Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jun 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 07/09/2024

Project Features

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Ematetie village is covered with green vegetation both naturally occurring and planted. The fertile land supports community members' farming, which most people do on a small scale. The area is flat though somewhat sloping, and houses are closely concentrated. Although most families have many children in this community, a unique superstition says that if a parent mentions the specific number of children they have may, it may lead to a child's death.

500 people in Ematetie depend on Amasetse Spring as their year-round water source. The community members waste time fetching water using a jug to scoop water from the open water source into their larger jerrycans, which are too large to submerge in the puddled water. At times, the spring water is so dirty that people are forced to wait until it settles to begin fetching, which can waste several more hours. Some people come with sieves so that they sieve the spring water as they pour it into their containers in an effort to remove the largest pebbles, dirt, and bugs.

Women and cihldren waste a lot of time accessing the spring water which affects the entire schedule of their day. This is because only one person at a time can fetch water slowly using a jug to avoid dirtying it further. The long waits have sometimes been hard, causing quarrels and even fights among frustrated community members.

"Fetching water from this water point has really affected my daily activities. I always wish to fetch water before I go to the shamba (farm), but when I come for water, I always find people already full at the water point which discourages me. The water is also open to contamination and this makes me worried of anything going wrong, either diseases or the water being poisoned," explained Martha Makhoya.

"After a few people have fetched water, it gets dirty and the rest are forced to wait until the dirt settles down. This really wastes time and inconveniences people. We also suffer from waterborne diseases because of the dirty water," said young teenager Paul.

Community members say they most commonly contract typhoid and dysentery as a result of drinking the contaminated spring water. These diseases are expensive to treat, draining families of their financial resources, energy, and time. When sick, kids have to stay home from school, and adults miss out on key productive time at work, at home, and on the farm.

What We Can Do:

Spring Protection

Protecting the spring will help provide access to cleaner and safer water and reduce the time people have to spend to fetch it. 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 and their education.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

To hold trainings during the pandemic, we work closely with both community leaders and the local government to approve small groups to attend training. We ask community leaders to invite a select yet representative group of people to attend training who will then act as ambassadors to the rest of the community to share what they learn. We also communicate our expectations of physical distancing and wearing masks for all who choose to attend.

The training will focus on improved hygiene, health, and sanitation habits in this community. We will also have a dedicated session on COVID-19 symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention best practices.

With the community’s input, we will identify key leverage points where they can alter their practices at the personal, household, and community levels to affect change. This training will help to ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance to make the most of their water point as soon as water is flowing.

Our team of facilitators will use a variety of methods to train community members. Some of these methods include participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation, asset-based community development, group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring.

One of the most important issues 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 and the community strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve living standards here, which will help to unlock the potential for these community members to live better, healthier lives.

We will then conduct a small series of follow-up trainings before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Training will result in the formation of a water user committee, elected by their peers, that will oversee the operations and maintenance of the spring. The committee 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 unwanted waste, and the drainage will keep the area’s mosquito population at a minimum.


Project Updates

June, 2021: Amasetse Spring Project Complete!

Ematetie Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Amasetse Spring into a flowing source of water, thanks to your donation. Our team protected the spring and trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices, including COVID-19 prevention.

Ematetia community members have been fetching water from an unprotected spring for many years. Many people had promised to help them protect the spring but never fulfilled their promises. Giving them short notice to mobilize locally available materials for the construction of the spring was not an issue to them. They worked to ensure that all the required material was available on time. They were always available at the spring in large numbers to help the artisan at any point he needed their assistance. On the training day, they turned up in large numbers to be trained on how to take care of the spring.

"It will reduce the amount of time I spend at the spring collecting water and reduce water-related diseases like typhoid. The money that I have been using to treat water-related diseases, I will now use in business generating activities that will improve the lives of my family members," said Martha Makhoya.

Children were just as excited as the adults about the new water point.

"It will help me reduce the time I spend at the river collecting water. I will use the time I spent at the spring collecting water to improve on my studies," said Paul.

Preparing for Spring Protection

Community members worked together to source and carried all locally available construction materials to the spring. These included bricks, sand, stones, and fencing poles. Some people also chiseled away at large stones to break them down into the gravel. Because people have to carry most items by hand, the materials collection process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.

When everything was prepared, we sent a lorry to the community to deliver the rest of the construction materials, including the cement, plastic tarps, and hardware. Then, our artisan and field officers deployed to the spring to begin work. Individual households provided meals throughout each day to sustain the work team.

From Open Source to Protected Spring: A Step-by-Step Process

At last, it was time to dig in at the spring! Women and men lent their strength to the artisan each day to help with the manual labor. First, we cleared and excavated the spring area. Next, we dug a drainage channel below the spring and several surface runoff diversion channels above and around the spring. These help to divert environmental contaminants carried by the rains away from the spring.

To ensure community members could still fetch water throughout the construction process, we also dug temporary diversion channels from the spring’s eye around the construction site. This allowed water to flow without severely disrupting community members’ water needs or the construction work.

