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The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -
The Water Project: Maraba Spring -

Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2016

Functionality Status:  Water Flowing - Needs Attention

Last Checkup: 06/04/2019

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

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

11/15/2017: 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.

The Water Project : 4579-yar-2

11/16/2016: Maraba Spring Project Complete

We are excited to report that the project to protect Maraba Spring in Maraba Village, 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 spring protection 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! And please enjoy the rest of the report from our partner in Kenya:

Project Result: New Knowledge

This was held in Mr. James Imbenzi’s backyard, who lives only a few meters away from the spring.

With the help of the community elders, we were able to recruit 20 training participants from different households in the area. These participants will become ambassadors of hygiene and sanitation to their neighbors. 11 of these training participants were female, and nine were male. There tend to be more females at training because women are seen as most responsible for household chores in this culture. Children from many of these household were also present for training. Participation was commendable, with community members asking several questions about each topic we covered.

4 kenya4579 training

These topics included but were not limited to leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; the spread of disease and prevention. We also covered water treatment methods, environmental hygiene, and hygiene promotion. During our initial visit to Maraba Village, we observed a lot of inappropriate behavior at the water source. Thus, we chose to emphasize proper maintenance of the spring protection project. The community should refrain from washing clothes, water animals, farming with fertilizers, and open defecation in the vicinity. We encouraged positive activities such as building a fence and digging proper drainage. All of these activities will prevent water pollution.

Hand-washing was both discussed and demonstrated. It is one of the most important barriers in preventing disease. Hands should be washed after visiting the latrine, before cooking, before and after eating, after shaking hands, and after handling garbage. We also taught locals how to build a hand-washing station out of sticks, rope, and plastic containers.

1 kenya4579 training

By the end of the three days, participants formed a water user committee to oversee and maintain the spring protection. Other participants were equipped with the knowledge to become community health workers. These workers will be responsible for sharing what they learned with the rest of their community by making door-to-door visits. They will continue to keep their neighbors accountable so that the overall community can experience improved health.

We observed immediate results. Community members got right to collecting the construction materials needed for spring protection. Women and children began carrying stones and bricks to the spring. As we followed up throughout the week, we noticed that hygiene standards were beginning to improve, and more community members came forward to ask for help building a new latrine.

Mrs. Jesca Imbenzi attended training with her children. She said, “I have learnt a lot from this training. Before today, my kids went outside or in the bushes to defecate and they would often complain of stomach upsets and even fail to go to school sometimes. With this knowledge gained today, I will take it upon myself to teach them how to use the latrine.”

4 kenya4579 training

Project Result: Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed and are ready for use. These five families are happy about this milestone and are optimistic that there will be much less open defecation. People without proper latrines would often use the privacy of bushes, but now have a private place of their own. It is expected that proper use of latrine facilities provided by the sanitation platforms will go a long way in reducing environmental pollution here. The community members who have these new platforms applaud them, saying they are more comfortable and much easier to clean. They are encouraging their neighbors to build the same.

18 kenya4579 sanitation platform

Project Result: Spring Protection

The construction process to protect Maraba Spring began on August 1st.

After a spring is earmarked for protection, our artisan arrives to clear the construction site. All bushes and trees are felled with machetes. This is followed by excavating up the slope from the spring output. Ballast is then mixed with cement and sand to make concrete. A wire mesh is lain on the excavated space before the concrete is added in order to create a strong foundation. This foundation is left to cure overnight.

6 kenya4579 construction

On the second day, the construction builds up the walls with brick. The artisan then installs a pipe low in the collection wall to direct water from the reservoir to a concrete or plastic spring box. He then backfills the spring source with hardcore until water is flowing from the discharge pipe. The area around the spring is then landscaped, fenced, and drainage is dug. There is also a chlorine dispenser at the spring so that there will be no doubt that every bucket of water is clean and safe for drinking.

8 kenya4579 construction

The community helped by gathering sand, bricks, hardcore, and fencing poles. They also cooked for and housed our work team during their two-week stay. Thanks to everybody’s hard work, there were no major challenges or delays. Looking at the pictures, you might notice that in some there is one discharge pipe on the spring, and in others are two. After first constructing the spring protection system, we noticed that the yield was lower than expected, so we corrected this by adding a lower discharge pipe, but leaving the first in place in case yield increases.

The landowner who hosted the training, Mr. James Imbenzi, was extremely excited. “After a long time, God has answered our prayer for clean water. With the protection of this spring, the community is going to enjoy drinking water from here,” he said. One of the community elders expressed his heartfelt thanks saying, “May God bless the donor for this noble idea! My community will no longer be the same with access to clean water.”

The Water Project : 14-kenya4579-protected-spring

09/28/2016: Maraba Spring Protection Project Underway

We are excited to share that work around Maraba 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. Check out the tabs above to read more about this project! 

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

The Water Project : 4-kenya4579-unprotected-spring

Project Photos

Project Type

Protected Spring

In many communities, natural springs exist as water flows from cracks in rocky ground or the side of a hill.  Springs provide reliable water but that doesn’t mean safe. When left open they become contaminated by surface contamination, animal and human waste and rain runoff. The solution is to protect the source. First, you excavate around the exact source area of the spring. Then, you build a protective reservoir for water flow, which leads to a concrete spring box and collection area. Safe water typically flows year-round and there is very limited ongoing maintenance needed!

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 Spring.

Month after month, their giving funds ongoing sustainability and support programs to help keep this working correctly. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability too!

Give Monthly

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 of supporters enable us to ensure all of our water points are safe and reliable for years and years.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Maraba Spring – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise!

Give Monthly


In Honor Of Hamza
4 individual donor(s)