Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 182 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Mar 2020

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/07/2024

Project Features

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Emurumba is located in a rural area that is so peaceful and has vegetation that is a habitat for some animals like snakes, wild cats, and birds. A majority of the buildings here are semi-permanent with few permanent buildings. Most community members are subsistence farmers, though there are those who grow sugarcane to sell as a cash crop and others who venture into livestock rearing for their daily bread.

The day normally starts in Emurumba at 5:00 am when mothers help their children prepare for school. Breakfast is taken before they start engaging in any other activities. There are those who go to the market to buy foodstuffs, while others plow the farm and come back home for lunch. For children who go to school, they spend the whole day at school and join their parents late in the evening and assist them in attending to some chores at home.

Mothers are in charge of fetching water, cooking all of the meals, cleaning the house, doing laundry, washing dishes, and farming. Fathers take the responsibility of taking care of livestock and not forgetting that they have to provide for their families' daily bread. The day ends at 9:00 pm after families take supper together and pray before they go to bed.

Some 182 people in Emurumba depend on water from Makokha Spring to complete their daily routine. In its current state, Makokha Spring is partially reinforced but still unprotected and open to contaminants. There has been some concrete work around the spring, but only to affix a discharge pipe and create a reservoir box that stores murky standing water. The spring box - where the water feeding the spring runs through - and the entire surrounding area is still open to the environment. This includes contaminants from animals, farm runoff, and even people as they step in the water.

There is a small stream that runs through farmland in Emurumba that serves as a secondary water source if the line at the spring is too long or if someone does not feel like walking to the spring. The stream is very shallow, muddy, and also completely open and unprotected. Together,  these unprotected water points are the only sources of water for this group of people. The spring is strategically positioned within the village and has adequate water. In fact, it has never dried up. This makes it an ideal candidate for protection.

When safe water is scarce in Emurumba, people drink any other water they can find, regardless that it may be contaminated and would cause a threat to their health. Community members are often diagnosed with waterborne illnesses including typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea, which are expensive to treat. Paying for medical expenses diverts resources that would otherwise be used for family upkeep, like buying food, clothing, and paying school fees.

"We spend the little resources we have on settling hospital bills when our kids fall sick because of consuming contaminated water at times from this water source," said Grace Aswani, and mother and farmer in Emurumba.

"I took my son to the hospital last month and [he] was diagnosed [with] typhoid, and last week my daughter complained of stomachache," said Mohamed Said, a father and teacher in Emurumba who depends on Makokha Spring for his daily water. "The doctor asked me to be watchful of the kind of water my kids consume."

What we can do:

Spring Protection

Protecting the spring will help provide access to cleaner and safer water. 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 a task predominantly carried out by women and young girls. Protecting the spring and offering training and support will, therefore, help empower the female members of the community by freeing up more of their time and energy to engage and invest in income-generating activities.


Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least 2 days. This training will ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance. The facilitator plans to use Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST), Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), 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 is consumed. We will also emphasize the importance of handwashing.

Training will result in the formation of a committee that will oversee the operations and maintenance of 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 channels. 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 5 families that should benefit from new concrete latrine floors. Training will inform the community and selected families on what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, including bricks, clean sand, and gravel. The 5 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 Emurumba Community, Makokha 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.

A woman shows her COVID-19 informational pamphlet received at 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 Emurumba, Kenya.

We trained more than 6 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.

Homemade mask tutorial

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.

Trying out the new handwashing station

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.

Learning to use the elbow for coughing and sneezing

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.

March, 2020: Emurumba Community, Makokha Spring Project Complete!

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

"We have clean water flowing down the spring and that is the joy and desires of our hearts. We really appreciate you for this project and I feel the water-related diseases will walk away from here. Thanks a lot and God bless you," said farmer Moses Akumba.

Community members celebrate flowing water at Makokha 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. 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 pipes - 2 in this case due to the spring's naturally high yield - were fixed low in place through the headwall to direct the water from the reservoir to the drawing area.

Artisan sets the discharge pipes

As the wing walls and headwall were curing, the stairs were set and ceramic tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipes. 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 pipes.

Artisan team works together to plaster the spring

The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a thick plastic tarp to prevent potential sources of contamination. Then soil was layered on top of the tarp so that community members could transplant grass to prevent erosion. Finally, the collection area was fenced in. It took about 2 weeks of patience for the concrete to dry.

Planting grass inside the spring box

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. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day flowing in all directions.

A boy smiles while fetching water 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.

A proud new sanitation slab owner

New Knowledge

Community member Grace Aswani, who also serves as a Community Health Volunteer, helped organize the training in coordination with our team. Together we found the community’s preferred date for training while considering other events in the community calendar such as the agricultural season and expected gatherings. Grace co-led the training with our facilitators Victor Musemi and Ian Nakitare.

21 people attended training. The weather was hot and sunny despite the muddy environment due to a heavy downpour the previous night. The training was done at one of the participant's homes near the spring and some topics were tackled at the spring site. The environment was conducive for training and the attendees' level of participation was strong.

Community Health Volunteer Grace Aswani (holding yellow container) helps lead training

The session on water handling and treatment was particularly memorable. Facilitator Victor Musemi demonstrated to the group the proper way of handling and covering water, and advised against using leaves plucked from trees to cover their fresh buckets of water - a common practice. One of the women then told a story about how one day, she covered her water bucket using leaves to prevent spills on the way home. She plunked the leaves into the bucket and allowed water to run over them. Then, to her surprise, she saw insects floating on the water! She promptly stopped the practice and everyone at training agreed on the same. The facilitator also cautioned the participants against leaving water containers uncovered and urged them to use hard covers such as plastic rather than leaves.

Grace demonstrates handwashing next to Facilitator Victor

When an issue arises concerning the water project, the water user committee is equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure the water point works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our team of field officers to assist them. In addition, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Site management training at the spring while it was under construction

We also brainstormed income-generating activities that can be used to start both a community savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring, as well as a cooperative lending group to enable members to develop their own small businesses. The participants already had small self-help groups that they have established in a network to address their challenges and build themselves up economically. So far, however, the groups have not been very profitable, community members explained. We talked about this in detail and plan to follow up on this topic especially during our follow-up visits in the future.

A woman smiles at the spring

"We are so glad to learn a lot from you, our facilitators. You have taught us many things about hygiene, sanitation, maintenance of the spring and many other things. So let the almighty God reward you. I promise that I will put into action what you have taught me," said Damaris Musembi, a farmer in the community.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2020: Emurumba Community, Makokha Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Makokha Spring is making people in Emurumba 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: Emurumba Community, Makokha Spring

February, 2021

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Emurumba 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 project, fetching water from the spring was hard and stressful. You would always find a long line of people quarreling for water."

"Now, everything has been made easier for us. Just come stand for a few minutes, then leave with your water. Everything is fast."

"Now, I save a lot of time in doing household chores, and I have now embraced other activities that I wasn't doing before."

Clean water flows at 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 Emurumba 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 Emurumba 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.


2 individual donor(s)