Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 175 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/21/2024

Project Features

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Alukoye Spring is found in Emulakha Village of Western Kenya. The community members report that they have suffered from many cases of waterborne diseases, like diarrhea and typhoid, as a result of drinking water from this unprotected spring.

It is open to contamination from surface runoff, people stepping into the water as they fetch it, and animals that also drink from it. A lot of time is also wasted by the women and children who have to wait for the cloudy and muddy water to settle before fetching.

Many children face the risk of walking long distances in the bush in search of safe water. Numerous parents told us they fear to send their children to get the water due to the long distances they have to walk to the next safe water source.

A normal day in Emulakha Community starts at 6am. Parents who have school-aged children start by preparing them to go to school. Once the children are off to school, they embark on subsistence farming activities.

The average household farms crops such as sugarcane, maize, and beans. Some parents who can afford to make bricks will produce them for nearby towns. Farming has really helped people of this community. They are able to take the children to school and live a standard life.

Few homes in the community have pit latrines. The ones we observed were made of mud walls and roofed with polythene paper or old rusty iron sheets. The floors are made of wood slats and not all had doors for privacy.

A majority of the community members dispose of garbage by burning or decomposing it behind their houses, in most cases in banana plantations.

Our goal is to protect the spring, sensitize the members on the importance of hygiene and sanitation, and also teach them on various ways to treat water before consumption.

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. Handwashing 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 the female members of the community 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 (edited for readability) thanks to the hard work of our friends in Kenya.

Project Updates

November, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Everlyne Chimwayi

This post is part of a new series by The Water Project meant to highlight the perspectives and experiences of the people we serve and how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting them. We invite you to read more of their stories here.

Our team recently visited Emulakha to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training and monitor their water point, Alukoye Spring. Shortly after, we returned to check in on the community, offer a COVID-19 refresher training, and ask how the pandemic affects their lives.

During this most recent visit, Everlyne Chimwayi shared her story of how the coronavirus is impacting her life and her community. Everlyne is a 28-year-old farmer and mother. She also serves in the elected position of Secretary for the spring's water user committee.

Everlyne Chimwayi

Field Officer Betty Majani met Everlyne outside her home to conduct the interview. Both Betty and Everlyne observed physical distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. The following is Everlyne's story, in her own words.

What is one thing that has changed in your community since the completion of the water project?

"Initially, it was a must for one to carry a jug that was used to fill the bigger container, but now we walk with our 20-liter container alone. The issue of hiding a jug at the bush is no more."

How has having a clean water point helped you through the pandemic so far?

"We are able to wash our hands frequently throughout this pandemic period."

Everlyne next to her homemade handwashing station at home.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Kenya, has fetching water changed for you because of restrictions, new rules, or your concerns about the virus?

"Fetching water has greatly changed. We have to confirm from our neighbors who are near the spring if many people are fetching water and the situation at the spring before we go and draw water."

Physical distancing at the spring is the new norm.

How has COVID-19 impacted your family?

"I had a pupil in class eight this year, and I was sure that she would do her exams. I am forced to keep on talking to her because most of the candidates are discouraged."

Everlyne with two of her children at home.

What other challenges are you experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

"The economic standards have gone up; it's not easy to provide for the family. I am forced to skip some meals per day."

What hygiene and sanitation steps have you and your community took to stop the spread of the virus?

"At least every home has installed a handwashing station within their compound, and they ensure that there are soap and water throughout."

Everlyne with her mask on.

Like most governments worldwide, the Kenyan government continues to set and adjust restrictions both nationally and regionally to help control the spread of the virus.

What restriction were you most excited to see lifted already?

"Reopening of schools was the best thing to do; some of our children are at school. It's our prayer that this pandemic will come to an end."

What restriction are you still looking forward to being lifted?

"All education [levels] to open fully."

Everlyne doing the laundry using clean spring water.

When asked where she receives information about COVID-19, Everlyne listed the radio, television, and our team's sensitization training.

What has been the most valuable part of the COVID-19 sensitization training you received from our team?

