Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Sep 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 04/02/2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Shaban Opuka Spring is a hub of activity in Eshikhugula. The 560 people living here have noticed people from other villages coming to Shaban Opuka Spring, too. That is because Shaban Opuka Spring has a ton of water that outlasts the dry months of the year.

"During the dry seasons, all other people come to draw water from the unprotected spring. This brings congestion at the spring. In addition, the containers that the people use to draw water from the unprotected spring contribute to contamination," said Mr. Musa Opuka, a village elder from the community.

The issue here is that the spring is entirely open to contamination. It gets particularly dirty after it rains. Animals are free to come and go when they're thirsty, too. Nonetheless, people fill their containers with this dirty water and use it for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and other domestic uses.

People get waterborne illnesses that force them to miss working on their farms and providing for their families. A lot of money is spent on typhoid treatment and visits to the clinic. Being ill or having an ill family member keeps people from making a steady income through farming and brick-making.

What we can do:

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.


"Indeed this is a God-given opportunity and the idea of protecting the spring will solve our water problems. Moreover, the sanitation facilities and health promotion campaign through trainings will enable, enlighten, and capacity-build the community to take matters related to community health as a priority," explained Mrs. Antilati Makwaku.

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.

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

Quite a number of homes still do have pit latrines, so neighbors are forced to share.

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should most 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.

Project Updates

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Shaban Opuka 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.

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 Eshikhugula, Kenya.

We trained community members 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

September, 2019: Eshikhugula Community, Shaban Opuka Spring Project Complete!

Eshikhugula Community now has access to clean water! Shaban Opuka Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of water thanks to your donation. We protected the spring, provided 5 sanitation platforms to different households in the community, and we trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices.

Community members in front of the completed spring

Spring Protection

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, including bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, stones, and fencing poles. Accommodations and meals were provided for the artisan, too.

The Process

Women and men lent their strength to the artisan to help him with manual labor. In fact, more women than men turned out to help carry materials to the spring site and pitched in with construction, really showing their strength in this village. The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of thick plastic tarp, 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.

Women deliver bags of cement to the artisan

As the wing walls and headwall were curing, 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 thick plastic tarp to prevent potential sources of contamination. It took about 2 weeks of patience for the concrete to dry.

Staircase excavation

As soon as it was ready, people got the okay from our field officers to begin fetching clean water. We met them there to celebrate this momentous occasion. A site meeting was held to mark the completion and commissioning of the protected spring. The event was marked with prayer, praises, songs, and thanksgiving. The community was ecstatic that the protected spring will help to greatly improve hygiene standards within the community and hence lead to an improved quality of life. The community leaders thanked God, our team, and the donors for helping to protect their spring.

Community member at the spring

"I would like to specifically appreciate The Water Project...for considering this community for such a water facility. Thank you for your concern for communities and service to humanity. May the almighty God bless you", explained an excited Mrs. Rebecca Wafula, our main contact in the Eshikhugula community and also a local business person.

Young boy at the spring

Sanitation Platforms

All 5 sanitation platforms have been installed. These 5 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.

Children with a new sanitation platform

New Knowledge

Mrs. Rebecca Wafula, a local business person in Eshikhugula, was tasked with organizing the training. She gave us the community’s preferred date for training, for she was very much aware of the community calendar when it comes to planting season and other big events.

10 people attended training, which was not an unexpectedly-low turnout from what we expected. This was because most of the community members were working on their farms, primarily weeding, as it turned out. The training took place on a sunny day right at the spring site. The participants sat under a shade of a tree while the artisan and other laborers continued with the construction.

Training begins

We covered several topics including leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; and the prevention and spread of disease. We also covered water treatment methods, personal care like handwashing, environmental hygiene, hygiene promotion, and many other things.

Our conversation on water handling and sanitation was quite special. The community members were shocked to learn that while they thought they had been handling their water safely, it had never occurred to them that carrying water in a clean bucket that has no lid still rendered their water unsafe for drinking. This was because their fingers would dip into the water and other contaminants like dust would settle in the water before it was used. We had a thorough discussion on this topic and all agreed to work on improving the handling of their water.

Field Officer Mary Afandi in action at training

"The training has been timely and we have gained important information from our facilitator," said an excited Mrs. Aminsa Robai, a local farmer. "We promise to endeavor [to] improve on our weaknesses from today and also we shall pass the information to the entire village so as to improve on the hygiene and sanitation of every household."

Thank you for making all of this possible!

August, 2019: Eshikhugula Community, Shaban Opuka Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Shaban Opuka Spring is making people in Eshikhugula Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install 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 news of success!

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: Eshikhugula Community, Shaban Opuka Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Eshikhugula 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!

"Before the spring was protected, it was difficult to fetch water as community members used any available utensils to fetch the water to fill their jerricans."

"Today, there is a big difference. I am able to access clean and safe water. There are no delays nowadays and it is easy to fetch the water from the spring."

"The water is plenty and there is no congestion at the water point. In fact, during this time of COVID-19, the spring water helps us to wash our hands all the time."

"The protected spring saves time that would have otherwise been wasted while collecting water."

"We are enjoying healthy lives as there are no cases of water-related diseases."

"And, the water is used for irrigation."

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 Eshikhugula 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 Eshikhugula 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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