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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

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).

Welcome to the Community

Imbiakalo Community is home to peasant farmers who grow crops like maize, millet, beans, and potatoes. The most popular crop is sugarcane, since farmers can sell their entire harvest to local sugar factories. Men are the ones who spend the most time on farms, but many youth help cut sugarcane when it is ready for harvest. The youth here also harvest sand for construction projects as a way to supplement family income.

This area has an approximate population of 500 people from 50 different households.

Women are the ones most responsible for household upkeep. They cook, clean, and are seen most at the water points fetching water for those tasks. They must always ensure water is available at the home, regardless of factors such as time, distance, and water quality.

Water Situation

Kenya Finland Company drilled a well for this community in 1989. They saw the need for not only a safe water point, but a source in the village itself. Women were walking long distances to fetch water from springs (over one kilometer away). The well served the community for ten years until the pump failed. The community tried to repair the pump with local, mismatched materials so that it could continue to yield water. These temporary parts caused the pump to wear out faster, until it could no longer function. Women then had no other choice but to start making trips to the unprotected springs again.

In 2011, Water for All saw the need for a new pump and thus installed a solar pump. This worked for two years and then failed. Since there was nobody around to fix the pump anymore (the organization no longer exists), the community once again returned to the spring.

Women bring plastic containers to fetch water from the spring. One is a large jerrycan, and the other a smaller container to fill the jerrycan with water. Once home, water is separated by use. Drinking water is stored in large clay pots for drinking, since they keep the water cooler. These have covers and a cup which the entire family uses to draw and drink water. Water for cooking and cleaning is kept in the jerrycan in which it was fetched.

We met Lilian Matendechere at the well we plan to rehabilitate (check out the picture of Lilian under the “See Photos & Video” tab). She regrets how she has no other choice but to fetch water from the spring. She said, “There is regular outbreak of diarrhea and typhoid in both the young and the old, hence we use a lot of money in treatment.” Fetching water from the spring doesn’t only cause waterborne diseases. Having a water source so far away results in an acute water shortage. Women cannot afford for all of their time to be spent walking to and from the spring. Families must sacrifice cleanliness to have enough with which to cook and drink.

Sanitation Situation

Most of the households here have a pit latrine. Most of these are made of mud and grass, and have no doors for privacy. The same number of households have bathing rooms to practice personal hygiene. Under a quarter of households have a place to wash hands after using the latrine or before eating.

Facilities are not kept as clean as they should because of the water shortage. Hands are not washed because drinking water is more important. We believe that if there is a water source in the community, sanitation and hygiene will improve. The fact that most people here have a latrine proves that they care about these matters.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members will be trained for two days on applicable hygiene and sanitation practices. The facilitator will use the PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Training) method to teach about topics like: Importance of Using Latrines, Good and Bad Hygiene Behavior, Water Treatment, Water Storage, Food Preparation and Storage, Disease Transmission Routes, Blocking the Spread of Disease, and last but not least, Hand-Washing!

Training will result in the formation of a water user committee which will oversee, manage, and maintain the rehabilitated well. Participants will be taught how to build a tippy tap, which is a hand-washing station made out of a jerrycan, rope, and sticks. The facilitator will also encourage every household to build new sanitation facilities like latrines, bathing rooms, dish racks, and clotheslines.

Plans: Hand-Washing Stations

Two hand-washing stations are scheduled for delivery by the time well rehabilitation is complete. Training participants will be taught the steps to effective hand-washing, and of the importance of using a cleaning agent such as soap or ash. Water user committee members will also check that there is water inside the containers on a daily basis.

Plans: Well Rehabilitation

The community affirms that this well has sufficient water that will supply them throughout all seasons. The well has a total depth of 47 meters and a static water level of 10 meters.

The rehabilitation process will include material collection, pad reconstruction, flushing, test pumping, water quality testing, water treatment, and then pump installation.

With this well protected, community members will suffer less and less from waterborne disease. If they practice what they learn in hygiene and sanitation training, they will suffer less and less from communicable disease. Less disease means less money spent on medical treatment, and more time spent earning a living.

Recent Project Updates

12/20/2017: A Year Later: Imbiakalo Community

A year ago, generous donors helped rehabilitate a well with Imbiakalo Community in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners can 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.

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10/24/2016: Imbiakalo Well Rehabilitation Project Complete

We are excited to share that the rehabilitated well in Imbiakalo Community is now providing clean water. Hygiene and sanitation training was conducted in the community, which invited all local students and parents to learn about practices like washing hands and using latrines. Two hand-washing stations were delivered upon the well’s completion. This water and new knowledge give the community and school a great foothold in eliminating water and sanitation-related illness! Please enjoy this update detailing all the work that was done in Imbiakalo Community, and make sure to click on the “See Photos & Video” tab above to find new pictures of the finished project.

