Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/10/2024

Project Features

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Residents in Elutali Village are peasants who survive on small-scale farming, small business enterprises, making bricks, and casual labor to fend for their daily bread.

Elutali Community is special. Although the terrain of the land is hilly, they make good use of the land by planting thick grasses that act as terraces to conserve soil erosion and feed their cattle.

These people, living below the poverty line, are the ones drawing water from unprotected Obati Spring. The spring serves more than 30 households not only for their drinking needs but also for making bricks.

Users come to the open spring with their own containers. They squat and immerse the containers to fetch water and bring it home. The gathered water is then stored in larger pots and barrels.

The water source is contaminated. Each and every user pollutes the source by immersing their containers in the water. Also, this water source is open and exposed to agents of contamination, such as runoff water.

Water shortages force the community members to travel long distances in search of clean water. The unsafe source leads to the outbreak of waterborne diseases, making people spend their resources on medication rather than for development.

"The water source as you have seen is an open source that is exposed to contamination. Most of us have suffered from waterborne diseases after consuming this water," Mr. Joseph Shisievo said.

Some middle-class people do have plastic rainwater harvesting tanks while others have wells but their compounds are fenced so that other community members can't get access to their water facilities.

More than half of households have latrines. Most of the pit latrines are made of mud walls, tree log flooring, and roofs with corroded iron sheets. These pit latrines are in a poor structural state, making it risky for users.

Garbage is collected and disposed of in a compost pit, which is later dug and used as organic manure for their banana plantations.

Protecting Obati Spring will amount to saving lives in Elutali Village.

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 Elutali Community, Obati 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 Kayi leads 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 Elutali, Kenya.

We trained more than 18 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 Olivia Bomji demonstrates handwashing

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

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.

Handwashing demonstration

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.

Trainers review the prevention reminders poster

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 Janet encourages greetings from afar

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.

Trainer Janet demonstrates air drying clean hands after washing

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: Elutali Community, Obati Spring

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

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

February, 2019: Elutali Community, Obati Spring Project Complete

Elutali Community is celebrating their new protected spring, so celebrate with them! Obati Spring has been transformed into a flowing, safe 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.

Spring Protection

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

"I am so grateful. On behalf of Elutali Community, I sincerely want to thank you people for the great work you are doing for the communities in Western Kenya. I am sure we are not the first people to own an attractive project like this," said Mr. Indache.

"The new water source discharges very clean water, and we are now accessing clean water within a very short time. Thank you so much..."

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 concrete dried over the course of five days, during which a community member wetted the concrete to make sure it would dry without cracking. The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination.

With this spring now handed over to the community, we will continue to follow up with the water committee to make sure everything runs smoothly.

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.

New Knowledge

The field officer worked with our contact person in the community, Mr. Ombayo, informing him of the proposed date for training. Mr. Ombayo advised us on the best day that most of the community members would be free and willing to attend. He went ahead to mobilize community members to attend training, going from house to house to inform them of the agreed date, time, and venue.

The weather was so hot on training day. As the sun moved, participants would shift their seating arrangement to follow the shade of a tree. We held our training at Mrs. Margret Andayi's homestead.

Several topics were covered during the training, such as personal and environmental hygiene, common local diseases and their prevention, and care of the water point. The ten steps of handwashing were demonstrated, along with demonstrations for dental hygiene and water treatment.

Participants were most interested in learning about what pollutes water. They came with the idea that industrial activity is the only thing that pollutes water. We were able to instruct that nearby farming contaminates drinking water, as well as latrines built nearby. They were advised to not build a latrine anywhere within 50 meters of the spring.

The community has also been trained to form a very strong management committee that will oversee all the activities carried out at the spring. The group is being advised to always seek the advice of our organization when there is a major issue that may require our help.

"Today we have learned so many things. I personally have been brushing my teeth before breakfast, which is so wrong. More so, I can't remember the last time I changed my toothbrush. But according to today's training, it is recommended that we change after three months," said Mrs. Amayo.

"Solar disinfection is something also new we have learnt today. Treating drinking water using sun rather than boiling it using firewood will helped us reduce on firewood consumption. For us, we are thankful and we opt for this method as it is so economical!"

Thank You for making all of this possible!

January, 2019: Elutali Community Project Underway

Dirty water from Obati Spring is making people in Elutali Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to build a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this 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: Elutali Community, Obati Spring

October, 2019

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Elutali 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!

Field Officer Jonathan Mutai recently visited Obati Spring in Elutali to check up on the spring and interview community members about the project's impact in its first year since completion. Jonathan shared the following reflection from his visit:

"The day [I first] visited this community is like yesterday for me in what I saw. Then, I had to take time trying to remove green algae [in the water] but [this] was in vain. Miheso was the one who took me to [the] spring side. I asked him several times if indeed they had been drawing water from that water source and he responded yes. I almost asked him why, but my question would have ended being [a] rhetorical one. I [consoled[ myself [by] saying sooner [rather] than later, all will be well."

"And indeed, things now are in order...Water drawn at the spring is safe and clean not only for drinking but also for general chores. Initially, the water point was full of green algae and the infestation of frogs could make it worse. Also, drawing water was so hectic and time-consuming because one had to carry a smaller container for filling the bigger one and a sieve for removing green algae."

"But, [the] construction of the spring has curbed all those challenges. Now, water is drawn easily at one's convenience...unlike before where only water collected early in the morning was considered safe for drinking."

Clean water flows from Obati Spring, now surrounded by green grass a year after completion

"The hygiene and sanitation in the area have also improved. This is evidenced by things like clotheslines, dishracks, and improvised handwashing stations which are easily spotted in most of the homesteads...Their environment is good. Stepping [into] this community you are welcomed by [a] greener environment of different plants. Their homesteads are clean unlike before...These are some of [the] impacts of [the] training conducted in the area while [the] spring was been implemented."

Horren Miheso, whom Jonathan mentions he met on his first visit to Obati Spring, now serves as the vice-chair of the water committee in Elutali. Horren was glad to meet Jonatan back at the protected spring a year since its completion to tell Jonathan of the impact the project has had on his and his neighbors' lives.

"We are so happy because the challenges of waterborne and water-related diseases have reduced drastically since construction of this spring. Also, drawing of water has been made easy," Horren said.

"For one to draw water, one only needs to place [a] container under the discharge pipe and within no time the container is full. Besides that, sanitation and hygiene in the area were so poor, but after the training you conducted here, [the ]majority of the community members have tried to at least have those basic things like dishracks and clotheslines."

Jonathan with Ivine at the spring

9-year-old Ivine Muchema was also at the spring and shared her perspective of the project as a young girl in her village.

"I am very happy and thankful for considering our spring for protection. The spring for me, I had hated [it but now I] love it only because of implementation and the safe water we do access now. Algae was a problem to me and frogs could scare me most. But after protection, things have changed. I do enjoy coming to fetch water at any time I feel without any worry."

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 Elutali 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 Elutali 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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