Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 175 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - May 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/11/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

A normal day in Elukani Village starts with everybody waking up and getting busy right away to ensure that by the end of the day, they'll have something to put on the table. Men are seen carrying hoes to their gardens and farms, while women fetch water and then make breakfast. Breakfast is packed up and taken to the men as children eat and rush to school. For the rest of the day, women either join the men on their farms or take leftover produce to sell in the local market.

At the end of the day, children rush to fetch water for their families. The women prepare dinner. The children hurry back to their homes to do homework before it gets dark, since they are not always guaranteed a lighting source.


Ongari Spring serves around 25 different families in Elukani. It's water is used to meet all the community's needs from drinking to watering crops when there's no rain. The spring is open to contamination from many different sources, but there's no clean water alternative. The water is at its worst after it rains, with dirt, garbage and feces having been washed into the spring.

Women and children carry jerrycans or buckets along with a smaller cup to bail water. Families haven't been able to afford water storage at home, so water's used straight from the fetching container. This means that trips to Ongari Spring are taken several times a day.

After drinking this water, community members suffer from severe diarrhea. When they can afford treatment they do so, but that leaves them with little to no money to pay for school, clothes, and other things.


Less than half of the homes here have a pit latrine, and the majority of these are in bad shape. We saw some full of maggots that had made it up to the latrine floor. Some don't even have doors. Because of this low coverage and poor conditions, open defecation is a big issue here. People would rather use the privacy of brush.

There are no hand-washing stations and very few sanitation tools like dish racks and clotheslines. Instead, we found dishes and clothes hanging on bushes or drying on the ground. Though there isn't a special container for hand-washing, community members assure that they at least rinse their hands before a meal. "We do not wash our hands with soap frequently after visiting the toilet since at times the soap is not even available, and we are too busy. We only remember to wash hands when it's time for eating," a woman told us.

Mr. Ezron Ongaya said, "This community is comprised of poor people, so you can imagine treating diseases that could be prevented, with money that could have been directed elsewhere is a big problem. We would gladly embrace any means that would help curb this problem and make people live healthy without worries of catching diseases. They say prevention is better than cure, if only this spring would be well-protected and my people taught ways of how to stay healthy, we would be better placed both economically and health-wise."

Here’s what we plan to do about it:


Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training to give them a chance to learn about healthy practices and their importance. The facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation), CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development), group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring. One of the most important topics we plan to cover is the handling, storage, and treatment of water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it’s consumed.

Hand-washing will also be a big topic. And since open defecation was encountered here, this is at the top of our list of things to address. Waste always needs to be disposed of properly, or else it will be spread by flies or rainwater.

Training will also result in the formation of a committee that will oversee operations and maintenance at the spring. They will enforce proper behavior around the spring and delegate tasks that will help preserve the site, such as building a fence and digging proper drainage.

Training will inform the committee and the rest of the community about what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, such as bricks, clean sand, hardcore, and ballast. All community members must work together to make sure that accommodations and food are always provided for the work teams.

Sanitation Platforms

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrine floors. The five families must prepare by sinking a pit for the sanitation platforms to be placed over.

Spring Protection

Our artisans will protect the spring and ensure that the water is safe, adequate and secure. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water.

Fetching water is predominantly a female role, done by both women and young girls. Protecting the spring and offering training and support will therefore help empower female community members by giving them more time and efforts to engage and invest in income-generating activities.

This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water And Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to provide the reports for this project (formatted and edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

September, 2019: Giving Update: Elukani Community, Ongari Spring

A year ago, your generous donation helped Elukani Community in Kenya access clean water.

There’s an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water at Ongari Spring in Elukani. Month after month, their giving supports ongoing sustainability programs that help this community maintain access to safe, reliable water. Read more…

May, 2018: Elukani Community Project Complete

Elukani Community now has clean water! Ongari Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of clean water thanks to your donation. The spring is protected from contamination, five sanitation platforms have been provided for the community, and training has been given in sanitation and hygiene.

New Knowledge

The village elder, the landowner planning to host training, and the clan elder moved from house to house to ask every household to send at least send one person to our training sessions.

Since the training was going to take place in an open area there was no worry about space - everyone was invited. They also tried to make sure that there was gender balance and that all age groups were represented. Every family did not manage to send a representative due to a funeral that befell the village, but at least every sub-village had more than three representatives. We had 20 participants total, including leaders from churches, women's groups, youth groups, and clans.

Many of these people were motivated because they had already seen and used the finished protected spring; after seeing the clean water, they were certain that WEWASAFO work is excellent, and that the training would be of great significance.

At one point during a session, the atmosphere got humid and the sky appeared like it was going to rain, which made some ladies rush back to their homes to remove clothes and maize that had been left outside to dry. Others sat through the cloudy skies with confidence.

