Emusioma Spring Protection Project

Regional Program:
Western Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude 0.30
Longitude 34.69

500 Served

Project Status:

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Stories and 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 Bushibo Village, Ashiunzu sub-location, Central Butsotso location, Lurambi Constituency of Kakamega County. The village has a total of 36 households, and the total population is 285. Bushibo Village is also home to Shibembe Primary School which hosts 280 primary pupils and 78 early education pupils. There are eight teaching staff and two supplementary staff. (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 make a great location for a second project. To learn more, click here.)

A normal day in this community begins at 5am! The women begin fetching water as early as 6am so they can use it to cook and do chores. Parents who have children old enough for school start by preparing them for the day; getting them washed, dressed, and fed breakfast. Once parents have seen their children off to school, they walk to their farms to tend the sugarcane or maize they are growing. Others take their animals out to graze. After preparing and eating lunch, women and men go to their separate community meetings until about 5pm. Right when the meetings disband, women go back to fetching water from Emusioma Spring. Children spend their entire day at school, and parents spend their entire day undertaking manual labor.

After seeing the great results of Chris Ochango Spring’s protection project, the community members using Emusioma Spring sent in their application. After our team assessed the village and their water source, it was obvious that the spring is indeed unprotected and thus contaminated.

Water Situation

The current source of water for this community is an unprotected spring. Beneficiaries use its water for domestic chores, irrigating farms, and watering animals. The nearby students use the spring’s water for drinking, cleaning classrooms, and cooking lunch for all the teachers and students of grades seven and eight.

This water proves unsafe for drinking, since numerous cases of waterborne disease have been reported. Malaria is also an issue in this area since the spring lacks proper maintenance, such as drainage ditches and cut grass. Farmer and mother Alice Mmbonee says that “If a month passes without the children getting sick, that is really unusual. If they are really, really sick, they need to go to the hospital. We have to take the children to the clinic maybe once every two months. It takes about six hours in total: one hour for traveling to and fro, and five hours average accessing medical help… When we get there, the hospital admits the child and I stay on average three days attending to him or her.”

The spring is located on low land, so its especially prone to contamination from surface runoff and soil erosion. There is no fence, so animals freely drink from the water. Farming also takes place just uphill, so different chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides often wash down into the water when it rains.

Locals lack awareness about the connection between their spring’s dirty water and their ill health. They continue to wash clothes, water their animals, and even bathe in the spring.

Water from the unprotected spring is rarely boiled or treated due to lack of hygiene awareness and to some extent, a lack of wood fuel due to poverty. There are also strong cultural beliefs that water treatment chemicals such as chlorine cause cancer.

Because the spring has no catchment area yet, people fetch water by scooping with small containers, and then pour it into a larger 25-liter jerrycan or other plastic container. Most of these do not have covers, so the water inside is also open to contamination on the journey home. Once home, most families have larger containers ranging from 100-1000 liters for water storage.

Sanitation Situation

The sanitation situation for the community around Emusioma Spring is very bad. Under a quarter of households don’t even have a pit latrine. The latrines that are even there are dilapidated and almost collapsing. They are smelly, damp, and have a lot of flies inside. Any families that could benefit from their own latrines are too discouraged to do so, and end up using the surrounding bushes to relieve themselves.

Almost no other kinds of sanitation facilities were seen. No dish racks, clotheslines, or hand-washing stations. If there was a dish rack seen, we’re pretty sure there were some shoes drying with the utensils.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

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.

Plans: Sanitation Platforms

Community members will decide on the five families most in need of a new latrine. These families will receive a sanitation platform, which is a concrete floor that makes a great foundation for a safe and clean latrine. These families will prepare by sinking a pit that the concrete slab can be placed over. These five new latrines will go a long way in reducing the level of open defecation in this 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!

Lack of access to a basic service like clean water has a huge negative impact on human development here. The impact is on maternal and childhood health, education, gender equality, and general livelihood. There is an urgent need here that will be tackled immediately: The Kenyan government, WEWASAFO, you, and The Water Project are pooling our efforts to ensure safe water and sound sanitation facilities for this community. Since our project is not yet complete, we have encouraged the community to start boiling or filtering water before drinking.

