Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 175 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Oct 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 03/08/2024

Project Features

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

The people are mainly small-scale farmers that grow sugarcane. The other economic activity that a majority of them do is brick making. They claim it helps them earn a better living, with most of their buyers coming from nearby Kakamega Town.

They wake up early in the morning to do their domestic work and continue on to their economic activity for the day in order to earn their living.


The community members use the water from Hosea Spring for domestic uses such as cleaning, drinking, cooking, and irrigating their farms during dry seasons. They also use the water for their animals and for brick making.

Community members usually collect the water using 20-liter and 10-liter jerrycans. They need to carry a separate jug to scoop the water and fill the large containers. They have a piece of cloth placed at the mouth of the container that is used to sieve water.

The gathered water is stored in bigger clay pots and skyplast plastic containers.

Common diseases in this community are water-related. People suffer from the outbreak of typhoid and other waterborne diseases as a result of the unprotected spring.

Thus, it forces people to spend time and money which could be used to generate income for the households or for school fees school to treat these diseases.


Fewer than half of households in the community have latrines. The pit latrines visible in this area are made of mud walls and roofed with grass or old rusty iron sheets. The floors are mostly made of mud as well. Maintaining some of these is difficult, so they're left dirty and pose a hygiene danger.

The majority of the community members dispose of garbage by burning or decomposing it behind their houses. Compost heaps are often found in banana plantations. The decomposed food is later used as manure for the crops during planting season.

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

August, 2020: Through Their Eyes: COVID-19 Chronicles with Henry Anzofu Nyangule

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.

At just 34-years-old, Henry Anzofu Nyangule is a respected leader in Emachembe, where he depends on Hosea Spring for all of his daily water needs.

Henry takes a seat outside his home for the interview.

Henry serves as the chair of the spring's water user committee, helping to encourage and inspire good hygiene and best practices at the spring while also managing basic maintenance of the water point. Also serving his community as a pastor, Henry is constantly thinking about what is best not just for his family, but all of the families in Emachembe.

Henry Anzofu Nyangule

Our team recently visited Emachembe to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training (read more about it below!) and monitor their water point. Shortly after, we returned to check in on the community, offer a COVID-19 refresher training, and ask how the pandemic is affecting their lives.

It was during this most recent visit that Henry shared his story of how the coronavirus has impacted his life.

Video Part 1: Water - Henry reflects on how his community has changed since they began accessing clean water from protected Hosea Spring.

Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Betty Muhongo Likhanga met Henry outside his home to conduct the interview. Both Betty and Henry observed social distancing and other precautions throughout the visit to ensure their health and safety. Their questions and answers have been edited for clarity and length.

Video Part 2: Prevention - Henry shares how his community is using clean water from Hosea Spring to help prevent COVID-19.

What is one thing that has changed in your community since the protection of Hosea Spring?

"Community members spend little time at the spring when compared to the past, when they could wait for the water to clear up before drawing."

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

"We have been able to wash our hands as many times as possible. To add on that, we have maintained hygiene in our homes since we use water do to everything."

Henry fetches water from Hosea Spring while community members observe social distancing waiting in line.

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?

"Community members are now requested to avoid overcrowding at the spring, and social distancing is maintained."

How has COVID-19 impacted your family?

"Our children are indoors, they are not allowed to go to school or even visit their grandparents and friends. For those of us who have teenagers, it's not easy; you need to check on them every time to ensure they are doing the right thing."

Henry washes his hands with soap and clean water from Hosea Spring using the tippy tap handwashing station he set up outside his house.

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

"Since I am a pastor, I am forced to send sermons through WhatsApp and most of my church members do not have smartphones, and we are not allowed to visit their homes."

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

"Since we had training on how to prevent coronavirus, most community members put on a mask whenever they go to social places. And with water drawn from the spring, most people wash their hands frequently."

Henry shows his mask.

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

What restriction were you most excited to see lifted already?

"Opening of churches - we really thank God for that. To add on that, there is no lockdown so people can move on with their business but with caution and not forgetting to adhere to rules and regulations put in place by WHO to prevent the spread of COVID-19."

