Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Program: Kenyan Spring Protection

Impact: 180 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2015

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/25/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water And Sanitation Forum. Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Background Information

This unprotected spring is located in Elwanga Village, Ebusiralo Sub-Location, Luanda Township, Luanda Sub-County of Vihiga County. It serves a total population of 180 people from 15 different households. 109 of these people are female and 71 are male. Water is collected where the spring emerges out from under a large boulder.


The spring is actually running from a permanent water reservoir located under the boulder. Since the spring is not yet protected, community members are forced to search for a safe source in a faraway village or to buy bottled water. This wastes both time and money that could otherwise be used for economical activities.

The spring is located at a low point in the land. It is subjected to runoff that carries all kinds of waste into the water. People also contaminate the water when they step into it to fetch. If the water is not contaminated at that point, it is often contaminated by the dirty containers that villages often use. Poor water handling has increased the cases of diarrheal diseases in Elwanga Village.

The sanitation situation is also critical. Many households have latrines that are in very poor condition, with floors that are muddy and dangerous.

WEWASAFO observed that the community desperately needs to be trained on hygiene and sanitation. For example, one household near the spring was found to be misusing insecticide-treated nets to fence in their kitchen garden. Many of the spring beneficiaries are storing their water both in the wrong place and dirty containers. They will learn about the proper ways to use mosquito nets and store water from facilitators during training.

The community of Elwanga Village is appealing to WEWASAFO to consider protecting their water source. They believe this spring protection project will not only provide them with safe water, but will educate them about the proper ways to prevent disease and promote good health. The girl child (who is normally tasked with fetching water) and mothers would have adequate, safe, and reliable water if this project is completed. This will save time that is otherwise lost searching for safe water elsewhere.

Water and Sanitation Management Committee Training

The training was held from November 10-11 at a community member's homestead. It was attended by 12 participants with six of each gender. This training aimed to promote ownership of the project and equip the committee with the skills needed to manage and maintain Johnson Mmeri Spring.

The facilitator was pleasantly surprised that most participants were already familiar with the contribution they would need to make in order to complete the project. This was a result of effective mobilization that had been done prior to the workshops. They listed the local materials needed for construction to begin: hardcore, ballast, bricks, clean sand, and fencing poles. The community should also be prepared to host work teams during the process.

The committee also selected five households that were most in need of new sanitation platforms (easy-to-clean concrete latrine floors). These families are then responsible for sinking the latrine pit and providing extra clean sand, bricks, and wall materials.

Members were in agreement on the responsibilities of their Water and Sanitation Committee:

- Plan the project schedule

- Educate the community on hygiene and proper behaviors at the spring, and make rules for this behavior

- Pick up waste

- Repair any damage to the spring

- Register the spring

- Raise funds

- Monitor and evaluate activities at the spring

The committee was taken to the spring for a practical session on how exactly to manage and maintain the project:

- Dig drains to alleviate erosion

- Limit farming in the area

- Build a fence to keep animals out

- Plant grass around the catchment area

- Plant indigenous species

- Enforce proper behavior

Community Health Worker Training

The community health worker (CHW) training was held from November 12-13 immediately after the committee training. It was attended by the committee members, all of which are excited to learn and share more information about good health. The aim of these sessions was to equip participants with the skills needed to practice and promote good hygiene and sanitation behaviors in the community.

The training began with a session on disease transmission. This involves the germs and disease, the environment, and the human host. The group was taken to a kitchen at the spur of a moment, where they observed a normal situation and how much impact it has on health. For example, water containers often doubled as stools or were not covered, dish racks were not used, and the area was unorganized and dirty. Participants learned that disease transmission can be interrupted if only they would practice discernment in how they interact with their environment.

Having observed possible ways that water and food are contaminated, participants were asked to point out what personal and environmental hygiene entail. They were taken around the compound to observe some of the facilities that aid good hygiene. Some of the facilities noted were dish racks, clotheslines, and compost pits.

The group had the opportunity to learn about hand-washing; the important times to wash and the 10 steps to do it thoroughly. One of the CHW's most important responsibilities will be to teach others about hand-washing, because it is one of the most effective disease barriers.

The group elected three members to take the title of CHW. They will be responsible for visiting homes, educating about and making a checklist of the following:

- Sanitation facilities (dish rack, clotheslines, compost pits)

- Latrines and their condition

- Kitchen garden and the use of mosquito nets

- Overall hygiene and sanitation

- Nutritional status

- Family planning

- HIV/AIDS awareness and immunizations

- Water and food storage

Finally, the facilitator used simple math to prove that having proper sanitation facilities constructed is much cheaper than not. Community members can save a great amount of time and money by preventing disease through improved hygiene practices, such as using a latrine.

Project Results:

Spring Protection

The protection of Johnson Mmeri Spring is complete and is now in use by community members. The spring now serves more than 30 households! This surge from 15 households is due to the spreading good news of accessible clean water. Safe water from Johnson Mmeri Spring has attracted users from neighboring villages where projects have not yet been implemented. "This new spring has stolen our hearts. It is neat, safe and gives us clean and good water unlike other ones which lack aesthetic beauty making us doubt their water safety," commented one of the women found fetching water at Johnson Mmeri.

The committee has already completed some of the management and maintenance activities they planned during training. They have built a fence, dug drainage, and planted grass and indigenous trees. The majority of people interviewed were happy with the trainings held in the village. A local youth says "The trainings have helped us know how best we need to safeguard our newly built spring. We are also empowered to support the water committee officials in ensuring that the spring is secure, maintained, and sustained." The committee chairperson adds, "We are doing well. Community members are happy and we have not registered any waterborne diseases since we started using water from the protected spring. People no longer have to travel for long distances but instead that time is now used in other development agendas like business, farming, and doing household chores."

Household Sanitation Platforms

Sanitation platforms were installed and are now in use by beneficiaries. Mr. Richard, a leader of one of the lucky homesteads, says he feels much more respected in his community now that his family has their own latrine. He also knows his loved ones are much safer when using these new facilities. Many households have embraced other sanitation facilities as well. These includes clotheslines, dish racks, and compost pits. Madam Joyce Leya was thrilled, saying "I have taken it as a personal responsibility to educate others about the need to have sanitation facilities. Those who are financially shortchanged, I have urged them to use locally available resources to meet their needs."

Thank You for unlocking potential in the Johnson Mmeri Spring Community!

Project Updates

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Elwanga Community, Johnson Mmeri 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.

Handwashing demonstration

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 Elwanga, Kenya.

We trained more than 15 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.


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.


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.

Homemade mask tutorial

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.

Homemade mask tutorial

"The session was very enjoyable. As a people, we loved the demonstration on mask making and handwashing to defeat Covid-19. We shall act on it appropriately," said training participant Mary.

Setting up a tippy tap handwashing station

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.

Cough and sneeze into the elbow

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!


Halls Christian Church
St. Mary Catholic Church Altar Rosary Society
1 individual donor(s)