Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Program: Kenyan Spring Protection

Impact: 320 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2015

Functionality Status:  Low/No Water or Mechanical Breakdown

Last Checkup: 01/13/2023

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 Ijinha Village, Butsotso Central Location, Lurambi Constituency of Kakamega County. Emuyokha Spring has served as the community's main water source over the past several years. There are 320 beneficiaries; 180 are female and 160 are male. These people make up 30 households that use the water for daily drinking, cooking, washing, and other domestic chores. The spring is also used by the neighboring community to water their farm animals.


Emuyokha Spring is located in a valley. When it rains, the spring's water is very difficult to access. The community has also noticed that after rainy weather, the spring's water is at its dirtiest. This rainfall may be washing away waste that was not disposed of properly, and also washing dirt from the banks into the water. This dirt also piles up in the spring, causing blockage. Those that go to the spring also noticed that some people use dirty containers to scoop water, or step into the spring itself to fetch.

As a result of this contaminated water, community members report that outbreaks of waterborne diseases have been increasing. Women and children are affected the most. The community says the most dominant health problems are malaria, skin diseases, typhoid, and diarrhea. The Village Elder also affirms that these diseases have been on the rise.

Women also find that a lot of time is wasted fetching water. After a few women step into the water and stir it up, the dirt rises, and the other women must wait for the water to settle before scooping their own. They admit that during these stressful waiting periods, quarrels and disagreements arise. Who was there first?

Emuyokha Spring was equipped with a chlorine disinfecting dispenser some years ago. Most people, however, do not like to use this dispenser because of the chemical taste it gives the water. The five liter dispenser is filled monthly instead of the recommended weekly schedule. Because of this, community members resort to boiling water or do nothing at all.

General sanitation is also in a poor state. Few villagers have any knowledge on good sanitation and hygiene practices. As WEWASAFO walked through the village, they noticed that many people practice open defecation. This adds to the problem of waste left by roaming livestock and wild animals. Thus, there is an obvious lack of adequate sanitation platforms (These are concrete slabs with holes in the center used as a bathroom. This is much safer than standing on wooden slats spanning the hole.). Any bathrooms and dish racks WEWASAFO found were in poor condition.

Most households lack clotheslines. Thus, people choose to dry their clothes on the fences and ground. Moreover, few households had dug compost pits in order to dispose waste. They instead dispose of waste on their family farmland and/or compound.

The community showed great excitement when WEWASAFO paid them a visit. They have high expectations, and are already willing to contribute 20% of their resources to the construction project. They ask that WEWASAFO consider Emuyokha Spring as their next project.

Water and Sanitation Management Committee

This training was held from November 17-18 at the spring landowner's homestead. It was attended by 14 people of which seven were male and seven were female. The training aimed to equip the committee with the skills needed to manage and maintain their spring.

The facilitator introduced the committee to the concept that while the donor and organization provide 80% for this project, the community is expected to meet them with 20%. This 20% includes local materials such as hardcore, ballast, clean sand, bricks, and fencing poles. The committee should mobilize the above, as well as prepare their community to host the construction team if necessary. These kind of contributions will give the community a sense of ownership and pride for the work done, which will further contribute to the sustainability of the project.

The committee is also responsible for selecting five homesteads that will most benefit from new sanitation platforms (easy-to-clean concrete latrine floors). These five families will have to prepare by digging their own pits and providing extra clean sand, bricks, and wall materials.

The committee agreed to fulfill the following roles and responsibilities:

- Mobilize local materials needed for spring protection

- Choose five families for sanitation platform construction

- Provide two laborers to help the team

- Manage the spring

- Build a fence around the spring

- Write and enforce rules for behavior at the spring

- Raise funds for spring management and maintenance

- Ensure proper records are kept

The facilitator took the committee through ways they can effectively manage and maintain the spring, such as:

- Digging trenches around the spring for proper drainage

- Constructing gabions to control soil erosion

- Planting grass around the catchment area

- Building the security fence

- Limiting farming in the water source's area

- Always keeping an eye on children

- Regularly cleaning and picking up waste at the spring

Beyond protecting the water source, participants agreed on the following methods to prevent waterborne diseases:

- Always using latrines and avoiding open defecation

- Cooking food properly

- Covering food and drinking water

- Washing hands with soap and water at important times

- Boiling or treating drinking water

WEWASAFO staff will be monitoring in partnership with TWP to oversee all monitoring and evaluation of this project. The meeting ended with a word of prayer, and it was agreed that a refresher training be held in June of 2016.

