Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Project Phase:  Raising Funds
Estimated Install Date (?):  February 2024

Project Features

Click icons to learn about each feature.

Donate to this Project

Unprotected Otota Spring is the primary water source for the 210 community members who live in Eshiambale, but the spring is difficult to access, especially during the rainy season, and its water is contaminated.

"Accessing the water point is difficult for me at this age," said 58-year-old businessman Jacob Ambetsa, shown below at the spring. "Most of the time, I have been depending on my children to do it for me after school since I don't have money to hire someone. This is also not safe for them because sometimes they arrive from school very late in the evening, forcing us to stay without water 'til the next day in the morning."

"The water source used by [the] community members is located on a gradual slope in the middle of a depression, and [it] also [is] surrounded by sugarcane plantations, making it difficult to access," said our field officer, Joyce Naliaka.

Due to the water point being far away, people waste a lot of time going there. Once they arrive, they waste even more time waiting in long lines for their turn to draw water because collecting it is a slow, tedious process. Individuals wade into the large pool of water created by the spring overflow and lay their containers down to try and collect the stream of water. Then once their containers are full and heavy, they must climb back up the embankment to start their journey home.

According to community members, most of them have suffered from waterborne diseases as a result of drinking unsafe water, forcing them to use the little income they have to seek treatment.

"I usually go to fetch water in the evening after school. I am usually exhausted, and queueing at the water point makes it worse. Most of the time, I find the water dirty as many people have drawn from it, which also affects our health as a family. Going to fetch that late is always very risky, too, since the water point is surrounded by sugarcane plantations," said 11-year-old Saumu N., shown above at the spring.

"The community is faced with various challenges regarding water. If only they could find a lasting solution, then [I] am crystal sure that most of them will have their lives changed for good," concluded Joyce.

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 training, 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.

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.

We're just getting started, check back soon!

Project Photos

Project Type

Protected Spring

In many communities, natural springs exist as water flows from cracks in rocky ground or the side of a hill.  Springs provide reliable water but that doesn’t mean safe. When left open they become contaminated by surface contamination, animal and human waste and rain runoff. The solution is to protect the source. First, you excavate around the exact source area of the spring. Then, you build a protective reservoir for water flow, which pours through a reinforced pipe in a concrete headwall to a paved collection area. Safe water typically flows year-round and there is very limited ongoing maintenance needed!