Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/01/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

This unprotected spring is located in Ewamakhumbi Village of Kakamega County.

An average day begins very early in the morning. Women work to clean their houses and then prepare breakfast for the whole family while the children get ready to go to school.

Men milk animals and move out in the cold to sell a few bottles of milk in order to buy sugar and tea leaves. After that, men look for grass for their cows to eat. Women take several laps to Yanga Spring to fetch water, as men till their lands to ensure there is enough food on the table.

By 10am women begin cooking lunch since the children go back home for lunch. Most of the people here are unemployed, therefore they have to work extra hard to earn a living.


Yanga Spring serves more than 210 people in the community. Women draw water from the spring using 20-liter jerrycans, most don't have lids. Families usually have plastic containers between 50 liters and 100 liters which are used to store water at home.

The community members have improvised a plastic pipe to help them fetch water without disrupting the spring. The community sent a request asking for us to consider their spring for protection after seeing what was done at nearby Ayubu Spring.

During the rainy seasons, the waste is washed into the spring leading to contamination of water. The landowner practices farming close to the water catchment area too. This contributes to pollution of the water by the farm chemicals used.


Sanitation is a big problem as many people do not have good latrines. Fewer than half of households have latrines.

Most of them are smelly and lack privacy because the doors are made of old pieces of cloth or sugar sacks. Walling is done by rusty old iron sheets or mud.

"Personally, I lack a latrine," Mrs. Mercy Shiyuka said. "I use my neighbor's whenever I want to go for long calls."

Hygiene practices are also poor among the community members. Many people do not wash their hands after using the toilet and many compounds were unclean. Few people had dishracks and clotheslines.

The majority of the community members disposes of garbage by decomposing it in banana plantations.

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

May, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ewamakhumbi Community, Yanga 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.

Trainer Shigali shows how to make a simple handwashing station

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 Ewamakhumbi, Kenya.

Handwashing demonstration

We trained more than 15 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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

Explaining the importance of social distancing

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.

Homemade mask tutorial

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.

The prevention reminders chart installed at 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.

Practicing handwashing

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.

Mr. Ayub practicing handwashing

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: Ewamakhumbi Community, Yanga Spring

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

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

November, 2018: Ewamakhumbi Community Project Complete

Ewamakhumbi Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Yanga 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

We continuously visited Ewamakhumbi to prepare for our spring protection artisan's arrival. Mr. Yanga, who is the landowner where the spring is, offered to help us recruit community members to attend our hygiene and sanitation training.

Training is best in the morning hours because the afternoons often bring rain. We met household representatives at the spring, since they were very interested in overseeing our artisan as he did construction.

Some of the participants discussing the artisan's progress on their spring protection.

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.

People particularly enjoyed the lessons on water handling and spring care. As we visited the community leading up to construction and during construction, poor water handling stood out to us. Women carried their water in open containers and would wrap their hands around the rim, dipping dirty fingers in their drinking water. If the water container's opening was small enough, people admitted they would shove some leaves in the opening to help keep water from spilling.

We were able to discuss at length what should be done and what should not be done at the spring. We found out most ladies preferred to wash their clothes at the spring, so we had to spend extra time explaining how the soap used would erode the new cement and potentially contaminate the water.

Training participants pose down by the spring during the session on maintenance and management.

"This training has been an eye-opener to all of us. There are a number of activities we have failed to engage in, as community members lacked the information," said Mr. Ambrose Shiyuka.

"The lessons learned today are going to help improve on our health status."

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.

One of the families has already started building walls for their new latrine.

Spring Protection

Construction at Yanga Spring was successful and water is now flowing from the discharge pipe.

As soon as the finishing touches were completed, word spread that clean water was flowing from the pipe and the community members quickly gathered around the water spring. Our staff together with the village elder officially commissioned the project and handed it over to the community. Staff also took this opportunity to remind everyone to practice what they learned during the training.

The community is grateful "for this wonderful work of protecting springs. Now, we have safe and clean water, good health, and will say bye bye to the doctors and huge hospital bills!" exclaimed Mildred Wetambila.

The Process:

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, and gravel. 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: Ewamakhumbi Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Yanga Spring is making people in Ewamakhumbi 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: Ewamakhumbi Community, Yanga Spring

October, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Ewamakhumbi Communit in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Hellen Nelima. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ewamakhumbi 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!

A year since Yanga Spring's protection in Ewamakhumbi, the village is now vibrant. Women are opening up businesses, farms have been planted, and the community is much cleaner compared to a year ago. We attribute these changes to time saved when fetching water at the protected Yanga Spring. Lack of lines at the spring is an indication that it is now easier and faster to fetch water. The community is accessing adequate, clean, and safe water from Yanga Spring, which has been well maintained and has a strong flow rate.

"We now have adequate, clean, and safe flowing water in our community," said Hellen Nelima, who depends on the spring for water.

"We no longer go long distances in search of drinking water. It's easier fetching water at this spring even for very young children. As women, this project has empowered us and opened avenues for us to partake in other activities. The training conducted about self-help groups have really motivated us to engage in small business generating activities and in return, help our families," Hellen said.

Robinson Yanga at the spring

Even 8-year-old Robinson Yanga has felt the impact of the project over the last year.

"We get to fetch water easily as compared to last year. The water is also good as we no longer get rashes or sick from bathing and drinking this water," Robinson said.

Hellen and Robinson wave from Yanga 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 Ewamakhumbi 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 Ewamakhumbi 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.


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