Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 315 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/05/2024

Project Features

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There is a gradual slope as you walk towards Kaikai Spring, located in Emuyere village. The land becomes steep as you get nearer the water source, with green vegetation and farm plots surrounding it. The most common livelihood in this community is farming. Community members have embraced both crop farming and livestock farming. They rear poultry, cattle, and pigs and grow maize, beans, vegetables, and sweet potatoes.

The Emuyere community members have embraced their culture a lot. They have traditional bullfighting that takes place every Saturday morning at the Makunga Market. People from Emuyere and the neighboring communities gather and watch the fighting together. The surrounding communities have bonded because of this routine bullfighting. Additionally, Emuyere hosts a boys' football club that meets for practice Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

315 people in the Emuyere area depend on Kaikai Spring for water. Their entire day revolves around fetching enough water from this unprotected spring for most women and children.

Selpher Muchenya, a mother and farmer in the community, is no exception to this. Every day Selpher wakes up at 5:00 am. She does some house chores like washing the utensils, cleaning the house, and then preparing breakfast. Selpher does this using the water she fetched the previous day.

After Selpher is done with the morning chores, she goes for four roundtrips to get water before going to the farm. She likes fetching water in the morning hours while the water is still and undisturbed. She says that the water she fetches this early is mainly used for drinking and cooking. At 9:00 am, Selpher goes to the farm until noon. When she comes back, she prepares lunch for the family. After they have had their lunch, she washes the dishes, then showers and rests for a while.

At 4:00 pm, Selpher starts her trips to fetch more water. She goes for another four roundtrips, then starts preparing dinner for the family. They always have their dinner at 7:00 pm. Between 8-9:00 pm, they are done with eating. They chat with family members about how the day was and plan for the next day. At 9:00 pm, it is time for all of them to go to bed.

All these trips for water, yet it is contaminated and puts Selpher and her family's health, along with the rest of the community, at risk. The spring is completely open to the environment and, thus, contamination from animal and human activity alike. Drinking contaminated water leads to waterborne diseases. The community reports frequent typhoid cases, dysentery, and stomach issues after drinking water from the unprotected spring. These illnesses are expensive to treat, draining families of their financial resources in addition to their energy and time for productive activities.

"The water from this water source is not clean, so we have to treat it with Aquatabs or chlorine. Sometimes, we do not have money to buy the Aquatabs and chlorine, so we take the water as it is. Drinking this water without treatment has caused us and our children to suffer from typhoid and diarrhea," said Selpher, who also serves as her community's Village Health Volunteer.

As Selpher noted, water fetched early in the morning is best while it is still clean. To fetch water, community members have to scoop the water with jugs and small bowls to pour into their larger jerrycans. This adds bacteria and stirs up dirt into the water. The slippery drawing point made up of a few stones placed in the water also leads to falls, injuring community members and further contaminating the water. Shoes and toes commonly dip into the water by accident while people fetch it.

This scoop-pour method is tiring and time-consuming, and it slows people down as they fetch. Crowds and long waits are commonplace at the spring, wasting community members' previous time.

"We are supposed to fetch water early in the morning while the water is still clean. Before going to school, I have to fetch water. This consumes a lot of my time in preparation for school," said Joseph, a young teenager in the community.

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. Therefore, protecting the spring and offering training and support will help empower the community's female members 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 training 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 to alter their practices at the personal, household, and community levels to affect change. This training will help ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance to make the most of their water points as soon as the 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 handling, storing, and treating water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it is consumed. The community and we 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 training before transitioning to our regularly scheduled support visits throughout the year.

Training will result in forming a water user committee, elected by their peers, that will oversee the spring's operations and maintenance. 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

November, 2021: Kaikai Spring Protection Complete!

Emuyere Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Kaikai 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.

"It will give me peace knowing that my family and I are drinking clean and safe water. This will help us live a healthy life. We will not be sick because of water-related diseases. The money I used in hospitals and drugs I will use it to invest in my farming activities," said Selpha Muchenya, a 45-year-old farmer.

