Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Program: Kenyan Spring Protection

Impact: 432 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2015

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/11/2024

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 Ebusuvi Village, Ebuchimi Sub-Location, Emasava Location, Mwibona Ward, Luanda Sub-County of Vihiga County. The spring serves a population of 432 people from 48 different households. 190 community members are male and 242 are female. The spring's water is used for drinking, cooking, washing, and watering animals.


This water is currently open to contamination caused by surface runoff and waste left in the bushes that surround the spring. Animals also drink directly from the spring because there are no troughs set aside for their water. These animals step into the water while drinking. Arthur Okwemba Spring also runs through the lower part of the land, which increases the amount of runoff washed into the water during rainy weather.

When the water is especially muddy, women have to wait for the flow to refresh and the dirt to settle. This wastes a lot of time that could be used for more productive activities. Women who choose not to wait at Arthur Okwemba Spring will opt for other unprotected sources approximately 500 meters away from the village. Many conflicts arise due to long periods of either waiting for or in search of water.

The way water is handled is another big issue which contributes to the spread of water-related illness. The water container is not covered on the way home or during storage, and the container itself is often already dirty. Handling water is just one of many topics that will be covered in sanitation and hygiene training.

Typhoid, cholera, diarrhea, and dysentery have all been reported as results from drinking Arthur Okwemba Spring's water.

Sanitation in this community is also critical. Many households don't have good latrines and thus opt to use the bushes. This uncovered waste is a contaminate carried back and forth by insects and animals. A survey of the area revealed that this is one of the community's biggest issues. Five of the most lacking households will be chosen for new sanitation platform (safe, easy-to-clean concrete floors for latrines) construction.

The community members are urging us to consider their spring for a protection project, and to also construct new sanitation facilities in order to reduce health problems around Arthur Okwemba Spring.

Water and Sanitation Management Committee Training

This training was held from November 10-11 at a homestead near the spring. There was a total of 16 participants of which nine were female and seven were male. The purpose was to equip the committee with the skills needed to manage and maintain Arthur Okwemba Spring.

The facilitator highlighted the importance of community involvement for this project to be a success. Any contributions give locals a sense of ownership and thus increase the project's sustainability. The group agreed to mobilize the local materials needed for construction, such as: hardcore, ballast, clean sand, bricks, and fencing poles. The community should also be willing to host construction workers that need accommodation or food.

The committee was also responsible for electing five households that are in need of sanitation platforms (easy-to-clean concrete latrine floors). These families will have to dig their own latrine pit and provide extra clean sand, bricks, and wall materials. Having these new latrines will greatly reduce the rate of open defecation in the village.

The committee was taken to the spring for a practical session. Once they saw the negative effects of bad behaviors, the committee agreed to do the following:

- Make laws that punish bad behavior at the spring

- Build a fence to keep out animals

- Plant grass around the catchment area to decrease evaporation

- Dig trenches to drain excess water (preventing erosion)

The committee was also encouraged to seek advice from other neighboring communities that already benefited form a protection project. The committee should then take the knowledge from training and from others and share that with their own community.

The host and committee thank the donor for working with The Water Project and WEWASAFO. They believe these projects will relieve the community of a great burden, giving them a chance to put greater effort into economic development. The committee also asks that their community be considered for future projects, considering their spring protection project as the first step in a long series.

Project Results:

Spring Protection

Protection of Arthur Okwemba is complete and now in use by the community members. Before this project, the spring served a total of 48 households. Since news of accessible clean water, the number of benefiting households has increased to 56.

The spring is now protected and is no longer open to contamination by surface runoff. Water is now safe for consumption since all the contamination routes have been blocked. The community members are happy to draw water from the discharge pipe. In addition, the trained Water Sanitation Management Committee's members have formulated rules and regulations to govern the use of the spring.

Women no longer waste a lot of their economical time waiting for the spring water to refresh. Conflicts have decreased tremendously in many homes since women no longer must delay in serving their families while seeking clean water.

Household Sanitation Platforms

Sanitation platforms have been installed and are now in use by five different benefiting households. Isaac is the happiest of all, saying, "I now feel like a normal human being. Having a latrine for my family has helped me restore my dignity. I used to feel bad when I saw my struggling to hide themselves in the bush so that they can relieve themselves not to talk of myself waiting until the night so that I can relieve myself... My God will bless the donor for me."

Thank You for giving the hope that clean water and good health bring.

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ebusuvi Community, Arthur Okwemba 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.

Trainers lead 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 Ebusuvi, Kenya.

We trained more than 30 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.

An elder wearing a face mask demonstrates handwashing

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.

Good handwashing technique is good for all ages

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.

Using the prevention reminders chart at training

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.

Trainer Wilson Kipchoge emphasizes the importance of maintaining social distancing

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.

A participant reads through the informational pamphlet on COVID-19

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!


1 individual donor(s)