Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 140 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/08/2024

Project Features

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A normal day in Emachembe Community begins early in the morning so that students can get to school on time.

Members of this community engage in small-scale farming. They plant maize, beans, vegetables, and sugarcane. Some people make bricks and extract stones or gravel used for construction to earn a living.

Men and women do various chores and then proceed with the day's activities. For women, they begin by going to the river to fetch water. Fetching water is an activity dominated by the women. They get their jerrycans to go line up in the spring. They get to their homes to continue with the house chores such as cleaning the house and the compound.


Gathering of water from this spring is a problem for the community. The community, through the village elder, made a call to one of our staff members after seeing what was done at Saul Shivogo Spring and asked for us to consider their spring for protection.

A person needs to go very early in the morning or late in the evening to collect water from the spring due to the long lines.

Members wade into the water and draw from it using small containers to then fill the bigger jerrycans. The gathered water is stored in different containers, depending on the household. The most popular containers used are 20-liter jerrycans and 100-liter plastic tanks. Households also have pots made of clay soil to store drinking water. This is believed to act as a natural refrigerator that keeps water cold.

"Most people in this community have suffered from waterborne diseases, looking at the living standards we are not even able to meet the required money for treatment. Instead, people use alcohol to treat typhoid which is risky to their life," Mrs. Rose Mastiza said.

The current water source is contaminated because the spring is open and the way the water is drawn gives a clear indicator of contamination since one has to step inside water in order to draw water.

"I will personally champion for the protection of Mukabane Spring by mobilizing the communities to provide the required local materials." Pauline, a young girl from the community, said.

"I am disabled due to polio and my people can also lose their lives due to outbreaks resulting from drinking dirty and contaminated water."

As we look at the bright face of this girl we are moved. To see this project succeed will show that despite her disability, she is able to make a difference.

Implementing this project will be of great impact in this community and particularly in the life of Pauline.


Fewer than half of households have latrines. Most of the existing pit latrines are in a poor condition, for they are made with mud floors.

They are difficult to be cleaned because urine is splashed on top predisposing users to diseases. The walls are made of mud while others are made of racks and rusty iron sheets.

Individuals who do not have sanitation facilities such as dish rack, bathroom, or toilets indicated a willingness to get them. Most of the people dispose of their garbage in the banana plantation to compost and then use it later as manure. As a positive sign, community members showed an interest in general cleanliness whereby they bathe, wash their clothes, and clean their houses.

This shows how this community has a positive attitude towards hygiene and sanitation.

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.

Project Updates

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Emachembe Community, Mukabane 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.

Team Leader Catherine kicks off training

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 Emachembe, Kenya.

We trained more than 31 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.

Community members observe social distancing at training

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.

Trainer Shigali demonstrates how to use a leaky tin handwashing station

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.

A girl demonstrates handwashing

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.

A community member, Team Leader Catherine, and Trainer Shigali install the reminder chart near the spring

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.

A woman urges her community to adhere to the prevention standards

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 woman steps up to wash her hands

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.

October, 2019: Giving Update: Emachembe Community, Mukabane Spring

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

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

October, 2018: Emachembe Community Project Complete

Emachembe Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Mukabane 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

Community members who use Mukabane Spring were all asked to attend hygiene and sanitation training. The landowner helped our training officer find at least one representative from each household to attend.

Since people living here were in the midst of harvesting, we had to meet together in the evenings for sessions.

The community members asked questions on various topics, such as how they could improvise simple pit latrines to eliminate open defecation. The few women who recently married were the most active during each topic.

We covered several topics including but not limited to leadership and governance (participants started a water and sanitation committee); 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, and hygiene promotion. These participants will become ambassadors of healthy living among their own families and their greater community.

"You have served us. As you know, information is power, and we are now informed so we shall not make the same mistakes again," shared 79-year-old Lawi Mukabane.

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 latrine of their own. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

This latrine floor is safe to use and easy to clean.

Spring Protection

The water committee will be meeting once a month to support each other in matters pertaining to their community. They will work with everyone to save some money for maintenance of the spring, and they have already fenced and planted grass at the water catchment area.

Construction Process:

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, and gravel. It was hard to find enough stones to backfill the spring, which delayed the process a bit. Community members also hosted our artisans for the duration of construction.

The spring area was excavated with jembes, hoes, and spades 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 five days. With this spring now handed over to the community, we will continue to follow up with the water user committee to make sure everything runs smoothly.

September, 2018: Emachembe Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Mukabane Spring is making people in Emachembe 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: Emachembe Community, Mukabane Spring

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Emachembe Community 3.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Emachembe Community 3 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!

Community members in Emachembe have been enjoying clean water from Mukabane Spring ever since its protection last year. No more baths are happening at the spring, contrary to before protection where even cows used to drink directly from the water source, causing contamination. Waterborne diseases are no longer an issue to these community members since they can access clean water from the spring.

The community members who use Mukabane Spring have maintained the spring perfectly. The environment is kept clean and no repairs have been reported at the spring since protection. Diarrhea cases are no longer an issue to them since the water is clean.

"Accessing the water was difficult before protection since it was open and dangerous. We would avoid fetching water during early mornings and late evening, but now with the safe stairs and the protected hole, we can easily access water at any time of the day," said Margaret Mukavana very proudly of her community's protected spring.

17-year-old Dennis Omollo reflected on how this project has impacted all generations of his community in the last year.

"The younger children would fall into the open spring when fetching water but now it is safe and they no longer endanger their lives. People used to wash their hands and feet directly in the water but now we enjoy clean and safe water from the discharge pipe."

Dennis Omello, Field Officer Georgina Kamau, and Margaret Mukavana celebrate the 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 Emachembe Community 3 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 Emachembe Community 3 – 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.


St. Therese Foundation