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Location: Kenya

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 322 Served

Project Phase:  Installed

Functionality Status:  Functional

Community Profile & Stories

This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).

Welcome to the Community

In the land of gold and rock mining, shrubby Eluhobe Village is filled with inhabitants who struggle to live hand to mouth. Their busy days are characterized with making bricks, fetching water, mining gold, and traveling to distant places that are as far as Lwanda (five kilometers away) to work on farms. Others get money by carrying people from one destination to another on their motorbikes.

People’s small pieces of land have been tilled so much that they get very little produce. Mr. Makutwa feels that his people are languishing in poverty due to ignorance and a lack of enough money to support their farming. “We have dirty water from Lusumu River passing near our village, if we are helped to get… water then no hunger will be experienced here. But look at our farms, well-tilled but we can’t plant anything until rain comes, yet the meteorologists say on media that we shall have rains in March. How long shall we continue begging when we have the natural resource with us?” he lamented. Most families have already depleted the harvest from last season. They are now waiting for the rains in order to plant again. Most men go to the Esibuye Market Center every evening to pass time, while women run up and down to ensure their families get a meal before bedtime. This is what a normal day looks like in this village!

Water Situation

Nearby Lusumu River, there’s Amadi Spring. Amadi Spring is in a thicket of shrubs, and is a pool of grimy water drawn by local people from all walks of life. For ages, families have fetched from this natural spring, subjecting themselves to many contaminants ranging from human waste to eroded soil. One after another, people come here carrying a big container with another small one to help draw this mucky water. Moldy leaves, sticks and all other kinds of filth are seen floating in the water.

“Occasionally, people defecate here because there are days we get feces inside water and from time to time, animals that come to directly drink from this point drop their dung in or around the source; therefore we just drink this water and use it for cooking because we have no choice but sincerely speaking it is very perilous. A considerable number of people have been found urinating in the water, and animals do the same. Besides, people come to bathe at the spring and they become so defensive when cautioned against it therefore we decide to keep quiet but it doesn’t mean we don’t get peeved by their actions. For a grownup to persistently shower here and continue even after being rebuked, it means they have an evil motive. No wonder we have so many cases of diarrhea in this area,” Mr. Dickson Makutwa explained. Wild animals, especially snakes, have been found at the spring on several occasions meaning that they also drink this water, thus endangering people’s lives.

When the water gets dirty and brown with soil, people have to wait for it to settle before drawing, and this has led to family fights. Men fall out with their wives, accusing them of taking too long to get water. Those who frequently nitpick take it as an opportunity to carp at their wives and reproach them for failing to rush from the river and prepare food in time. Some even allege that their wives go to see other men on their way to the spring.

Sanitation Situation

Most latrine floors here are made of worn out wooden boards, and mud or tent porous walls and broken doors or no doors at all. Users do not get the privacy required. Most of the latrines are smelly with feces smeared around the squat hole, and their roofs are set too low for medium to tall people.

Garbage is carelessly spread around the garden, and a few homes have clotheslines. The rest of the families air clothes on the ground, on the hedges and on the rooftops. Having a hygiene training will be a very good platform to educate this community on the importance of hanging clothes on wire lines to prevent diseases and infections.

Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training

Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least two days. This training will ensure participants are no longer ignorant about healthy practices and their importance. The facilitator plans to use PHAST (Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation), CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation), ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development), group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring.

Training will also result in the formation of a committee that will oversee operations and maintenance at the spring. They 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.

Plans: Sanitation Platforms

On the final day of training, participants will select five families that should benefit from new latrines.

Training will also inform the community and selected families on what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, such as bricks, clean sand, hardcore, and ballast. The five families must prepare by sinking a pit for the sanitation platforms to be placed over. All community members must work together to make sure that accommodations and food are always provided for the work teams.

Plans: Spring Protection

Fetching water is predominantly a female role, done by both women and young girls. Protecting the spring and offering training and support will therefore help empower the female members of the community by giving them more time and efforts to engage and invest in income-generating activities.

In addition, protecting the spring will ensure that the water is safe, adequate and secure. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water.

Recent Project Updates

05/15/2017: Eluhobe Community Project Complete

Amadi Spring in Eluhobe, Kenya is now a protected, clean source of water thanks to your donation. The spring is protected from contamination, five sanitation platforms have been provided for the community, and training has been given in sanitation and hygiene. Imagine the changes that all of these resources are going to bring for these residents! You made it happen, now help keep the water flowing! Join our team of monthly donors and help us maintain this spring protection and many other projects.

We just updated the project page with the latest pictures, so make sure to check them out! And please enjoy the rest of the report from our partner in Kenya:

Project Result: New Knowledge

Hygiene and sanitation training was held at Mr. Andrew Nyanje’s compound. His home was large enough for everyone to sit comfortably, with a table set up as a board for hanging flip charts.

Village Elder Andrew convened a meeting where he told every household that they must have at least one representative at the training. He was there on the first day of training to make sure everyone met his request; he phoned whichever households weren’t represented, and everyone showed within two hours! There was a total of 25 participants, some adults and some children. The children were particularly excited to be there.

9 kenya4710 Mr. Dickson Makutwa a participant comments on health conditions in the community

Training topics included but were not limited to leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; the spread of disease and prevention. We also covered water treatment methods, environmental hygiene, and hygiene promotion. We also took a session to emphasize proper maintenance of the spring protection project. The community should refrain from washing clothes, water animals, farming with fertilizers, and open defecation in the vicinity.

