Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/09/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

People in Ulagai Village have already woken up and are getting ready for the days' hustle by 6:00 am. Children can be seen washing their faces and rinsing off their legs before they put on their uniforms as their mothers prepare breakfast. Men head off to their jobs right away; some help on construction sites while others work on other peoples' farms for a small wage. A lucky few are the owners of these farms, who specialize in growing maize, beans, millet, and cassava. Most women establish their own kitchen gardens to grow vegetables that help feed their families.

Children are dismissed from school for an hour at lunchtime, during which they rush to find enough firewood for their mothers to cook. Work continues through the afternoon, then there are more chores to close the day.


Rose Obare Spring is on the property of Mrs. Obare who allows the community to fetch water from it. It is entirely out in the open collecting all sorts of contaminants, especially when it rains.

The water is so murky that you can't even see the bottom. Nonetheless, people dip their containers to get water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and many other uses.

"We have suffered from diseases such as diarrhea that are caused by using this water as dirty as it is. By protecting it, the community will also be protected from such kinds of diseases in the future," said George Ngesa, who has used Rose Obare Spring for years.


There are a few households who have pit latrines that are in relatively good condition, but most are in terrible shape. They are constructed without doors and the floors are not cemented. Flies go in and out of the pit.

The area chief said that he's gone door to door to make sure everyone has a dish rack and clotheslines, but even so there are those who still haven't built anything.

"If only the community health workers would train the community a little more on water, sanitation and hygiene, most of these people would now already know what to do in order to stay healthy," Mrs. Obare said.

Here's what we're going to do about it:


Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least two days. This training will ensure participants have the knowledge they need 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.

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. The fence will keep out destructive animals, and the drainage will keep the area’s mosquito population at a minimum.

Sanitation Platforms

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrine floors.

Training will also inform the community and selected families on 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. The five families chosen for sanitation platforms must prepare by sinking a pit for the sanitation platforms to be placed over. All community members must work together to make sure that accommodations and food are always provided for the work teams.

Spring Protection

Protecting the spring will ensure that the water is safe, adequate and secure. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water. With the community’s high involvement in the process, there should be a good sense of responsibility and ownership for the new clean water source.

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 energy to engage 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 (edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ulagai Community, Rose Obare 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.

Passing out informational pamphlets on COVID-19

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 Ulagai, Kenya.

A woman shows her pamphlet written in her Dholuo language

We trained more than 34 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.

Trainer emphasizes social distancing and handwashing as key preventive practices

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 with a young volunteer

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.

Some community members came prepared wearing face masks

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.

Explaining the prevention reminders chart

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.

Community Health Worker speaks at training

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.

Installing the chart at the spring

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.

August, 2018: Ulagai Community Project Complete

Ulagai Community now has clean water! Obare 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 done on sanitation and hygiene.

New Knowledge

Community members were invited to hygiene and sanitation training by Mrs. Eunice Obare and the village elder. These two moved from one house to another asking every household to send at least one member to attend. At our training, they could learn how to manage the spring and get insights into health matters that they could then teach to other members of their households.

Because of the need to work hard and fend for families so that no one sleeps on an empty stomach, not every household was able to send a representative. However, every sector sent a good number of people to represent them in the training. This means the information shared will reach every corner of Ulagai Village. The training was carried out on Mrs. Obare's land, where there was enough space to accommodate all participants comfortably. Moderate sun and a slight breeze created a conducive environment for us.

We covered several topics including leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; the spread of disease and prevention. We also covered water treatment methods, personal care like handwashing, environmental hygiene, hygiene promotion, and many other things.

The most memorable session was on community involvement. Members of two households had not helped our artisan at all during construction, yet they were young with a lot of physical energy. As they tried to attend our training, the landowner and some others tried to chase them away because of their negligence. The training officer intervened and asked that we work together to find a solution. Community members seized the opportunity and corrected these young men in a wise and controlled; by the end of that discussion the two young men volunteered to take full responsibility for cleaning and maintaining the spring for the first three months just on their own.

Spring protection construction finished before our session on water source maintenance and management.

Another memorable topic was primary health care. It is during this topic that we discovered that community members prefer giving birth at home, believing they could get the best care from their kin. We outlined the dangers of giving birth at home so that participants understood why there are fatalities of the mother, child, or both. All women promised to attend pre and post-natal care and also committed to going to the hospital to give birth.

Farmer Francis Otieno sacrificed valuable time on his farm to learn about things that will help him and his family.

"I'm glad that you came just in time. We have been living in ignorance, and it is so surprising to know that some of the simple things we've been ignoring like washing hands with soap and clean water and sleeping under mosquito nets are the major causes of death in our community. Let us unite and do as we have learned today so that we save ourselves and our future generations," he shared.

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. Even more families have replicated the construction process to build new latrines of their own.

Spring Protection

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

The process of protecting Obare Spring began with clearance and excavation of the site so that a foundation could be built to specified standards. Stones were packed together for the first layer, and the foundation slab was made paved so that walls could be built up. Delivery pipes, inlets, a draw-off pipe and overflow inlet screen were fitted. A pipe was installed in the collection box to direct water from the reservoir to a concrete and plastic spring box.

The area behind the discharge pipe is filled with sand, gravel, and larger stones. All that is covered with a plastic tarp, dirt, and new grass.

Stairs were built for easy access. The cement was plastered with a final waterproof mixture and ceramic tiles were fixed below the discharge pipe to make sure the cement doesn’t wear away. The area behind the discharge pipe was then backfilled with stones and sand. Finally, more community members helped us dig proper drainage so that no water will pool and attract mosquitos.

Mrs. Rose Obare lives closest to the spring as the landowner. She calls this spring protection the greatest achievement she's seen in her lifetime. Plus, she said that the can "just peep through the window and see everything that happens at the spring - therefore, nobody will tamper with it."

It will serve generations to come!

Mrs. Lilian Ngesa was one of the first people there to fetch water.

"This spring has served us for so many years in its former open state, and we suffered a lot of health challenges because of that poor condition it was in. Now that it has been protected, we are going to take good care of it so that we enjoy good health that we hardly knew before its protection," she said.

Lilian and Rose are confident that the families of Ulagai Community will no longer spend time and money lining up for treatment at Sagam Hospital.

April, 2018: Ulagai Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Rose Obare Spring is making people in Ulagai Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more. Since actual construction is starting a little later than planned, we've moved the expected completion date back to 8/31.

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!


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