Wetai Spring Protection Project

Regional Program:
Western Kenya WaSH Program

Latitude 0.29
Longitude 34.71

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 Emasera Village, Murumba sub-location, Butsotso East location, Lurambi Sub-County of Kakamega County. It serves 25 households with a total population of 200 people, out of which 95 are male and 105 are female. The spring also serves 800 pupils from Emasera Community School that relies on this unprotected spring as their only source of water. (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.)

Most who live in Emasera Village are farmers who wake up very early to start working. They grow crops like maize, cassava, sweet potato, arrowroot, and bananas. After eating breakfast, the men either go to their own farms or someone else’s to generate income. As the sun sets, the men return home to graze and water their own animals. While the men are doing all this, women start tackling the household chores. These include fetching water, washing utensils, sweeping, washing clothes, or gathering firewood. And those are only a few examples! If women finish their chores at a decent time, they will join the men on their farms. All the while, children have one of two places to be: either helping parents are studying at school!

Water Situation

The community uses the spring’s water for household chores like cooking, drinking, washing, watering animals, and irrigation of their nearby vegetable gardens.

Unfortunately, Wetai Spring is located at the bottom of a slope. This makes it prone to contamination from surface runoff and soil erosion. Farming activities done near the spring also lead to contamination of the water as chemicals and loose soil from the farms end up in the water source making it unsuitable for human consumption. Students from the nearby school and community members further contaminate the water by stepping into it as they fetch. On the social side, there have been many conflicts arising between locals and students who fight about who has the right to draw water first.

Cases of waterborne and related diseases like typhoid, diarrhea, cholera, coughs, and malaria have been reported. “I am appealing to WEWASAFO and The Water Project to help us protect this spring because there are many cases of waterborne diseases reported in the area. My first wife Mikali Asiko is just an example: She has suffered from typhoid for a very long time. Typhoid and diarrhea has been the order of the day in my family, and this is very disappointing. I have lost more than 50,000 shillings while trying to treat these diseases,” laments local father Henry Wesaya.

Sanitation Situation

Sanitation and hygiene is also a challenge to this community. Many community members lack latrines, and the few who have them have allowed deterioration into very poor and pathetic conditions. The young and the old, in most cases, opt to relieve themselves in the bush and behind the houses. They believe this to be much safer than stepping on old, rickety boards suspended over a dark and dirty pit!

While collecting the baseline information, it was observed that most of the community members do not have clotheslines and dish racks. Drying utensils and clothes on the ground can greatly increase disease transmission with a community. Just imagine the situation when no more than 50% of households have latrines, chickens and goats wander around, and dishes are on the ground. There’s a connection between these things!

Project Plans

In order to increase access to safe drinking water in this community, Wetai Spring should be protected. Protection of this spring will save the community members and Emasera Community School pupils a lot of the time that is lost while queuing and waiting for dirty water to clear.

Sanitation and hygiene training will also be conducted so that locals can understand the importance of living in a healthy environment. When participants are sensitized to how some of their behaviors have resulted in ill health, they will be motivated to adopt new practices: build latrines, dish racks, and clothes; store water proper and treat it before drinking; manage and maintain Wetai Spring.
The community members have already agreed to attend this training for three days, and are willing to make a 20% contribution to take ownership of this initiative. By the end of the three days of hygiene and sanitation training, community members will also have voted on five households that should benefit from new latrines.

Project Photos

Recent Project Updates

11/20/2017: A Year Later: Wetai Spring

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection and sanitation platforms for the community surrounding Wetai Spring in Kenya. Because of these gifts and 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, Jonathan Mutai, with you.

The Water Project : 4569_yar_1

07/26/2016: Wetai Spring Protection Project Complete

We are excited to report that the project to protect Wetai 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: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Hygiene and sanitation training was held at one of the beneficiaries’ homesteads, a mother by the name of Mikai Wesaya.

