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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 120 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

This unprotected spring is located in Ejinja Village, Ashiunzu sub-location, Central Butsotso location, Lurambi Constituency of Kakamega County. Most residents of Ejinja Village are farmers. They grow crops at a large scale, growing mainly various vegetables, maize, bananas, and beans. Some can afford to grow sugarcane, which yields a great return of investment. If not a farmer, a community member might make bricks. Many clients come from Kakamega Town looking for these building materials, since there has been a huge boom in infrastructure development.

A normal day in this community begins at 6am. Parents who have children old enough for school start by preparing them for the day. Once parents have seen their children off to school, they walk to their farms or brick-making location. Children spend their entire day at school, and parents spend their entire day undertaking manual labor.

After seeing the great results of Andrea Mutende Spring’s protection project, someone referred Mark Ashikuku Spring to us, saying that many community rely on it as their sole source of water.

Water Situation

The current source of water for this community is an unprotected spring. And it is certainly contaminated! This is attributed to the fact that the spring is located very close to a flowing river where most people go to wash their possessions such as utensils, bathe themselves, and water their animals. There is no doubt that these contaminants spread to the spring as well. Nonetheless, community members use this water for cleaning, drinking, cooking, irrigating farms during dry seasons, and watering their animals.

Community members using water from this unprotected source are victims of many different waterborne ailments. The verified waterborne diseases include typhoid, cholera, malaria and various coughs. We met Mr. Mark Ashikuku, who the spring is named after, complaining of how his family repeatedly suffers from typhoid. He says that “There was a time when I spent around 10,000 Kenyan shillings on medication on my son who suffered from typhoid for a very long period of time, money which I could otherwise have invested in my brick-making business.” Mark’s case is just one example of the many in this community.

Sanitation Situation

Under half of households have their own latrine. Any latrines observed during our initial visit turned out to be pit latrines made of mud. None of them had floors constructed, which can be both hard to clean and dangerous. A dirt floor changes to mud during the rainy season! But the other half of the households that don’t have a pit latrine? Human waste is not disposed of properly and thus poses a huge risk to the greater community.

During training, we will take this community on a transect walk to sensitize them to some of the more serious health threats. The transect walk will teach locals to watch for practices that go on and facilities that are present related to good health and hygiene. Sometimes, a participant feels shame when the group arrives at their household and points out things that are unhealthy or unhygienic; but in Kenya, this affects people to make a positive change. Training participants will also vote on and decide the families that should benefit from the five new sanitation platforms.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Sanitation Platforms

Community members will be trained for three days on a variety of health, hygiene and sanitation topics. This training will result in community members donning the roles of health workers and water user committee members. The training facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Training), CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), and ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) methods to teach community members, especially the women and children who feel the burden of household responsibility. Training will equip each person with the knowledge needed to practice viable and effective health solutions in their homes and at the spring.

By the end of training, participants will also have identified five needy families to benefit from sanitation platforms. These are concrete floors for latrines that are safe and easy to clean. Five new places to use the bathroom will help create a cleaner living situation for the entire community.

Plans: Spring Protection

Locals are eagerly preparing for this spring protection project. They have agreed to gather the local materials needed for construction to begin, which include sand, ballast, hardcore, bricks, fencing poles, and even a few helpful hands!

Recent Project Updates

11/15/2017: A Year Later: Mark Ashikuku Spring

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection system and sanitation platforms for families living around Mark Ashikuku Spring. Because of these gifts and 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 with you.

The Water Project : 4565-yar-3

08/23/2016: Mark Ashikuku Spring Protection Project Complete

We are excited to report that the project to protect Mark Ashikuku Spring in Kenya is now complete. 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 help keep the water flowing. Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this well and many other projects.

We just updated the project page with the latest pictures, so make sure to open the “See Photos & Video” tab to enjoy!

Project Result: New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held at a community member’s homestead. The spring’s landowner worked with our training officer to mobilize at least one representative from every family to attend. A total of 17 people showed up for training, out of which 14 were female and three were male. This is because women and girls are primarily in charge of their family’s sanitation and water-related responsibilities.

Topics included but were not limited to:

  • Community contribution and responsibilities
  • Leadership and governance
  • Group dynamics
  • Forming an effective water user committee for management and maintenance of the spring
  • Water pollution
  • Water-related diseases
  • Building disease transmission barriers
  • Proper handling of food and water
  • Importance of having and using a latrine

Everyone actively participated in demonstrations, transect walks, brainstorming, and group discussions. Soon after training, we noticed that many of the participants had already added useful facilities to their homes, such as basic pit latrines, dish racks, and clotheslines! At training, farmer and mother Agnes Ayuma said, “The training has come so timely and it will go a long way in transforming our perspective about water preservation, management, and environmental hygiene.”

