Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 180 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2017

Functionality Status:  Water Flowing - Needs Attention

Last Checkup: 02/06/2024

Project Features

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Community Profile

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

Very few men can be found in the village during working hours. Many men leave their homes to go attend their businesses in the nearby town. Most are motorcycle drivers, taxiing customers from place to place. The women care for the farms and do other household chores. The majority of families have small farms coupled with small business enterprises, selling their surplus produce. Men and women also look for odd manual labor jobs to supplement their income.

This is a close-knit community, with each member looking out for the other. Theft and other crimes are kept at a minimum because of these peoples' unity.

Water Situation

Those living in Emakaka rely on Abdi Kagunza Spring for all of their water needs. The spring is named after the landowner, Abdi Kagunza himself.

This spring looks like a pond out in the middle of a grassy field. The steep edges of the spring get very muddy, falling off and further muddying the water. Since this source is unprotected, it is open to many different sources of contamination. There are even latrines constructed nearby, along with farms that use fertilizers and chemicals on their crops. The water is dirtiest after the rains that wash feces, chemicals, and other waste into the water.

Community members bring their 20-liter jerrycan and a smaller jug with which to fill them. This jug is continuously dunked under the water to fill the jerrycan. Once carried back home, water remains in the 20-liter jerrycan because families can't afford any other types of water storage. The water is used for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and watering the small farms. This dirty water causes stomachaches and diarrhea, especially among the young children and elderly.

As Mr. Abdi Kagunza drew water from this spring, he told us "For a long time, this community has been drawing water from this unprotected spring that has been the cause of waterborne diseases. We are happy that soon, this spring will be protected. We shall do all it takes to make sure that we have the spring protected!"

Sanitation Situation

Less than a quarter of households have their own pit latrine. This is because the majority of families are sharing with their neighbor. Because of the high number of people using each latrine, most of the community's latrines are full. Children are allowed to relieve themselves whenever and wherever they want.

There are no hand-washing stations here, and only a few helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines. Most garbage is thrown nearby gardens and farms so that it can decompose into fertilizer.

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. Community members are extremely excited for construction to begin; they all remember fetching water from Abdi Kagunza Spring since they were children.

Project Updates

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Abdi Kagunza Spring

Our teams are working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in our fight against the virus while maintaining access to clean, reliable water.

We are carrying out awareness and prevention trainings on the virus in every community we serve. Very often, our teams are the first (and only) to bring news and information of the virus to rural communities like Emakaka, Kenya.

We trained community members on the symptoms, transmission routes, and prevention of COVID-19. Due to public gathering concerns, we worked with trusted community leaders to gather a select group of community members who would then relay the information learned to the rest of their family and friends.

We covered essential hygiene lessons:

- Demonstrations on how to build a simple handwashing station

- Proper handwashing technique

- The importance of using soap and clean water for handwashing

- Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces including at the water point.

We covered COVID-19-specific guidance in line with national and international standards:

- Information on the symptoms and transmission routes of COVID-19

- What social distancing is and how to practice it

- How to cough into an elbow

- Alternative ways to greet people without handshakes, fist bumps, etc.

- How to make and properly wear a facemask.

During training, we installed a new handwashing station with soap near the community’s water point, along with a sign with reminders of what we covered.

Due to the rampant spread of misinformation about COVID-19, we also dedicated time to a question and answer session to help debunk rumors about the disease and provide extra information where needed.

We continue to stay in touch with this community as the pandemic progresses. We want to ensure their water point remains functional and their community stays informed about the virus.

Water access, sanitation, and hygiene are at the crux of disease prevention. You can directly support our work on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention in all of the communities we serve while maintaining their access to safe, clean, and reliable water.

September, 2018: A Year Later: Emakaka Community

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Abdi Kagunza Spring for Emakaka Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories. Read more...

July, 2017: Emakaka Community Project Complete

Abdi Kagunza Spring in Emakaka Community, 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, want to do a bit more? 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 in Jescah Analo's front yard, where there is plenty of shade for people to sit. Since many community members were already involved in construction to protect the spring, we were easily able to plan training to be at a convenient time for all. Attendance was good, with both men and women actively participating in each session.

