Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Dec 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/07/2024

Project Features

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The Emusaka area is vegetative, with community members living as small-scale farmers, including farm fish. The roads in this area are mostly untarmacked, dusty during the dry season, and muddy during the rainy season. The houses are semi-permanent in nature. This community works together with a common goal of improving their lives. They use merry-go-round banking groups to fund their own development projects of interest, and some people own tents that they lease out to individuals who have events. It is a very active community.

210 people in Emusaka rely on unprotected Manasses Spring for water. The spring water is highly contaminated with dirt, algae, rotting leaves, bugs, and animal and human activity because it is open. When it rains, runoff pours more dirt and farm chemicals into the spring, making it worse. The water is wholly unfit for human consumption. Community members frequently report cases of waterborne diseases and water-related illnesses, including typhoid, cholera, and amoeba. These diseases are expensive to treat, taking away time, energy, and money that community members would have allocated to other endeavors.

The spring water is not only dirty but difficult to access. To fetch water, community members have to use small jugs and a bowl to scoop water from the shallow pool that forms at the spring. They then pour the scooped water into their larger jerrycans, which are too big to submerge in the water.

The scoop-pour method is tiring and time-consuming, wasting many people's time and delaying their daily routines. But, if people try to fetch water too fast, they risk stirring up mud from the pool's bottom into the water they collect. When this happens, people have to wait even longer for the water to settle before they can begin fetching again. To time their fetching with the calmest and, therefore, cleanest water in terms of debris, most community members fetch water very early in the morning and late in the evening. This leads to a lot of crowing and long wait times.

"When there are many people collecting water, the water becomes dirty. You have to wait for it to settle before fetching, which is time-consuming," said Repha Ayako, a farmer in the community.

"The water is not safe for drinking and also dirty. I have to go to look for clean water after school, and come back late into the night," said Tyrone, a teenaged student.

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 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 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 which 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 the formation of 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

December, 2021: Manasses Spring Protection Complete!

Emusaka Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Manasses 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's a sigh of relief for me, because I have been wasting a lot of time walking long distances in search for safe water," said Simeon Wanzetse, 22.

Simeon giving a thumbs up at the spring.

"I have completed my high school education and waiting to join a college of my choice. Together with my parents, we are going to work extra hard to make sure that [our] brick-making business earns us enough money for me to go to school and help my parents in return."

But perhaps most excited was an elder in the community, Repher Ayako, whom villagers familiarly call "Mama Repher."

"I have been worried all along because there was a deep hole at the water point that happened to be a threat to all small children in the community. Now that the problem has been solved, I'm at peace knowing that all of them will be safe." Repher confessed to us that she would often watch the children fetching water from her compound, which is near to the spring. Now, she won't have to.

Mama Repher at the spring.

"Fetching water from the spring was also a great problem and time-consuming, because there were no proper ways to access the water," Repher said. "Now that extra stairs have been built, this makes it easier for me to handle house chores as fast as possible. There will be no more visiting hospitals because of waterborne diseases. Being a small-scale farmer, this water point will help me put more effort in irrigation to accomplish my goals."

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.

Handing-over ceremony.

Happiness, thanksgiving, and appreciation were the order of the day, flowing in all directions. The members gathered together to receive their waterpoint with excitement, offering prayers and speeches of thanks.

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. Mama Repher was instrumental in helping us recruit community members and make sure they attended on the day of.

When the day arrived, facilitators David and Joyce deployed to the site to lead the event. Nine people attended the training, including six women and three men.

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.

One of the training participants mistakenly believed that the virus would disappear as people died and it would no longer spread once enough people had died from it. We explained the nature of viruses and she left the training with a better understanding of the pandemic and how COVID-19 spreads.

"The training has been very valuable to me because I have been able to understand how to live a healthy life and the importance of doing so," said Javan Inganga, a 45-year-old farmer and pastor. "It has also helped me to understand all the situations in life and how to deal with them."

Javan at the training.

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.

"The training has been valuable to me because I have been able to understand the importance of living in a clean environment and how to take care of water, since water is life," said Branis Gigara, a 23-year-old mother and hairdresser. "The most helpful part that really caught my attention is about the myths and rumors of COVID-19. This has tackled the misinformation that has been disturbing my mind concerning the virus."

Branis with her adorable baby.

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.

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!

October, 2021: Emusaka Community, Manasses Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Emusaka 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: At the top of the class!

December, 2022

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Emusaka 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!

Before we protected Manasses Spring in Emusaka Community last year, people were constantly getting sick, and they spent much of their time waiting in lines at the water point.

"We used to waste a lot of time waiting for that huge crowd to subside before we could get water for domestic purposes," said 14-year-old George. "Sometimes we were forced to walk long distances to look for other alternative sources just to avoid the crowds, but that also didn't solve our problems, but rather brought more harm than good. Waterborne diseases were the order of the day in my family and the community at large."

But now, the community's water is both convenient and safe to drink.

"Getting water from this water point is so enjoyable since it's accessible and no more overcrowding is experienced," George continued. "It also gives me ample time to do my studies and help my parents in one way or another. An added bonus is that I have yet to be hospitalized for any water-related disease."

Clean water has transformed the lives of the people in Emusaka.

"First of all, I would like to extend my gratitude to you and everyone that made the idea of the water point a reality," George concluded. "This water source has been a total blessing, not only to my life, but practically to everyone in our village. Personally, through it, I have experienced a drastic improvement [in] my grades which has seen me achieve my dream of topping the class."


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 Emusaka 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 Emusaka 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.