4 kenya4565 training

Project Result: Sanitation Platforms

Five families benefited from sanitation platforms for their latrines. They expressed their happiness saying that with the help of TWP and WEWASAFO, they have been able to get these facilities which will help their lives improve. Most of them had been practicing open defecation, which resulted in anxiety and outbreaks of disease. Others used wooden floor latrines which posed a lot of risk of injury or death because of rotten beams that break. But since these sanitation platforms are made of sand and cement, they will be able to last for a longer period of time (up to 15 years). Families will continue to construct walls and roofs for these floors in the days to come.

21 kenya4565 finished sanitation platform

Project Result: Spring Protection

The spring protection process began on January 10th.

Spring protection involves conducting a water quality test; clearing the site, excavating the land uphill from the spring discharge until three feet of water is flowing; packing hard core; reinforcing and casting the foundation slab, building the main and wing walls; fitting the delivery pipes, inlets, draw off pipe, overflow, and inlet screen; backfilling; installing a pipe low in the collection wall to direct the water from the interception reservoir to a concrete or plastic spring box; landscaping and drainage; fencing the area; digging drainage.

11 kenya4565 construction

Though the pictures might fool one into thinking not much goes into protecting a spring, that list proves it a misconception! There were other challenges, too. The families in this community are barely able to earn enough for their daily bread, and thus need every minute they can find to work on their farms. Finding enough help to stockpile the necessary sand and stones for construction took extra time! Even with these delays, construction was finished in a timely fashion. Spring protection also increased the yield: Mark Ashikuku Spring now yields enough water to fill a 20-liter jerrycan in one minute!

The management of the spring was handed over to the water user committee and the community members in a ceremony that was attended by a great multitude of people who were very happy about safe, clean water in their village. Farmer Sanchez David said, “Protecting this spring is a new lifeline for the current users and many more to come. It has inspired the love of God Almighty in our lives by using water to minister to our thirsty souls.”

In fact, many people already report a decrease in diarrheal diseases, which will increase performance in schools and give parents ample time to work and earn a living. The water user committee has vowed to guard their protected water source zealously so that it serves them for decades. “This is a blessing that came to us from above and we cannot misuse it,” commented the water user committee chairman, “We will ensure everyone follows the rules that have been put down by this community to direct us in taking care of Mark Ashikuku Spring and whoever violates our rules will be penalized!”

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06/01/2016: Mark Ashikuku Spring Protection Project Underway

We are excited to share that work around Mark Ashikuku Spring has begun. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from this 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 GPS coordinates.

The Water Project and the community of Mark Ashikuku Spring Thank You for giving the hope of clean water and good health.

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Kakamega, Butsotso, Ashiunzu, Ejinja Village
ProjectID: 4565
Install Date:  08/09/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 02/08/2018

Visit History:
05/06/2016 — Functional
08/17/2016 — Functional
11/15/2016 — Functional
03/30/2017 — Functional
06/05/2017 — Functional
09/07/2017 — Functional
02/08/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Mark Ashikuku Spring

September, 2017

“Life has become better for me, since I don’t have to worry about coming home early to look for clean water before people get it dirty.”

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection system and sanitation platforms for families living around Mark Ashikuku Spring. Because of these gifts and 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 with you.

Having clean water flowing from Mark Ashikuku Spring has reduced the huge amount of children you’d see wandering the community in search of clear water – not even clean water. Before it was protected, Mark Ashikuku Spring’s water would grow cloudy as users dunked their jerrycans to fill them. And as a result of hygiene and sanitation training, the environment is now clean and most people have compost pits, dish racks, and clotheslines.

4565 YAR 2Peris Ashikuku says she believes that the clean water from this spring has freed her community to finally take care of themselves and their homes the way they want to: “Access to clean water, which is available even during the dry season! There has been improvement in the cleanliness of our environment after training, and I can attest to the fact that immediately [after] you left, people embarked on making sanitation structures as you advised. [These things have] helped us improve the health of people – as there are less reports of people suffering from diseases.”

4565 YAR 3Innocent Okhaso told us that he once bore the burden of finding clean water for his family. “As a student in high school, I commute on a daily basis. Life has become better for me, since I don’t have to worry about coming home early to look for clean water before people get it dirty. Being the eldest among my siblings, this was my responsibility because of the distance involved,” he shared. But with the increased quality, quantity, and accessibility found at Mark Ashikuku Spring, almost anyone can easily fetch clean water. “Now my siblings can easily carry out this responsibility, and I now invest that time in my studies which are bearing fruit,” he added.

As of now, some households are sharing latrines, though their hygiene and sanitation behaviors have improved drastically, and we look forward to continued improvement as we encourage each household to build their own latrine. Keeping Mark Ashikuku Spring flowing with clean water is a way to support this community in all of their endeavors, and we’re excited to stay in relationship with this community as they continue their journey.

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 four times a year. Read more about our program and how you can help.


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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.