"I am able to make masks from old pieces of clothes available, and my family is safe because I ensure that everyone puts it on whenever they go to church or school."

September, 2019: Giving Update: Emulakha Community, Alukoye Spring

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

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

August, 2018: Emulakha Community Project Complete

Emulakha Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Alukoye Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of 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

Across our first visits, we informed community members about any project requirements. Some of these entailed assembling local construction materials like sand and stones, then electing a water and sanitation management committee that will be trained on issues of maintenance and hygiene of the spring.

The region's weather was rainy, windy and cold at that time, so the participants asked we meet as soon as possible. We met them at the spring very early in the morning so that the training could end before the rain.

Hygiene and sanitation training was participatory, with the facilitator engaging participants through different activities like handwashing and other practical sessions. Women were more active than the men primarily because domestic chores and reproductive roles are considered to be just for the women. But when we got to the issues of spring maintenance, the men had a lot to say. This is because it is the men who plant trees and do manual labor tasks, such as digging, in this community.

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 handwashing session was extremely helpful for this group. People were not aware of the critical time to wash hands, nor how to properly wash. They were surprised to learn how many germs they were still carrying after a quick rinse. Soap and running water must be used, and the facilitator showed them 10 important ways to scrub the germs away. Everyone was so interested and wanted to come up and practice with the trainer themselves.

Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed and make wonderful, easy to clean latrine floors. 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 gravel. Accommodations and meals were provided for the artisan, too.

The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of polyethylene, 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 cured, the stairs were set and ceramic tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. This protects the concrete 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 stones and sand and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination. The concrete dried over the course of two weeks.

Filling up the area behind the discharge pipe.

The rains interrupted our artisan a lot throughout the process. He would often start as early as 7am to get as much done as possible before the afternoon rain.

Since the spring is now protected, the community will no longer suffer from waterborne diseases. To this community, accessing safe and clean drinking water was just a dream. Many politicians had used this spring to capture votes, saying that if they were elected they would protect it. We have made good on the promise of clean water!

People lined up to get water as soon as we gave the OK!

"This is an answered prayer for this community because we used to have to walk to Marko Achina Spring that is three kilometers away. This wasted a lot of valuable time and would result in conflict," shared Mr. Bernard Amakoye.

"We are glad we now have access to safe water, which will save time to use on our farms!"

Mrs. Josephine Eshirama added that she always thought this kind of spring protection was only in rich villages.

"Now we have safe and clean water. Who knew that I would ever be able to draw water from a pipe and a floor made of tiles? It is truly a miracle," she said.

May, 2018: Emulakha Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Alukoye Spring is making people in Emulakha 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 Videos

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: Emulakha Community, Alukoye Spring

September, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Emulakha Community 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!

Alukoye Spring is located a few kilometers from the main road near Emulakha, and as you walk down to the spring, you pass several households. It was on this walk that we recently observed that the level of hygiene has really improved in this community since the protection of their spring last year. This was evident with clothes seen hanging on clotheslines, clean utensils drying on dishracks, and other indicators that showed us these community members took seriously what they were taught during the hygiene training.

"Our lives have changed since this spring was protected," said Evelyne Muhelisa, the Secretary of the water committee.

"Initially, we used to draw water using a bowl and we could spend a lot of time waiting for water to clear up before fetching it. Now, less time is spent drawing water. To add on that we live a healthy life because we were taught how to keep our water clean and observe hygiene, thus the rate of waterborne diseases has gone down."

Govin Khalangwa is a 9-year-old boy living in Emulakha who along with his family, depends on Alukoye for their daily water needs.

Govin is a pupil in the third grade at his primary school. He shared with us that his greatest joy is that his family now has safe and clean water from the spring throughout the year. He explained that he now spends a short time drawing water, and the rest of his time can be spent doing school work which has contributed to his good performance.

"Personally, I am grateful for the great change that has happened in my community since the spring was protected. Thank you!"

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 Emulakha Community 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 Emulakha Community – 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.