Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 210 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Feb 2023

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/10/2024

Project Features

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There aren't enough water sources in Emulama to serve all 210 community members' needs. This is why, no matter what time of day you venture to Laban Andati Spring, you will always find a line of people waiting to fetch water here.

The difficulty of collecting water doesn't help matters. People must balance on some of the rocks placed in the spring to access it, often getting themselves wet in the process. They take small scooping jugs and bring up water one scoop at a time, trying hard not to stir up the sediment at the bottom of the water. All this time and effort, and still Emulama's people are suffering from diarrhea, amoeba, and typhoid.

The difficult task of getting water, coupled with impatient people waiting for their turn to fetch water, often spark quarrels among the community members, adding to the whole stressful situation.

Excessive round-trip and queuing times indicate an inadequate number of waterpoints or inadequate yields at water sources. This can lead to reduced individual water consumption and increased consumption from unprotected surface sources, and result in less time for tasks such as education or income-generating activities. Queuing time also affects the risk of violence at the tap stand. - Sphere Standards

To avoid all this, 34-year-old Consolata (carrying water on her head in the below photo) tries to get to the spring as early as she can.

"I have to be up very early in the morning, sometimes as early as four a.m., so as to go to the spring before it's crowded by people and the water gets dirty," Consolata said. "This in itself is such a cumbersome situation, but I have no other option. I have to do it on a daily basis."

And, unfortunately, even the children of Emulama aren't excused from water worry.

"In the evening after school, I am the one to go help my mother fetch the water to be used around the house," said nine-year-old Jotham A. (in the below photo).

"This means I cannot engage in playing with other children because by the time I finish fetching the water, it is usually very late. This is because of the trips I have to make to the spring and the long queue there. That means I have to wait for longer in order to get the water."

Increased collection time has also been shown to negatively affect the educational success of students, who report being late to school, lack of morale and ability to focus, and fatigue due to their water collection responsibilities. - Policy Futures in Education Journal 

An easily accessible protected spring with a water-gushing discharge pipe will significantly reduce the amount of time Emulama's people spend getting water, freeing up their minds and schedules for other, more productive (or playful!) tasks.

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

February, 2023: Emulama Community Spring Protection Complete!

Emulama Community now has access to clean water! We transformed Laban Andati Spring into a flowing source of naturally filtered water thanks to your donation. Our team also trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. Together, these components will unlock the opportunity for community members to live better, healthier lives.

"Before completion of the project, so many times I found insects, even sometimes inside the water. So many times I would get diarrhea, but I know now I can access safe and reliable water free from contamination," said farmer Consolata Andati.

Consolata fetching water.

Children were just as excited as adults about the new waterpoint.

Kabash at the protected spring.

"Before the construction of the water point, I would have to be early [to] the spring so [I would] be able to get clean water before everyone [would come] in and [it would] get dirty. Now, I can come in at any time because I know I will still find clean water," said nine-year-old Kabash A. "So many times, I was punished at school for being late. This was because I would go to the spring and find it already crowded, and it was a first-come, first-serve basis. But now I know [there will be] no more overcrowding. I hope to be early [to] school and catch up with my studies."

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 material-collection process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.

Community members helping.

When the community was ready, we sent a lorry to deliver the remaining construction materials, including cement, plastic tarps, and hardware. Then, our construction 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

First, we cleared and excavated the spring area. Next, we dug a drainage channel below the spring and several runoff diversion channels above and around the spring. These help to divert surface contaminants away.

To ensure community members could still access water throughout the construction process, we also dug temporary channels from the spring's eye around the construction site. This allowed water to flow without disrupting community members' tasks 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 establishing the base, we started brickwork to build the headwall, wing walls, and stairs. Once the walls had grown tall enough, we began one of the most crucial steps: setting the discharge pipe. The discharge pipe needs to be positioned low enough in the headwall so the water level never rises above the spring's eye, yet high enough to allow 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, backpressure could force water 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 stones on both sides of the spring's drainage channel. We then cemented and plastered each stone, forming the rub walls. These walls discourage people and animals from standing in that area, which could cause soil erosion and a clogged drainage area.

We then cemented and plastered 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 cured, 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.

The final stage of construction is backfilling the reservoir box behind the discharge pipe. We cleared the collection box of any debris that may have fallen during construction. 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 water through the discharge pipe only.

We filled up the reservoir area with the large, clean stones community members had gathered, arranging them in layers like a well-fitting puzzle. We covered the rocks with a thick plastic tarp to minimize potential contamination sources, then piled enough dirt on top to compensate for future settling.

Community members planting grass.

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. 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 the spring was ready, people got the okay from their local 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.

Training on Health, Hygiene, and More

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 and relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

When the day arrived, facilitators Mildred and Patience deployed to the site to lead the event. 32 people attended the training, including 26 women and six men. We held the training at a community member's home.

We covered several topics, including community participation in the project, leadership and governance, personal and environmental hygiene, water handling and treatment, spring maintenance, dental hygiene, the ten steps of handwashing, disease prevention, and how to make and use handwashing stations.


During the leadership and governance session, we held an election for the newly formed water user committee leaders, who will oversee the maintenance of the spring. We also brainstormed income-generating activities. Community members can now start a group savings account for any future minor repairs to the spring and a cooperative lending group, enabling them to develop small businesses.

The facilitators hosted a discussion on the topic of drugs, sex, and teenage pregnancies.

"It came out clearly that there was much to be done in matters concerning drugs, sex, and teenage pregnancies. Talking to children alone was not working. There needs to be training and even counseling sessions from qualified persons on this matter," said field officer Patience Njeri Wanyoni. "Children spoke and expressed the need to be taught and talked to on matters. Parents opened up on how hard it is to talk to children on such issues but made a promise to do better."

"I have always seen people selling liquid soap, and I have always been curious to know how to do that. I am glad now I have the knowledge and skills on the same. I hope to make this a side business and earn income from it," said Consolata, sharing about the soap-making session trainers provided.


This project required a substantial collaboration between our staff, our in-country teams, and the community members themselves. 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 their local field officers to assist them.

Also, we will continue to offer them unmatchable support as a part of our monitoring and maintenance program. We walk with each community, problem-solving together when they face challenges with functionality, seasonality, or water quality. Together, all these components help us strive for enduring access to reliable, clean, and safe water for this community.

With your contribution, one more piece has been added to a large puzzle of water projects. In our target areas, we’re working toward complete coverage of reliable, maintained water sources within a 30-minute round trip for each community, household, school, and health center. With this in mind, search through our upcoming projects to see which community you can help next!

Thank you for making all of this possible!

January, 2023: Emulama Community Spring Protection Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Emulama 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!

Thanks to Clean Water Stella has Time for Studying and Playing!

April, 2024

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

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Emulama 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!

Stella, 12, recalled what life was like in the Emulama Community before her community’s spring was protected last year.

"I once fell ill from diarrhea after consuming water from this spring. It was very difficult for me since I had to miss classes the whole week. The water was mostly contaminated because it was open even to animals," Stella shared.

Collecting water is now much safer and less stressful for Stella.

"I no longer fall sick from diarrhea because the spring is protected, unlike before. I have enough time to play with my friends. Apart from this, I also have time to read and revise my studies," she concluded.

Having ready access to water from the spring has made a difference for Stella, allowing her to relish the joys of her childhood. Water-related illnesses will no longer steal her time or future!

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 Emulama 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 Emulama 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.


Project Sponsor - Breakthrough Church