Community Health Worker Training

The community health worker (CHW) training was held from November 19-20. The meeting took place at the village elder's homestead because of its close proximity to the spring. The CHW sessions drew a total of 14 participants, of which seven were male and seven were female. The training aimed to equip CHWs with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to effectively initiate and coordinate hygiene-related activities in their community. The facilitator utilized various training methods such as Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) and Focused Group Discussion (FGD).

The facilitator explained disease transmission using a triangle diagram; the three points being the pathogen, the environment, and the human host. The main example used human waste as the pathogen source, and the group focused on three ways these pathogens make their way to the source. The routes are waste to the spring's drinking water, waste carried by houseflies to food, and lack of proper hand-washing after using the latrine. A matrix diagram showed the committee how they can set up barriers along these routes, such as washing hands, using good latrines, and properly handling food and water.

These was also a session on the three sectors of hygiene: water hygiene, personal hygiene, and environmental hygiene. Participants were urged to clear bushes and drain stagnant water around their compounds to prevent mosquito breeding sites. They were taken through the proper ways to boil, chlorinate, and solar-disinfect drinking water. Some other steps to improve environmental hygiene would be to:

- Build more latrines

- Dig compost pits

- Use sanitation facilities such as clotheslines and dish racks

- Build animal shelters

Hand-washing was discussed as an integral, daily activity. The facilitator listed the five most important times to wash hands, which are after using the latrine, after changing a baby's diaper, before cooking, and before and after eating. Participants were challenged with the question "How do you wash your hands?" However, the facilitator noticed that they needed to highlight the 10 steps of thorough hand-washing. They demonstrated these and gave each participants an opportunity to demonstrate.

Water handling was discussed at three levels: fetching at the spring, carrying home, and storing at home. The facilitator focused on the do's and don'ts at each of the levels. For example, water should always be treated before consumption and should never be stored for more than three days.

The group elected three members to take the title of CHW. These CHWs will be responsible for visiting homes in their communities to educate families on what they learned during training. They will also be required to check for the following:

- Latrines

- Clotheslines

- Dish racks

- Hand-washing stations

- Compost pits

- General cleanliness

Along with the above duties, CHWs are tasked with monitoring and ensuring that hygiene standards are met.

The community thanks the donors, promising that they will take good care of the spring by following everything they learned. They look forward to consideration  for future projects.

Project Results:

Spring Protection

The protection of Emuyokha Spring is complete and now in use by the community members. The spring now has two pipes that discharge water, each filling a 20-liter bucket in less than a minute. The water source initially served 30 households, but now serves 40. This population growth is due to others hearing the good news of accessible clean water.

The protection project has eliminated contamination from surface runoff and human activities. This makes the water safe enough for drinking. Community members are very happy with the water quality. "The water discharge is very high and fetching water is much easier using these pipes. We save a lot of time since we no longer have crowds of people at the spring waiting to fetch water. We can now invest the available time in other community development activities," says Mr. Alfred, a village elder.

A cheerful woman nods as the elder says this, adding that they no longer have to fear when fetching water. At times, community members would get bites from scorpions that lived in the muddied water! The locals are also very optimistic, believing that cases of waterborne diseases will soon be a thing of the past. Beyond the construction, they also know how to treat their drinking water with chlorine. They say that this is all thanks to the training sessions held in the village.

Women have already saved so much time to do more economical activities. Some have formed social groups, while others have started kitchen gardens for both personal use and market ventures. They look forward to using this time to save more money and invest in their children's education.

Household Sanitation Platforms

Sanitation platforms have been installed and are now in use by beneficiaries. The five households are extremely grateful for how easy these latrines are to use and clean. An elderly woman agrees, saying that she no longer fears falling into the concrete latrine as she did when it was made only of wooden slats. Other households are looking to these examples and plan to construct sanitation platforms of their own.

Thank You for unlocking potential in the Emuyokha Spring Community!

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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!