2 kenya4713 training

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, watering animals, farming with fertilizers, and open defecation in the vicinity.

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Discussing solar disinfection for drinking water.

We brought poster paper and illustrations that facilitated discussion on healthy and unhealthy behaviors. Group discussions were also very effective in helping participants take responsibility for what they were learning.

This is a very vibrant community that is focused on improving their economic lives. We observed this during the training because they were so interested in knowing how the organization can support community projects. They are interested in keeping poultry and growing cash crops to improve their lives and sustain their families.

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Brainstorming and listing out potential water contaminants.

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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One of the five sanitation platforms given to families in need of latrines.

Project Result: Spring Protection

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, e.g bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, wheelbarrows of ballast, fencing poles and hard core (crushed rock and gravel). Accommodation and food for the artisan were provided and a few people volunteered their services as laborers.

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A man shoulders heavy stones to help our artisan protect the spring.

The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of polythene, wire mesh and concrete. After the base had been set, both wing walls and the head wall were set in place using brickwork. The discharge pipe was fixed low in place through the head wall to direct the water from the reservoir to the drawing area.

15 kenya4713 construction

As the wing walls and head wall were curing, the stairs were set and the tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. This reduces the erosive force of the falling water and beautifies the spring. The process of plastering the head wall and wing walls on both sides reinforces the brickwork and prevents water from the reservoir from seeping through the walls and allows pressure to build in the collection box to push water up through the discharge pipe.  Lastly, the base of the spring was plastered and the collection box was cleaned. The source area was filled up with clean hardcore and covered with a polythene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination. Finally, grass was planted and cutoff drains dug to direct surface water away from the spring box.

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The artisan using large stones to fortify the spring walls.

The only challenge was that our artisan got sick for a few days in the middle of the project, so construction was delayed. Despite this, community members remained motivated and worked hard to see Abdi Kagunza Spring transformed. Abdi Kagunza, the landowner himself, said "We are very happy that our spring has been protected and we no longer have to worry about open sources of water pollution."

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: Emakaka Community

September, 2018

The protected spring is helping make life easier for people living in Emakaka Community.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Emakaka 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!

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Abdi Kagunza Spring for Emakaka Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow teams to visit project sites throughout the year, strengthening relationships with communities and evaluating the water project over time. These consistent visits allow us to learn vital lessons and hear amazing stories – and we’re excited to share this one from John Were with you.

"Before the spring was protected, fetching water used to be a tedious and stressful process," Emelda Marcos, secretary of the water user committee, said.

"Since the spring was protected, we do not have to worry about the long evening queues at the spring."

The spring protection is also having positive health impacts on the community. People are living healthier lives due to the availability of clean water, the installtion of new sanitation platforms, and the hygiene training that took place as a part of the spring protection.

Emelda Marcos

Protection of the spring is only one step along the journey toward sustainable access to clean water. The Water Project is committed to consistent monitoring of each water source. Our monitoring and evaluation program, made possible by donors like you, allows us to maintain our relationships with communities by visiting up to 4 times each year to ensure that the water points are safe and reliable.

This is just one of the many ways that we monitor projects and communicate with you. Additionally, you can always check the functionality status and our project map to see how all of our water points are performing, based on our consistent monitoring data.

One project is just a drop in the bucket towards ending the global water crisis, but the ripple effects of this project are truly astounding. This spring in Emakaka is changing many lives.

"The spring is really helping us especially now that our hand-dug well is dry. We are able to fetch water and help our parents with the household chores like washing dishes," 12-year-old Emmanuel Ondere said.

Emmanuel Ondere

This is only possible because of the web of support and trust built between The Water Project, our local teams, the community, and you. We are excited to stay in touch with this community and support their journey with safe water.

Read more about The Water Promise and how you can help.

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 Emakaka 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 Emakaka 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.


Glacier Hills Elementary School of Art and Science -4th graders 2017
Christmas Caroling-Ellisa Rausch
8 individual donor(s)