The village elder was notified of training ahead of time so that he could spread the word to all families. Through Mrs. Mikai Wesaya, many community members were invited to join the water user committee or become a community health worker.

Attendance was very good, considering that 120 students from Emasera Community School came to receive training too! The local students were so excited to be involved, that they helped with project construction as well.

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

The trainings were very successful. This was evident by the fact that the participants were very happy and appreciative of all the new things they learned. At the end of the training, we were able to establish responsible structures to make this water project sustainable. A Water and Sanitation Management Committee was formed (WSMC), and community health workers were identified.

Farmer and mother Violet Kikuyu said, “I am very happy about the trainings we have had. I have learned a lot. We have been washing and bathing at the spring not knowing that we contributed a lot in contaminating water. From today henceforth, we will not allow any man or woman to either bath or wash at the spring, since we want our water to be safe. Thank you so much and God bless you!”

6 kenya4569 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).

15 kenya4569 protected spring

Project Result: Spring Protection

Construction for spring protection began on June 4th.

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! One of the most difficult parts of this project was the fact that the roads were so difficult to travel. Tools and materials had to be dropped off 1.2 kilometers away, so community members had to use wheelbarrows and bicycles to ferry these things to the spring. This was backbreaking work!

When spring protection was finally complete, community members like Eunice Juma expressed their gratefulness. Eunice, a local farmer, joyfully shared:

I am very grateful to the donors who supported us to make this project a success. Initially before the spring was protected, it was difficult for us as the whole community to access clean, safe drinking water; especially during the rainy seasons. This is because the spring is located down the slope between two hills, and when it rains, the water was open to contamination by surface runoff. But now I am happy, since I know I can get safe drinking water all the time after protection and trainings on management and maintainance of the spring!

The Water Project : 23-kenya4569-protected-spring

06/03/2016: Wetai Spring Protection Project Underway

We are excited to share that work around Wetai 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 Wetai Spring Thank You for giving the hope of clean water and good health.

The Water Project : 1-kenya4569-unprotected-spring

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Kakamega, Lurambi, Butsotso, Murumba, Emasera Village
ProjectID: 4569
Install Date:  07/13/2016

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 02/28/2018

Visit History:
08/17/2016 — Functional
11/23/2016 — Functional
02/25/2017 — Functional
05/25/2017 — Functional
02/28/2018 — Functional

A Year Later: Wetai Spring

September, 2017

“Project beneficiaries are now enjoying good health as a result of project implementation, unlike before where waterborne diseases had hindered development progress of the community members. The situation has now changed after spring protection. The water source has become free from agents of contamination and diseases.”

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection and sanitation platforms for the community surrounding Wetai Spring in Kenya. Because of these gifts and 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, Jonathan Mutai, with you.

Life for people of all ages is changing in Wetai because of access to clean water at the protected spring.  Henry Wesayia, a chairman in the community, states “Records of waterborne diseases have generally reduced.  School fees can now be paid without a lot of challenges because production increased due to increased labor force.”


Regular health and hygiene training promotes sustainable practices for long-term health impact. WEWASAFO will continue supporting Wetai to ensure that clean water is not only available, but also that the community has tools to keep the water clean until drinking it.

In addition, WEWASAFO trains and challenges the community to build and maintain clean latrines. Josephine Wesa, a four-year-old in the community, expressed gratitude that she can now use a latrine instead of relieving herself in the bushes. The nearby water point and the protected latrine continue to provide girls like Josephine a safer community environment, more time for education, and improved health for years to come.

Jonathan Mutai, who works with our partner organization WEWASAFO reports, “On arrival at Wetai community, you will now see a good environment with different plantations ranging from subsistence crops to trees for general use. This is indeed evidence that the community members have taken action after project implementation.”

As Wetai Spring continues to provide safe drinking water to the surrounding community, the people are freed to pursue their own vision for a flourishing life.  We are excited to stay in touch with this community and report back more positive findings.

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

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.