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Hand-washing was the highlight of the sessions on disease prevention, since it is provably the best way of building a barrier between a person and dangerous germs.

By the end of the two days, participants formed a water and sanitation committee to oversee and maintain the spring protection. Other participants were equipped with the knowledge to become community health workers. These workers will be responsible for sharing what they learned with the rest of their community by making door-to-door visits. They will continue to keep their neighbors accountable so that the entire community can experience improved health.

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The evening of the final day, participants had already begun building clotheslines, dish racks, and compost pits at their homes. Andrea Nyanje, a local mason, was one of the participants. “We usually brag that elderly people with a lot of experience in life like me have a lot of knowledge, but today I’m convinced that there is a lot I still need to learn. You have taught us so many things that I had no idea of, especially on causes of some common diseases. I invite you to visit us again; I just feel you should continue talking and teaching us many more things that we do not know,” he said.

8 kenya4710 Andrea Nyanje a community member

Project Result: Sanitation Platforms

All five sanitation platforms have been installed and are ready for use. These five families are happy about this milestone and are optimistic that there will be much less open defecation. People without proper latrines would often use the privacy of bushes, but now have a private place of their own. It is expected that proper use of latrine facilities provided by the sanitation platforms will go a long way in reducing environmental pollution here. We will continue to encourage these five families to build walls and roofs to protect their new platforms.

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Project Result: Spring Protection

The community prepared for construction by gathering the local materials and delivering them to the spring. These included ballast, hardcore, sand, and bricks. Some of the women even prepared meals for our artisan.

30 kenya4710 WEWASAFO staff leading the children in transporting hardcore

Due to rampant theft in this area, the construction materials could not be left on the site. Therefore these materials were kept in one of the homes. These materials had to be carried to the site every day, and the community was afraid of bringing too much because they did not want any material to stay outside overnight. Since parents were busy trying to put food on the table, they sent their children to do this transportation work.

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At one point, the artisan ran out of materials at the spring and needed to fetch more from the home. But they couldn’t get back in, because the homeowner and his wife had left and locked the door. All adults in the village had gone to vote with the aim of returning very fast to help out in fetching materials to the site, but little did they know that there would be delays with the ballot papers. The homeowner’s phone was off, and the person sent to look for him at the polling station did not find him. Therefore, people just had to wait until the time he reported back to the house late that day.

13 kenya4710 children get local materials covered by the flooding waters

Rainfall is a blessing in other areas, but it wasn’t for Eluhobe’s villagers. The heavy rains caused floods and the second day’s construction was delayed because the whole of Amadi Spring was flooded. Water from the nearby river got into the spring through the drainage channel, and three hours were spent digging drainage.

Our artisan arrived to direct the excavation of the spring area to create a level ground for setting and casting the foundation slab. This foundation is built using wire mesh, concrete and waterproof cement. During this process, the spring water is diverted to flow to the sides to avoid interference with cement work.

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After the foundation has settled, the brick work for both wing walls and the head wall are done. These walls trap head waters and direct them towards the collection source. This builds enough pressure to raise the water to the discharge pipe fitted in the wall. As the bricks dry, staircases are made using concrete and bricks, and the basement foundation walls are constructed using hardcore, cement and sand. Tiles are then fitted on the spring floor to provide erosion resistance from the discharge pipe’s water. The brick is then plastered to finish both sides and further reinforce them against pressure.

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The collection source is then excavated and cleaned to remove any mud, and is redirected. The area behind the wall is then packed with hardcore that acts as a filter, and then covered with a polythene membrane to stop any external contamination. Finally, trenches are dug to direct sources of contamination away from the spring.

Now that Amadi Spring is protected, a 20-liter container can be filled with clean water in just 1 minute and 20 seconds. Josephine Sabela was there to fetch water as soon as possible. “We count ourselves blessed to have received such great support. I’m lost for words. What more can I say, other than pleading with God to bless you and your generations because you have brought a solution to our village!”

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03/16/2017: Eluhobe Community Project Underway

We are excited to share that work in Eluhobe Community has begun. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Amadi Spring, and often suffer physical illnesses after doing so. Our partner conducted a survey of the area and deemed it necessary to protect the spring, build new sanitation platforms (safe, easy-to-clean concrete floors for latrines), and conduct sanitation and hygiene training. Thanks to your generosity, waterborne disease will no longer be a challenge for the families drinking the spring’s water. We look forward to sharing more details with you as they come! But for now, please take some time to check out the report containing community information, pictures, and GPS coordinates. Check out the tabs above to read more about this project!

The Water Project and Eluhobe Community Thank You for giving the hope of clean water and good health.

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Explore More of The Project

Project Photos

Monitoring Data

Project Type:  Protected Spring
Location:  Vihiga, Eumhaya, Bunyore, Ematsuli, Eluhobe
ProjectID: 4710
Install Date:  05/15/2017

Monitoring Data
Water Point:
Last Visit: 12/05/2017

Visit History:
12/05/2017 — Functional


Girl Scout Troop 2473
PS 89
Datanyze, Inc.
Peoria Nazarene Church
15 individual donor(s)

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Country Details


Population: 39.8 Million
Lacking clean water: 43%
Below poverty line: 50%

Partner Profile

Western Water and Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO) works together with less privileged and marginalized members of communities in Western Kenya to reduce poverty through harnessing and utilization of local resources for sustainable development.