Thank You for unlocking potential for these people. You made clean water a reality, and now you have a chance to make sure it keeps flowing. Now, you also have the opportunity to join our team of monthly donors who help us maintain this well and hundreds of other projects!

Project Result: New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was planned after our first visit to the community, when we could assess their specific needs. At least one representative from every household was required to attend. Both men and women showed up to learn, actively participating in each lesson.

For Imbiakalo Community, we first focused on the importance of having and using a latrine. We then used pictures to help participants identify and describe good and bad hygiene practices. Last but not least, we focused on hand-washing with both demonstrations and individual practice. Another lesson taught participants how to form a water user committee that will oversee and maintain the rehabilitated well.

These same committee members and training participants were inspired by the new practices they learned. Together, they set targets for what they want to undertake over the next few weeks. They will ensure that every household has the facilities they should, such as dish racks, latrines, and hand-washing stations.

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Project Result: Hand-Washing Stations

Two hand-washing stations were delivered for the handing over ceremony to celebrate the well’s completion. Because of all the training, community members and students from across the street will be able to effectively use and take care of these stations.

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Project Result: Well Rehabilitation

Construction to rehabilitate this well began on September 23rd.

The construction team started by tearing down the old well pad to make room for a new one. They used a ring of bricks, wire mesh, and cement to make the new well pad. This was then coated with waterproof cement. Before we could do any more work, we had to let the cement dry for several days.

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After, we developed the well using a compressor. Before installing the new pump, we tested the well to make sure the yield was sufficient. We then fitted the pump base around the hole and anchored the PVC riser main with the cylinder. Finally, we could install the rest of the pump along with the rods and plunger.

The rehabilitated borehole ended up being 47 meters deep with a static water level of 10 meters.

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The community provided sand to help us construct the well pad. Local women also cooked meals for our artisans throughout the process. The only challenge was rainy weather that interrupted work for short periods.

(Editor’s Note: We have recently learned that this well will also benefit students from the school across the street!). Timothy Otis, chairman of the water user committee, joined crowds of students in celebrating clean water. This water will alleviate the health challenges that the community and school faced. Mr. Otis said, “It is like a dream, but it’s reality! We have been going through many challenges in accessing safe and clean water for many years. Thank you very much, since from today, we are going to have our safe and clean water in place.” With better clean water and improved health here, the community will have more economic opportunities. And with clean water, the students from across the street will be healthy enough to focus on studies!

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09/29/2016: Imbiakalo Well Rehabilitation Project Underway

We are excited to announce that, thanks to your willingness to help, the Imbiakalo Community in Kenya will soon have a new source of safe, clean water. A broken well is being rehabilitated so it will be a protected, safe source of water, and the community will receive training in sanitation and hygiene. They will also receive two new hand-washing stations, and be encouraged to build their own. Together these resources will help stop the spread of disease in the area. We just posted a report including an introduction to the community, GPS coordinates, and pictures. We will keep you posted as work continues.

Click on the tabs above to find out more, and Thank You for your generous help!

Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Borehole Well and Hand Pump
Location:  Kakamega, Imbiakalo
ProjectID: 4539
Install Date:  10/24/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 08/02/2017

Visit History:
04/01/2017 — Functional
04/12/2017 — Functional
08/02/2017 — Functional

A Year Later: Imbiakalo Community

December, 2017

Before, our children used to have running stomach because of drinking water, and typhoid was also a great threat among elderly people who spent most of their time in hospital beds seeking treatment. Instead of spending time in hospitals, we now spend time on our small farms planting and harvesting crops.

A year ago, generous donors helped rehabilitate a well with Imbiakalo Community in Western Kenya. Because of these gifts and contributions from our monthly donors, partners can 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.

Imbiakalo Community stood out to Paul as a place that’s been doing extremely well on their journey with clean water. They no longer fight waterborne diseases like typhoid, and he sees a big change in how community members are handling, storing, and treating their drinking water.

Paul adjusts the jerrycan as it fills with clean water from the well.

Paul met the well caretaker, Martin Shimaka, to talk about how the well has been serving Imbiakalo over the past year. He said, “Women and children used to walk two kilometers away to search for water. Most of our homes are now closer to this source, making it easier to have clean, safe water. Before, our children used to have running stomach because of drinking water, and typhoid was also a great threat among elderly people who spent most of their time in hospital beds seeking treatment. Instead of spending time in hospitals, we now spend time on our small farms planting and harvesting crops.

Our livestock even enjoy the water from this well, unlike before when we lost lots of our livestock through death that came from drinking contaminated water from the river. They are now healthy and have better milk production.”

Rhoda and Paul at the well

12-year-old Rhoda Misango agreed, saying that “every time I fell sick, I was found to have typhoid. Now, I have no big problems.”

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.

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.