Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 120 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2016

Functionality Status:  Water Flowing - Needs Attention

Last Checkup: 05/07/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

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!

Project Updates

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ejinja Community, Mark Ashikuku 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 Ejinja, Kenya.

We trained more than 13 people on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

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.

November, 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.

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: 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.”

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Ejinja Community, Mark Ashikuku Spring.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ejinja Community, Mark Ashikuku Spring 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, 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.

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 Ejinja Community, Mark Ashikuku Spring 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 Ejinja Community, Mark Ashikuku Spring – 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.


Project Sponsor - Unify Water