or at least need to share with a neighbor. Waste that is not properly disposed of is easily carried from here to there, and is a huge danger to health. Training will sensitize Kakoyi’s community members to the important of using sanitation facilities.

Many of the households that have latrines also have hand-washing stations with soap available. Over 75% have dish racks and clotheslines. After the initial visit to Kakoyi, it was found that the community has a very positive attitude regarding hygiene and sanitation. They have the knowledge, but they need motivation to use it. Training will do just that for them.

Two more hand-washing stations will be installed in the form of “tippy taps.” Tippy taps are containers tied to ropes, which tip to pour water for hand-washing. Community members will learn how and when to use these stations during hygiene and sanitation training.

Training Sessions

Community members will be trained for three days on hygiene and sanitation topics. Some of these topics are:

– Effects of open defecation

– Proper water storage and effective treatment

– Food preparation, handling, and storage

– Forming an effective water user committee

The water user committee will fund repairs, maintain, and keep the well site secure.

The training facilitator plans to use the PHAST (Participatory Health and Sanitation Training) method to teach the above topics and more, and will return in July to hold a refresher training, check the new well, and assess if the community has made any progress.

Project Results: Training

Hygiene and sanitation training was held under a tree in Kakoyi Community. There was good attendance of both men and women, and both genders fully participated in each activity. The facilitator ensured that each planned topic was covered. After training, the community members were grateful for what they learned and promised to change their lifestyles. Housewife Lilian Meshack said, “We are not used to washing our hands every time because we believe its a waste of time. Hand-washing techniques was amazing to us, we are glad to learn the critical moments of washing hands!”

By the end of training, the community had also formed a water user committee in charge of security, management, and maintenance of the rehabilitated well.

Well Rehabilitation

Repairs on the Kakoyi community well began on April 14th. The team started by removing the old cracked well pad with chisels and mallets. When demolition was complete, they could mix concrete, sand, water, and cement to plaster a new well pad. This was then left to cure for three days before installing a new Afridev pump.

All the while, the community took care of the construction team by ensuring they had enough materials, meals, and security. No challenges were encountered from onset to finish of this project. Once finished, community members showed their obvious gratefulness. Farmer Albert Talai said on behalf of he and his community, “We are happy to have our water system in place again. We have been suffering from waterborne diseases because of taking the contaminated water from the spring. We will maintain the water system for our own benefit, especially for our health and upcoming generation.”

Kakoyi Community has a reason to smile again after a very long time wasted searching for safe, clean water. The community thanks God for sending Good Samaritans who saved their lives by rehabilitating their well. They promise to unite their efforts to ensure their water system is kept safe and well-maintained. “We are happy to have lessons of hygiene and sanitation practices that are going to improve our hygiene status. We hope if we maintain proper hygiene and sanitation there will be no death of drinking dirty water and eating contaminated food,” said Mr. Benard Talai.

Recent Project Updates

04/28/2016: Kakoyi Well Rehabilitation Project Complete

We are excited to inform you that the well at Kakoyi Community is now protected and in working condition! A sustainable project doesn’t result from rushing into an area, drilling a hole and leaving it; wells don’t last forever! That’s why rehabilitation projects are so important, and why monitoring this well is a priority. The community also formed a water user committee that will manage and maintain the water well. This committee, along with others from the community, also participated in a comprehensive hygiene and sanitation training. You can find updated training and construction details in the online project report, including new pictures. Please take a moment to enjoy all the work you made possible.

The Water Project and people of Kakoyi Community Thank You for unlocking potential!

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02/29/2016: Kakoyi Community Well Rehabilitation Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your willingness to help, Kakoyi Community will soon have a new source of safe, clean water. A broken well is being rehabilitated so it will be a reliable resource, and the community will receive training in sanitation and hygiene. Together these resources will help stop the spread of disease in the area. We just posted a report including information about the community, GPS coordinates, and pictures. We will keep you posted as work continues.

Take a look, and Thank You for your help!

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02/15/2016: Update From The Water Project

You’ve been assigned to a project! Check it out! And we’ll share more once the work begins!

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Kakamega, Kakoyi Community
ProjectID: 4518
Install Date:  04/28/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 09/27/2017

Visit History:
08/04/2016 — Functional
12/07/2016 — Functional
03/02/2017 — Needs Repair
04/28/2017 — Needs Repair
06/23/2017 — Functional
07/28/2017 — Needs Repair
09/27/2017 — Functional

A Year Later: Kakoyi Community

November, 2017

“With all the issues, the borehole was left inside a maize plantation, risking its security since the former staffs were visiting the same source frequently purporting to be workers of Sawashi therefore making it easier for them to vandalize or take away. With due diligence, the pump was taken back to the office store as we continue re-engaging the community and finding a lasting solution.”

A year ago, generous donors helped build a shallow well in the Kakoyi Community in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and support from our monthly donors, partners are able to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the actual water project. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – we’re excited to share this one from our partner, Paul Weringa, with you.

The Kakoyi Community has faced many challenges since implementing a shallow well rehabilitation.  Agness Natsani, the woman in charge of the well’s security recalled, “In the beginning, we enjoyed the service of the borehole after being rehabilitated. The water was clean and safe and every woman was relieved of walking long distance to the stream, which had contaminated water.”  However, social conflicts and reports of well contamination led many of the community members to abandon the well.  Many said that the water they were drawing from the well was yellow.

People stopped contributing money to the Water User Committee, the local group responsible for the upkeep of the well, when they lost trust in the quality of the water.  Maurine James, age 24, started fetching water back at the old water source and feared new outbreaks of waterborne diseases.  Ms. Natsani reported, “community members dug their own shallow wells in their homes.”  In fact, maize was planted all around the non-functional water point, without a path leading to the abandoned well.  Since the community was not using the well and not contributing to a solution, SAWASHI removed the pump so that the parts would not be stolen.

The good news is that the SAWASHI did not give up on the Kakoyi Community.  The team continued to engage the community, listen to their concerns, and returned in September to clean out the well.  The water is now clean and the pump is functional.  However, long term sustainability depends on continued community investment in well maintenance, and the SAWASHI team is working with the community to set up structures that will ensure clean water access for years to come.

The Water Project and our partners are committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by monthly donors, allows us to visit communities up to 4 times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.


Project Underwriter - Marcia and Philip Rothblum Foundation/Lisa Rothblum
1 individual donor(s)

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Country Details


Population: 39.8 Million
Lacking clean water: 43%
Below poverty line: 50%

Partner Profile

Safe Water & Sustainable Hygiene Initiative (SAWASHI) provides safe, affordable and sustainable water supply services through rehabilitation of boreholes, strengthening of Water User Committees, WaSH training of target beneficiary communities and monitoring & evaluation of water systems.