She went on to describe her plans with access to clean water. "I plan to grow vegetables and rear fish on my farm. With this water point, I will be able to do irrigation so that I [can] plant vegetables in all seasons. The wasted water [I] am planning to use to construct a fish pond and rear fish. This will add to my income, and I will be able to pay school fees for my children without struggling."

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

"Spending less time in fetching water, I will maximize it in my studies. I want to be a doctor when I grow up so that I can help sick people who can't access hospitals due to poverty. Drinking clean and safe water will help me live a healthy life, and that means I will spend most of my time at school and not at home because of sickness that comes with drinking dirty water," said Joseph M., age 14.

Preparing for Spring Protection

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

When the community members had prepared everything, 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! Locals lent their strength to the artisans 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, which is 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 clay is in short supply) and placed it at an 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 in that area, which could cause soil erosion and thus a clogged drainage area.

We then turned to cementing and plastering both sides of the headwall and wing walls. 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 rocks with a thick plastic tarp to minimize potential contamination sources from aboveground, followed by a layer of soil. We piled enough dirt 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 to mark the Community's ownership of the water point. Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions.

The village elder and community members were very excited about the completion of Kaikai Spring and sang songs of praise for the new water point.

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 Adelaide Nasimiyu, Elvine Atieno, and Joyce Naliaka deployed to the site to lead the event. Seventeen (17) people attended the training, 14 women and three men, including community-based leaders and village health volunteers. We held the training under a tree at the Kaikai homestead that sheltered the trainees from the scorching sun and allowed people to sit at a safe distance.

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 community members can use to start a group savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring and a cooperative lending group to enable members to develop small businesses.

Water pollution was a favorite topic during the training for attendees. The facilitator explained the importance of refilling drinking water pots every three days to keep the water safe to consume.

Repha Khakasa, a 60-year-old participant, shared that her family has big earthen pots that store water for up to fourteen days. Being told to refill them every three days seemed impossible for her because her family lives far from the spring. The facilitator explained to her the effects of drinking stagnant water and that if she wants to be safe and free from water-related diseases, she has to look for a smaller pot that will be easier for her to refill more often.

Repha shared what else she had learned through the training. "The training was very valuable to me. With this knowledge received, I will be able to live a comfortable and healthy life. Today I learned that beddings should be aired weekly and if you have children who wet their beddings then you have to wash daily and not just air. This will help me and my family live a healthy life free from skin diseases."

When an issue arises concerning the spring, 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!

August, 2021: Kaikai Spring Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage at Emuyere Community drains people’s time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community through the introduction 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!

A Year Later: "The water we drink is clean and safe."

December, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Emuyere 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!

Last year, collecting water from Kaikai Spring was challenging for eight-year-old Albert.

"Getting water before was very difficult," said Albert.

"Most of the time, the water point was crowded. This would make you wait for [a] long [time] before fetching water. The water that you fetched will not be clean because people ahead of you have dirtified it. Since you have no option, you have to fetch that water [for] home. It was worse during the rainy season because the water was always [dirty] and the way very slippery. I remember falling down while trying to fetch water."

But since the spring was protected last year, access is easier, and Albert now actually enjoys collecting water.

"Getting water now is easier and fun. There are no queues at the water point. Anytime my mother sends me to fetch water, I gladly go. The stairs have made accessing water to be easy and [it is] fun walking down the stairs. The water we drink is clean and safe. I no longer suffer from stomachache diseases. [I] am healthy and happy," said Albert.

"Being in good health always has enabled me to stay in school throughout. No absenteeism because of sickness, and this has helped me improve my grades. I have also made many friends at home since I have enough time to play and socialize," concluded Albert.

Albert and a friend drinking water from 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 Emuyere 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 Emuyere 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.


Cameron Flowers - J.C. Erhardt Memorial School