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

11/15/2017: A Year Later: Emusioma Spring

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection system and sanitation platforms for families living around Emusioma 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 : 4566-yar-2

07/26/2016: Emusioma Spring Protection Project Complete

We are excited to report that the project to protect Emusioma 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 lectures and discussions were held at Shibembe Primary School, and then practicals were held at the spring protection site.

Participants were all from either the water user committee or were community health workers. The people filling these two roles were selected by the greater community. Total attendance was 21, out of which six were female and 15 were male. All present actively participated in the activities and asked good questions.

Some of the topics included but were not limited to:

  • Community contribution and responsibilities
  • Leadership and governance
  • Group dynamics
  • Forming an effective water user committee
  • Mangement 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
  • Hand-washing

The training was considered successful, since participants were trained on proper water-handling, and the women immediately began covering their water containers. The water user committee fenced the spring, made cutoff drainage, and started the registration process of the spring committee with the Ministry of Social Services.

Local farmer James Sakwa was in attendance. He was very grateful for what he learned, saying, “I didn’t know that diarrhea diseases result form my poor hygiene practices and lack of safe water. I am now enlightened on proper hygiene practices that will lead to reduced water pollution and block the routes of contamination. Thank you!”

6 kenya4566 training

Project Result: Sanitation Platforms

Five new sanitation platforms were built for families around the spring, totaling 40 community members served. These are 40 less community members who previously had no choice but to go to the bathroom outside!

19 kenya4566 protected spring

Project Result: Spring Protection

Construction for this spring protection began on April 30th.

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.

Though the pictures might fool one into thinking not much goes into protecting a spring, that list proves it a misconception! All that work has paid off, though: It only takes 45 seconds to fill up a jerrycan with clean, safe water. When spring protection was complete, community members like Alice Sakwa expressed their gratefulness:

I wasted a lot of time and money. Now am happy I will use that time to tend my farm and the money to engage in small business. Thanks to WEWASAFO and TWP for the safe water!

The Water Project : 15-kenya4566-protected-spring

06/03/2016: Emusioma Spring Protection Project Underway

We are excited to share that work around Emusioma 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 parents, teachers, and students 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 Emusioma Spring Thank You for giving the hope of clean water and good health.

The Water Project : 2-kenya4566-fetching-water-2

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Kakamega, Lurambi, Butsotso, Ashiunzu, Bushibo Village
ProjectID: 4566
Install Date:  07/12/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 02/13/2018

Visit History:
08/01/2016 — Functional
11/03/2016 — Functional
02/28/2017 — Functional
05/10/2017 — Functional
07/05/2017 — Functional
02/13/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Emusioma Spring

October, 2017

“Our children no longer suffer from diarrhea diseases and this is because we are now accessing safe drinking water. With the hygiene trainings, our standards of hygiene have also improved tremendously.”

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection system and sanitation platforms for families living around Emusioma 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.

“As I entered Bushibo Village, healthy faces met me on the way” shared Field Officer Karen Maruti. Homesteads looked clean and had dish racks, clotheslines, bathing shelters, and even new latrines. These same families all rely on Emusioma Spring, which happened to be Karen’s destination that day.

4566 YAR 3

There she met Mary Likhome, a woman who attended last year’s training and has been drinking clean water from Emusioma Spring. She told Karen that “Since the spring was completed, waterborne diseases have been a thing of the past to us. Our children no longer suffer from diarrhea diseases and this is because we are now accessing safe drinking water. With the hygiene trainings, our standards of hygiene have also improved tremendously.”

4566 YAR 2

Karen also met 11-year-old Linda Akaya as she fetched water for her family. She said she’d still like to see her community to build a fence around Emusioma Spring to keep out animals and intruders. Linda expressed her curiosity about whether or not this clean water could be tapped from the spring into each home; a project that may not happen until the government can provide additional support for piped water systems. It is so cool how taking this step with clean water has opened Linda’s eyes to see the potential for Bushibo Village!

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.