Excavation created space for setting the spring’s foundation made of thick plastic tarp, wire mesh, concrete, and waterproof cement. After setting the base, we started brickwork to build the headwall, wing walls, and stairs.

Next, we began one of the most crucial spring protection steps to ensure a fully functional water point: setting the discharge pipe. The discharge pipe has to be low enough in the headwall so that the water level inside never rises above the spring’s eye, yet high enough to leave eighteen to twenty inches between the pipe and the spring floor. This allows room for the average jerrycan (a 20-liter container) to sit beneath the pipe without making contact.

If we place the discharge pipe too high above the spring’s eye, too much backpressure could force the flow to emerge elsewhere. Too low, and community members would not be able to access the water easily. We embedded the pipe using clay (or mortar when the clay is in short supply) and placed it at a slight incline to ensure water flows in the right direction.

In coordination with brickwork, we pitched medium to large stones on both sides of the spring’s drainage channel. We then cemented and plastered each stone group into place, forming the rub walls. This helps discourage people and animals from standing on that area, which could cause soil erosion and thus a clogged drainage area.

We turned to cementing and plastering both sides of the headwall and wing walls with brickwork and stone pitching completed. These finishing layers reinforce the brickwork and prevent water in the reservoir from seeping through the walls. In turn, enough pressure builds in the reservoir box to push water out through the discharge pipe.

As the headwall and wing walls were curing, we cemented and plastered the stairs and installed four tiles beneath the discharge pipe. The tiles protect the concrete from the falling water’s erosive force while beautifying the spring and facilitating easy cleaning of the spring floor.

We transitioned to the final stages of construction with the tiles in place - backfilling the reservoir box. First, we cleared the collection box of any debris that may have fallen in since its construction, such as dead leaves or other items. Then we redirected the temporary diversion channels back into the reservoir box, channeling water into this area for the first time. We closed off all of the other exits to start forcing the water through the discharge pipe only.

With much help from the community, we filled up the reservoir area with the clean and large stones they gathered, arranging them in layers like a well-fitting puzzle. We covered the stones with a thick plastic tarp to minimize potential contamination sources from aboveground, followed by a layer of soil. We piled enough soil on top to create a slight mound to compensate for the backfill’s future settlement.

Community members transplanted grass onto the backfilled soil to help prevent erosion. Finally, the collection area was fenced to discourage any person or animal from walking on it since compaction can lead to disturbances in the backfill layers and potentially compromise water quality.

The entire construction process took about two weeks of work and patience to allow the cement and plaster to finish curing. As soon as it was ready, people got the okay from our field officers to fetch water. We officially handed over the spring directly following training to mark the community's ownership of the water point. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day flowing in all directions.

Members of the community were present celebrating the completion of the spring. Some of them were splashing water, dancing, and singing. "I have been drinking water from this unprotected spring since I was married into this community, but I thank God that after so many years, He has answered my prayers of clean drinking water," said Martha Amasese.

Training on Health, Hygiene, COVID-19, and More

Due to the ongoing challenges and restrictions amidst the pandemic, we worked with local leaders and the national Ministry of Health to gain approval for a small group training about health, hygiene, and COVID-19 prevention.

Together with the community, we found their preferred date for training while considering other community calendar events, such as the agricultural season and social events. We requested a representative group of community members to attend training to relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

When the day arrived, facilitators Edmond Otieno, Adelaide Nasimiyu, and Joyce Naliaka deployed to the site to lead the event. Seventeen people attended the training, including community-based leaders and village health volunteers. We held the training at the homestead of one of the community members. The weather was sunny. The participants sat one meter apart and observed all COVID-19 precautions.

Perhaps the most crucial topic of the day was our session on COVID-19 prevention and control. Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the virus and provide extra information where needed.

We covered several other topics, including community participation in the project; leadership and governance; personal and environmental hygiene; water handling and treatment; operation and maintenance of the spring; dental hygiene; the ten steps of handwashing, and how to make and use a tippy tap and leaky tin. In addition, we held an election for the newly formed water user committee leaders during the leadership and governance session.

We also brainstormed income-generating activities that can be used to start a community savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring and a cooperative lending group to enable members to develop small businesses.

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 field officers to assist them. Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our ongoing monitoring and maintenance program.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

May, 2021: Amasetse Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Amasetse Spring is making people in Ematetie, Kenya 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 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!

A Year Later: New Dreams of Helping Others

July, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Ematetie Community 3.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ematetie Community 3 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!

The community members in Ematetie struggled to collect water from Amasetse Spring before we protected it last year. They had to scoop water up using small containers to fill their jugs and very often had to wait hours for the water to clear up enough to use.

Eight-year-old, Javan W., said, "I was not able to get water on my own because it was not easy to fetch without making it dirty."

But now that the spring has been protected, it is more accessible and the water is clear. Thankfully, collecting water looks different for Javan and the others in his community these days.

Javan commented, "I can easily get clean water on my own without restrictions."

"I want to work hard in school so that in [the] future I will also impact lives in [the] community like what The Water Project did for us," said Javan.

Javan and a community member collecting water.

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 Ematetie Community 3 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 Ematetie Community 3 – 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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