Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Program: Kenyan Spring Protection

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2015

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/08/2024

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

Simon Otundo Spring is located in Emumbia Village, Ebutanyi Sub-Location, Emasaba Location, Mwibona Ward, Luanda Sub-County of Vihiga County. The spring serves 560 people from 80 different households. 200 of these are male and 360 are female. The spring's water is used for drinking, cooking, watering animals and irrigating crops.

(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.)


The spring is constantly contaminated by runoff, farming around and bathing in the spring, and people stepping into the spring as they fetch water. Since there is such a high population using the spring, the water is constantly stirred up and muddied. This is the only preferred source in the area, since it is the only source considered as running and not stagnant. However, it is very unsafe since the water used for drinking is the same used for washing clothes and watering animals. Community members report they have suffered from many cases of waterborne diseases such as flu, typhoid, malaria, and cholera.

The community's sanitation situation is also critical. Many households have latrines that are in poor condition. Because of this, children and the elderly avoid using the latrines for fear of falling through the slats. They must result to open defecation which then furthers the spread of disease. This waste is also washed into the spring during rainy weather, or carried around by unpenned animals. Some of these households will greatly benefit from new latrines with sanitation platforms. This will provide people of all ages with the safety and cleanliness they deserve.

The community members are applying for help with protecting their spring. The community is prepared to provide the local materials needed to complete this project. They look forward to safe water, new facilities, and the opportunity to learn about hygiene, sanitation, disease prevention, and overall health during training provided by WEWASAFO.

Water and Sanitation Management Committee Training

Training aimed to equip the Water and Sanitation Management Committee with the relevant information they need to ensure proper management and maintenance of Simon Otundo Spring. The training was held between the 10th and 11th of November with a total attendance of 14 people out of which eight were female and six were male.

The committee was encouraged to fence in the spring, ensure no animals are kept near, no clothes-washing in the spring, and to educate the other community members about ways to protect their water resources.

The training facilitator also informed the committee of the materials necessary to complete their spring protection project, which include: clean sand, ballast, fencing poles, bricks, and hardcore. The committee was also in charge of choosing five households in their community that would most benefit from new sanitation platforms (easy-to-clean concrete latrine floors). The beneficiaries of these platforms are responsible for gathering their own clean sand and wall materials, and digging a 2 x 3 pit.

The facilitator encouraged group discussion throughout the training, which gave the participants an ownership of what was learned. Participants agreed on the following responsibilities for their new committee:

- Ensure the spring is always well-protected

- Make laws to govern the spring

- Monitor and evaluate the spring

- Provide labor for the protection project

- Make sure all available local materials are on site

The facilitator elaborated on the steps that make the above responsibilities more tangible:

- Plant indigenous plants around the spring

- Forbid both plant and animal farming in the vicinity

- Avoid washing and bathing in the water

The group had the opportunity to learn about these things on site, as well as how the spring's water is often contaminated. Often there is poor drainage of stagnant water or improper waste disposal around the spring. The committee agreed to take the proper steps to prevent these bad behaviors.

The facilitator also held a session about waterborne disease. Some of these diseases are malaria, typhoid, bilharzias, and dysentery. The group listed ways community members can treat their water, such as using a life straw, boiling, filtering, or solar purification.

The committee should both personally practice and encourage the following good practices in their community:

- Always use latrines

- Cook food properly

- Cover food and drinking water

- Wash hands with soap and water

- Practice water treatment

The spokesperson thanked the entire training team and asked them to thank you, the donor, for implementing this project in Emmumbia Village. The participants were very happy and added that they have gained so much necessary experience from attending training. They also requested that our partner return to the village to continue developing sanitation and hygiene projects. The workshop was closed with a word of prayer by one of the participants.

Community Health Workers Training

The Community Health Workers training for Simon Otundo Spring was held between November 12 and 13 in Emmumbia Village. The training's purpose was to sensitize community members to the importance of good health and hygiene. The training was attended by 13 people out of which seven were female and six were male.

This training also included the same information about disease transmission and prevention methods. Participants agreed that it is important to construct more latrines and build hand-washing stations, and most important always using them at the appropriate times.

A new session taught participants about how to properly handle water. There are three times water can be contaminated: at the spring, on the way home, and at home. For example, chemicals used near the spring could contaminate the water, but also carrying an uncovered, dirty container could also do so.

The group also had a chance to observe and then personally practice how to properly wash hands. But physically being clean doesn't last long if one lives in a dirty environment, so the group also brainstormed and then agreed to keep their households clean as well:

- Remove cobwebs

- Clear bushes and collect litter

- Always dispose of waste in a compost pit

- Sweet house floors on a daily basis

- Drain stagnant water

- Wash bedding

The group also looked forward to visiting other households in the community to encourage them to practice the above.

To further encourage participants, the training facilitator elaborated on a chart that proved investing in good health is cheaper than contending with the negative results of bad hygiene.

The chairperson promised to collaborate with the Water and Sanitation Management Committee to make sure the entire community makes an effort to improve sanitation and hygiene. He also shared that everybody appreciated the partner and their donors for help with protecting Simon Otundo Spring. He shared that these improvements would most certainly save the community both time and money.

Project Results:

Spring Protection

Protection of Simon Otundo Spring is complete and is now in use by community members. The village has already grown by six households, making the total hit 86 households. These people were drawn to the village with the news of clean water, and the community expects to witness an even greater population increase.

The spring is now immune to surface runoff, and human activity no longer taints the water. There is a catchment area with a discharge spout, making water much more accessible for small children who no longer have to step into the water that they plan to drink. Installing this spout has also steadied the flow of water and kept things much more organized at the water point. No more long lines or waiting for the water to clear. Moreover, there is now a water committee that manages and maintains Simon Otundo Spring. The committee has already come up with a list of rules and regulations for water use and behavior around the spring.

Cases of waterborne diseases are expected to greatly decrease, because most or all of the contamination routes have been blocked. Before safe and clean water was accessible, families had to invest much time and money into managing the negative effects of impure water. They look forward to saving money and seeing an overall improvement in their standard of living.

An improvement in sanitation and hygiene practices has already been witnessed. Households now see the importance of always using sanitation facilities such as clotheslines, dish racks, and latrines. This is thanks to the community health workers who have already taken responsibility for educating families!

Household Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed and are now in use by families. These households admit they no longer fear using their latrine, knowing they cannot fall through the concrete. These slabs are also much easier to clean.

Thank You for working with WEWASAFO and the Simon Otundo Community to make clean water a reality.

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Emumbia Community, Simon Otundo 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 Erick shows how to build and use a leaky tin

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 Emumbia, Kenya.

We trained more than 21 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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

Following the handwashing demonstration

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.

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.

Man stands with installed prevention reminders chart at the spring

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.

Social distancing at training

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.

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!


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