Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  Decommissioned

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

Maraba Spring is an unprotected water source located in Maraba, Kakamega Central location, Shieywe Ward, Lurambi Constituency of Kakamega County. This spring is situated 500 meters from Kakamega Town. The people of Maraba practice small scale farming and run businesses as their main sources of income.
Standing in the center of town, one will discover that a normal day starts very early, especially for the women. The women start by taking their produce from the farm to the market. Next come the children who are rushing to school. Most men also wake up early to be on time for their formal employment, or others who are looking for casual employment. Casual employment here, known as "jukali," could be taking a job on a construction site or ferrying people to and fro on the back of a "bodaboda" (which we know as a motorcycle!).

As the day goes on, fewer people can be seen around the community since most are at their workplaces. Women are the only ones seen around the homes. They might be drawing water or doing household chores such as washing clothes. As the day draws to an end, the roads are busy again with people hurrying back home.

Maraba is known for hosting the biggest agricultural produce store in all of Kakamega called "Cereal Board." This village is also host to the area's main cemetery.

The village elder contacted us, sending in an application expressing the great need in his community. Below are the details gathered during our first visit to the community.

Water Situation

Maraba Spring currently serves 600 people from over 100 households. There are a lot of people here because of the huge number of rental houses. (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 community would be a good candidate for a second project in the future so adequate water is available. To learn more, click here.)

Locals attest that the water source never runs dry even in the driest of seasons. The spring's water is used by community for general household tasks such as cooking, washing, and cleaning, as well as for drinking.

Being unprotected, the water source is subject to pollution from many different sources. The community members especially notice contamination after heavy rains, which increase the turbidity of the water (it looks brown and is just as dangerous!). The open nature of the water point also allows animals to drink directly from the spring, while others like frogs live and reproduce in the water; algae is growing in the water, which is another indication that the water is not safe for consumption.

Women and children dunk their large containers directly into the water to fetch, which not only wastes time but gets the water even dirtier. Smaller children have to wade into the water to fetch, which stirs up the mud on the bottom. The next in line have to wait for the dirt to settle.

Not only is the water dirty starting at the source, but it just gets worse as it is transported to and stored at home. The water containers used here don't have covers, and appear to be caked in dirt. Once home, water is normally separated by intended use; drinking water is poured in a clay pot with a cover, and the rest of it is kept out on the ground in an open container.

Consequences of drinking this water plague the community; typhoid and diarrhea are a common occurrence.

Sanitation Situation

No more than half of these one hundred households have latrines. Any we observed are made from wood slat floors and mud walls, which make them very hard to clean.

Children and the elderly fear to use the bathroom because of these old shaky slats that can break at any time. During our initial visit, we recognized open defecation is thus a huge issue here. In fact, there are even sites delegated for this practice.

No more than half of these families have bathing rooms, either. These are important for having privacy while bathing! We couldn't find many helpful sanitation tools such as dish racks, clotheslines, or hand-washing stations.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least three days. This training will ensure participants are no longer ignorant about healthy practices and their importance. The facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation), CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development), group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring.

Training will also result in the formation of a committee that will oversee operations and maintenance at the spring. They will enforce proper behavior around the spring and delegate tasks that will help preserve the site, such as building a fence and digging proper drainage.

Plans: Sanitation Platforms

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrines.

Training will also inform the community and selected families on what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, such as bricks, clean sand, hardcore, and ballast. The five families must prepare by sinking a pit for the sanitation platforms to be placed over. All community members must work together to make sure that accommodations and food are always provided for the work teams.

Plans: Spring Protection

Fetching water is predominantly a female role, done by both women and young girls. Protecting the spring and offering training and support will therefore help empower the female members of the community by giving them more time and efforts to engage and invest in income-generating activities.

In addition, protecting the spring will ensure that the water is safe, adequate and secure. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water. We met Laban Lubabn'ga, a watchman in the area. He's very excited about the opportunity to improve everyday life here, saying "In our village, outbreaks of waterborne disease is like the order of the day. This is attributed to drinking of contaminated water from the unprotected spring. A week hardly elapses without taking our children to the health centers due to diarrhea diseases resulting from poor hygiene and water handling. It's a dream that you have been sent from God to save us from the situation."

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Maraba Community, Maraba 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.

Trainer in full personal protective equipment heads the session

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 Maraba, Kenya.

Participant reads an informational pamphlet on COVID-19

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.

Socially distant participants mimic coughing into the elbow

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.

Trainer Laura Alulu leads the handwashing session and asks people to mimic the steps

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.

Trainer Laura demonstrating handwashing

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.

Trainers using chart with prevention reminders at training

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.

Village elder shares his views at training

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.

Trainer Laura installs the reminder chart near the spring

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: Maraba Spring

A year ago, generous donors helped build a spring protection system and sanitation platforms for families living around Maraba 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: Maraba Spring

October, 2017

“Our water is very clean and sweet.”

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Maraba Community.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Maraba Community 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 Maraba 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.

Field Officer Amadaro walked into a transformed community on his way to visit Maraba Spring. These households relying on Maraba Spring have maintained good hygiene standards, and cases of open defecation are now rare. Households have invested in constructing new latrines and helpful tools like dish racks, clotheslines, and compost pits. Bushes have been cleared and floors are swept.

Life has become more convenient since Maraba Spring was transformed into a clean source of water. People no longer have to bend down to scoop dirty water since the pipe installed during protection has made it easy to fetch water. Now parents can easily send their children to the spring for water, too.

We met Mrs. Imbenzi fetching water at the time of our visit. "We now fetch clean water just at our doorstep," she said delightedly. She shared how before protection, the water would be contaminated with mud and by frogs living in the water. "Now we don't have these contaminants! Our water is very clean and sweet." She said cases of waterborne diseases have diminished because of this clean water and the better hygiene practices adopted by neighbors. Beaming with pride, she said "My children are now healthy and they go to school clean and happy thanks to the readily available clean water."

Sasha Imbuta told us that "having clean water close to home has made life better," and that's she's always healthy now. She also likes to go with her mother to help fetch water from the spring, since it's much easier to fill containers with the pipe.

The biggest problem facing these ladies is that the clean water flowing from Maraba Spring has attracted hundreds of people. It now serves over 80 different households, and both Mrs. Imbezi and Sasha said that we need to continue adding clean water points, especially since they live in such an urban area.

Keeping Maraba Spring flowing with clean water is a key way to support this community in all of their endeavors, and we’re excited to stay in relationship with them 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 Maraba Community 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 Maraba Community – 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.


In Honor Of Hamza
4 individual donor(s)