Camera operator Allan Amadaro talks to Henry during the interview.

What restriction are you still looking forward to being lifted?

"Allowing all members to go to church because, at the moment, children under 13 years and elderly people years are not allowed to go to church."

When asked where he receives information about COVID-19, Henry 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?

"When you follow the set guidelines on prevention of the spread of COVID-19, chances of getting infected are low."

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

Trainers Laura Alulu (left) and Jacqueline Shigali (right) lead the session

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. Before there were any reported cases in the area, we worked with trusted community leaders and the Water User Committee to gather community members for the training.

At the time, social distancing was a new concept, and one that challenges cultural norms. Although some community members were hesitant to adopt social distancing during the training, we sensitized them on its importance and effectiveness in combating the spread of the virus.

Participants mimic handwashing steps during 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.

Community member Mr. Henry talks to the group about the new tippy tap handwashing station to be installed at the spring

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.

Mr. Henry using the new tippy tap

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.

Mr. Henry and Trainer Shigali install the reminder chart 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.

Trainer Shigali helps a woman wash her hands using a leaky tin

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 washes 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, Hosea 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 Hosea Spring in Emachembe Community. 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! Hosea 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 informed the community about the need for hygiene and sanitation training in the weeks leading up to spring construction. They were excited that apart from having the spring protected, they would have the opportunity to be trained on water, hygiene, and sanitation.

The training attracted a good number of participants with the majority being female. There were 16 people out of which 14 were female and two were male. It was a very hot day, but we were thankful for the shade of a mango tree and a cool breeze every once in a while.

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.

Practicing the 10 steps of handwashing

Participants liked the session on water handling. The trainer created awareness of the ways in which people contaminate their water on the way home. Through demonstrations and tools, the participants were able to figure out the ways in which they were contaminating their own drinking water.

Most of them confessed that their water containers have no covers. This exposes their water to dust particles and many other contaminants. The participants burst out laughing when the facilitator placed leaves in the water container - and the majority admitted that they normally put the leaves in on purpose to prevent water from spilling over.

"Hygiene is the only doctor every human being should embrace and today's training has enriched as all," Mary Hosea said.

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.

Spring Protection

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

"Thank you for considering us. I vow to work with the community to ensure that the spring is secure, well-managed, and maintained for the future generations' use," Mr. Henry Anzofu said.

Construction 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.

Fixing the tile below 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.

The committee has already led their community to build a fence to protect the spring area.

September, 2018: Emachembe Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Hosea 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 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: Emachembe Community, Hosea Spring

October, 2019

A year ago, your generous donation helped Emachembe Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Annet Mwenje. 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 4.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Emachembe Community 4 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!

Sanitation and hygiene standards have really improved in Emachembe since the protection of Hosea Spring last year. This is because before the project was implemented, community members used to access dirty and contaminated water from the unprotected source which affected their health due to waterborne diseases. Since Hosea Spring was protected, people have access to clean and safe water for consumption and the rate of waterborne diseases has reduced.

"We are able to carry out other development activities because we no longer spend our money on medication as in [the] past. Our lifestyle has really changed and we are grateful for the great support your organization gave us," said Annet Mwenje, who depends on Hosea Spring for water.

13-year-old Lilian Nechesa reflected on how the protection of Hosea Spring has impacted her as a young person and student in her community.

"Since our spring was protected, we as children can access clean drinking water that we carry from home to school [without] long queues, which would waste our precious time, especially during school days. Our performance has really improved because we are always at school; no more sickness like in [the] past [when] we could miss school simply because we [were] sick."

Field Officer Betty Muhongo with Lilian Nechesa

We are also working with Lilian's school to see if we can help alleviate their severe water shortage so that students like Lilian no longer have to carry water to school at all.

Happy spring users including Lilian (left) Annet (third from left) and Field Officer Betty Muhongo (right)

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 4 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 4 – 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.


Sponsors - Abdul Rahim & Bebi Jamela