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The Water Project: Emusoli Community, Otwato Spring -
The Water Project: Emusoli Community, Otwato Spring -
The Water Project: Emusoli Community, Otwato Spring -
The Water Project: Emusoli Community, Otwato Spring -
The Water Project: Emusoli Community, Otwato Spring -
The Water Project: Emusoli Community, Otwato Spring -
The Water Project: Emusoli Community, Otwato Spring -
The Water Project: Emusoli Community, Otwato Spring -
The Water Project: Emusoli Community, Otwato Spring -
The Water Project: Emusoli Community, Otwato Spring -
The Water Project: Emusoli Community, Otwato Spring -

Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Program: Kenyan Spring Protection

Impact: 240 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2015

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/28/2020

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).

Background Information

This unprotected spring is located in Emusoli Village, Mwitumbwi sub-location, Mukhalakhala location, Mwivona Ward of Luanda Sub County within Vihiga County. The spring serves 30 households with a total population of 240 people out of which 100 are Men and 140 are women.

The water is used for drinking, cooking, watering animals and irrigating farms.


The spring is contaminated by constant natural run-off and human contact when fetching water. After large bouts of spring-side activity, the water is dirtied to the point that locals have to wait some time to draw water again. This waiting leads to loss of economic potential; it is time that would otherwise be used to farm or take care of children.

As a result of drinking unprotected water, community members report that they have suffered from many cases of water borne diseases and sicknesses including typhoid, diarrhea and dysentery.

Sanitation in the community also needs improvement. Many households have latrines that are in poor condition. Both children and the elderly fear to use these latrines, afraid that they may fall inside.

Without the latrines, the only other option is to use the bush outside. And consequently when it rains, human waste is washed down to the water source.

The community members are requesting WEWASAFO to consider protecting their spring, reducing cases of water borne diseases and illness.

Water Sanitation and Management Committee Training

The Water Sanitation and Management Committee Training’s purpose was to equip water-using committee members with knowledge and skills concerning operation and maintenance of their spring. The Otwato spring is located in Vihiga County, Emuhaya constituency, Mukhalakhala location.

The training was conducted from July 14-15, 2015 at the spring. It was attended by 14 people out of which were six men and eight women.

WEWASOFO Key Projects

The training officer introduced Western Water and Sanitation Forum as a Non-Governmental Organization based in West Kenya with headquarters in Kakamega town, in the Ambwere Complex building, second floor room six. The organization works with less privileged members of the community to reduce poverty through effective use of local resources.

Trainees were also informed of four important projects run by the organization:

– Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

– Gender and Governance

– Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security

– Micro-Finance

WASH Objectives

Participants are introduced to four objectives:

1. Increase and improve access to both safe and adequate drinking water

2. Improve access to sanitation facilities for target groups (such as children, women, or the elderly)

3. Improve both knowledge and attitudes about proper hygiene

4. Improve the sustainability of WASH activities

Workshop Objectives

The following were the training objectives:

1. Equip the community with relevant knowledge and skills concerning operation and maintenance of water sources

2. Enhance the capacity to effectively monitor and supervise water catchment systems and related educational activities in the village

3. Educate the community on income-generating and record-keeping skills related to water facilities

4. Develop management and leadership skills that equip the community to be more self-reliant

Committee Objectives

Members of the Water Sanitation Management Committee agree to carry out the following:

– Maintain and manage the spring

– Register the spring and recruit new members

– Draft a spring user constitution with regulations and penalties

– Enforce the constitution

– Monitor and evaluate spring operations

Water Pollution

Members brainstormed sources of contamination:

– Free animals grazing in proximity to the spring

– Children playing in and around the spring

– Drain blockage resulting in mosquito breeding grounds

– Soil erosion

– Latrines and outside defecation near the spring

After sources of contamination were discussed, the committee was able to agree on the following prevention methods:

1. Building fences to keep animals away from the spring

2. Educating children on the importance of protecting the spring

3. Managing spring drainage in a routine manner

4. Cutting back of riverside brush

5. Planting trees around the spring to control soil erosion

Water-borne and Water-related Diseases

The following water-borne and related diseases affect the committee’s community:

– Malaria, Typhoid, Dysentery, Bilharzias, Cholera

Prevention of Water-borne and Water-related Diseases

The participants agreed on the following control mechanisms to combat diseases attributed to water pollution:

– Washing hands and food before eating

– Serving food while fresh

– Treating water/boiling

– Giving immunizations and treatment

Funds Collection and Management

The committee agreed that funds are integral to protect and manage their spring. It costs money to repair, fence in, and register the spring. Members thought of a “merry-go-round” fund, when a different party collects funds every month. They also listed fund-raisers and donations as other income-generating possibilities.

Keeping Records

Recording information is important for the following reasons:

– Promotes transparency and accountability

– Creates a reference

– Helps enforce spring regulations

All participants will personally observe the following:

– Work progress

– Areas of needed improvement

– Activities in the area and their effects on the spring

– How people collect water

– Regulations infringement

After two days of training, Committee chairperson Madam Otemba responds, “Let us all transmit the knowledge gained in this workshop to other members of the community.”

Community Health Workers Training

Community health workers training for Otwato spring was conducted on July 16-17, 2015.

Training participants totaled 17, including 10 men and seven women. Representation included community members, two government representatives and three WEWASAFO staff.

The training was aimed at equipping participants with skills to promote and practice good hygiene at the village and its spring. This method should reduce water-borne and related illnesses and diseases in the future.

Training methodology included a participatory approach, CLTS (Community Lead Total Sanitation) and group discussion.

CHW Training Objectives

1. To broadcast the message of good hygiene; its practices and benefits

2. To educate participants with new hygiene practices

3. To develop basic communication skills related to the topic

Practices that will help reduce Water and Food contamination

Participants agreed the following will help ensure health and decrease illness:

– Constructing sound latrines to discourage outside defecation

– Boiling water before drinking

– Washing and cooking all food thoroughly

– Washing hands at appropriate times (after every use of the latrine, after changing a child’s diaper, and before handling food)

– Covering and storing foods well

– Digging compost pits for proper waste disposal

Role of Community Health Promoters

Participants owned their roles as good hygiene promoters. They will visit:

– The spring, public meetings, churches, health centers, and at least 10 homes

During these visits they will educate on having:

– Dish racks, compost pits, clothes lines, clean latrines, bathing rooms, methods to drain stagnant water, good nutrition and diet, family planning/immunization, kitchen gardens, HIV/AIDS awareness

Results of the Project:

Spring Protection

Protection of Otwato Spring is complete and in use by the community members.

The community members no longer waste a lot of time searching for safe drinking water. The time saved is now used for productive economic activities.

The community members around Otwato spring were so happy with the project that they urged Wewasafo to protect even more community springs!

Household Sanitation Platforms

Household sanitation platforms (cement slabs used in latrine construction) have been installed and community members are now using them. Users say they feel more comfortable using the slab floor because it is safe, easy to clean, and also easy to maintain. They added that there are other community members who are also in need of these slabs.


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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 pours through a reinforced pipe in a concrete headwall to a paved collection area. Safe water typically flows year-round and there is very limited ongoing maintenance needed!


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