"We will only leave this place when it starts to rain. From the history of this place, we always experience heavy rainfall for three days and then it stops for two days before falling again," someone was heard saying.

"Therefore, after having too much rain for the last three consecutive days, we will not have rain today - so let us continue with the session!"

These folks were right, for the weather cleared right up and we had no other interruptions.

Participants seemed to enjoy topics on personal hygiene and health so that they could learn more about their bodies and how to best care for them. After training was officially dismissed, some of the ladies stayed behind with the trainer to ask questions they didn't want to be heard by the crowd.

They also were riveted by the trainer's demonstration of solar disinfection and information about water storage. It was new to most people that drinking water shouldn't be stored for over three days.

"I know how to treat water with chlorine, and I also know that boiling kills harmful bacteria in water, but I've not been doing it because it is expensive and takes careful attention. Nowadays, we buy firewood only in village markets because forests were slashed and all of the land is being used for planting good crops and for building houses. So boiling water for drinking is just something that never happens."

Mr. Buchere continued, "But with this new method of making water safe for drinking, I assure you that we will only drink safe water from today. Solar disinfection is the way to go!"

The rest of the participants applauded in agreement.

The field officer clearly communicated the other areas of needed improvement for Elukani, which included the following topics and more:

– Handwashing

– Handling water and food hygienically

– Safe waste disposal

– Environmental hygiene

"This knowledge we've acquired is not free anywhere else. We are indeed blessed. That is why we should appreciate it by putting everything learned today into practice. It really is for our own good," Mr. Joshua Amwayi said.

The training has already brought great results to the village. Community members now appear clean and tidy, from their bodies to the environment around them. They are strict when it comes to taking care of the spring. All households now have dish racks and latrines, and their compounds are tidy.

Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed. These five families are happy about this milestone of having a private latrine of their own and are optimistic that people will no longer leave waste outdoors. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

Spring Protection

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, fencing poles and hardcore (crushed rock and gravel). Accommodations and meals were provided for the artisan, too.

Local men digging drainage uphill from the spring so that rainwater will not interfere.

The only challenge our artisans dealt with was the rainy weather. Construction took a total of six days instead of four. In addition, a big snake almost bit one of the artisans while he was excavating, and work was put on hold until the snake could be caught and killed. After that, artisans worked with more care because they know how deadly snake poison can be.

The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of plastic, wire mesh and concrete. After the base had been set, both wing walls and the headwall were set in place using brickwork. The discharge pipe was fixed low in place through the headwall to direct the water from the reservoir to the drawing area.

As the wing walls and headwall were curing, the stairs were set and the tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. This protects the ground from the erosive force of the falling water and beautifies the spring. The process of plastering the headwall and wing walls on both sides reinforces the brickwork and prevents water from the reservoir from seeping through the walls and allows pressure to build in the collection box to push water up through the discharge pipe.

The source area was filled up with clean hardcore and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination.

Beginning to fill the source area with different protective materials.

Since the concrete around the spring needed time to dry, we set a day to meet community members there and celebrate. This wasn’t a celebration about concrete drying, but about how the spring has been transformed into a source of flowing clean water!

Mrs. Philys Omungala

People brought their containers to fetch clean water for the first time. Mrs. Philys Omungala is 58-years-old, born and raised in this village.

"I have been drinking dirty water from this spring since I was born," she told us as she let the clean water run over her hands.

"I am deeply grateful and I know that everyone in this village is thankful for this newly protected spring. Cases of diarrhea will decrease because we are now going to drink clean water."

March, 2018: Elukani Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Ongari Spring is making people in Elukani Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know your community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

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!

Giving Update: Elukani Community, Ongari Spring

September, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Elukani Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Kevin Eshiwani. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Elukani Community, Ongari Spring.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Elukani Community, Ongari Spring maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

Since Ongari Spring was protected in Elukani last year, community members' lives have improved positively in terms of hygiene practices and access to clean and water. Waterborne diseases have decreased tremendously, and community members now lead more healthy lives.

Having looked at some of the homesteads in this community, it is evident that they have put into practice what they were trained on about proper sanitation and improved hygiene habits. They have clotheslines, dishracks, and well-constructed latrines. Their compounds are also clean with neatly trimmed grass. We were excited and proud to see how well people have taken these matters to heart and have improved their health status.

"We are grateful for the protection of our spring," said Kevin Eshiwani, one of the spring's volunteer caretakers. "The water from the spring is clean and safe for personal use and home chores too. As a result, waterborne diseases have been kept at bay and we don't spend much on hospital bills."

Dorine at the spring

7-year-old Dorine Amwayi also talked with us while she was at the spring, and shared how its protection has impacted her life over the last year.

"We now have clean water to drink and use in our home. I hardly miss school because of diarrhea and typhoid unlike before when water-related sickness was very common. Thank you for protecting our spring!"

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Elukani Community, Ongari Spring maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Elukani Community, Ongari Spring – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.