Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 112 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jul 2017

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/07/2024

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

This region is inhabited by the Wanga sub-tribe of the Luhya Community. Some of these people practice small scale farming of food crops such as maize, but a good number focus on growing sugarcane to sell to a local sugar factory.

Water Situation

Omar Sakwa Spring was discovered when we were doing a project at Eshiakhulo Primary School. We interviewed students and learned that though a rainwater catchment tank would be great to have on school grounds, they were still returning home and having to use the dirty water from this spring.

The people of Eshiakhulo Village wake up early each morning, and the first thing they do is walk to fetch water. That’s difficult enough if it’s clean water they’re collecting. But, it’s not. It’s dirty water from an unprotected spring.

Locals have fixed a short pipe into the eye of the spring so that it directs water into their buckets and jerrycans.

Regular and numerous cases of diarrhea from this water result in lost income, lost school time, medicinal expenses and needless suffering.

Omar Sakwa Spring serves 16 households with 112 people who use the water for drinking, irrigation purposes, and household chores. "People in this community suffer a lot from diarrhea and typhoid due to drinking contaminated water at the spring. We will really appreciate if you help us protect it," stated Mr. Sakwa.

Sanitation Situation

Less than half of the homes here have their own pit latrine. Most of these don't have doors for privacy. Logs are suspended over the pit inside, and users have to balance on them while they relieve themselves. Because of these low numbers and poor conditions, open defecation is a big issue in Eshiakhulo Community. These latrines are especially difficult for the young and old to use, and they most commonly prefer using the privacy of bushes.

There are a no hand-washing stations, and only a few homes have helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines. Garbage is disposed of by the kitchen garden, making that area very smelly. Mr. Sakwa told us that "most of the people in this area do not wash their hands after using latrines, and they go on to cook with the same dirty hands, then later on their families start suffering from diarrhea."

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, and trainers will teach community members how to keep that water clean until it's used.

Project Updates

June, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Eshiakhulo Community, Omar Sakwa 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.

Trainer emphasizes contactless greetings like waving

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 Eshiakhulo, Kenya.

Demonstrating how to use the elbow for coughs and sneezes

We trained more than 24 people 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.

Handwashing lesson

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.

Repeating the handwashing steps

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.

Repeating handwashing steps

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.

Reviewing prevention reminders chart

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.

Reading through an informational pamphlet on COVID-19

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.

Participants observe social distancing

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.

October, 2018: A Year Later: Eshiakhulo Community

A year ago, generous donors helped protect Omar Sakwa Spring for Eshiakhulo 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: Eshiakhulo Community Project Complete

Omar Sakwa Spring in Eshiakhulo 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 outside under the shade of a tree. Mr. Omar Sakwa, the landowner, walked around Eshiakhulo telling everyone about this spring protection project and the training to be held for two days. He urged them to make time for this training, to learn about various health and hygiene issues and also how to manage and maintain Omar Sakwa Spring.

10 participants attended on behalf of their households, all who actively participated and discussed topics with the trainer.

4 kenya4714 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.

Mr. Sakwa said, "The efforts of The Water Project have not only brought us many sanitation platforms, but also the new technique of water purification that is very cost effective to most of us. We know this could not have been possible without sacrifices... Thank you for the quality training, more for the concept of solar disinfection of drinking water."

2 kenya4714 training

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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Two beneficiaries proudly stand behind their new sanitation platform.

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.

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.

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The artisan is packing the area behind the spring with different materials that filter the flowing water.

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.

10 kenya4714 construction


The fact that only five sanitation platforms are constructed for each project actually presented the biggest challenge here. When it came to spring construction and collecting the sand and stones needed, several locals refused to help. They justified this by mentioning how they did not receive sanitation platforms, while their neighbor did. These facts are sometimes difficult to handle when everyone in a community is in great need; our leadership had to convince people that not helping protect the spring would only hurt them in the long run. After these discussions, many more community members were motivated to help bring clean water to Eshiakhulo.

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Mr. Omar Sakwa lets clean water from Omar Sakwa Spring run over his hands.

People were there waiting with their containers immediately as the spring was finished. Mrs. Afimin Malala is 73 years old and has been drinking from contaminated sources her entire life. She said, "Am glad we as a community are going to get access to safe drinking water and l believe there will be minimal reports about waterborne diseases... This spring which will serve us well."

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: Eshiakhulo Community

September, 2018

Community members, like Omar Sakwa, used to fetch dirty water before the protection of the spring. He now has access to clean water for drinking and a reliable source to irrigate his farm.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Eshiakhulo 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 Omar Sakwa Spring for Eshiakhulo 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 Faith Muthama with you.

The lives of people using Omar Sakwa Spring have really changed over the past year, especially in terms of sanitation and hygiene. Initially, they used to fetch dirty water and since the spring protection was done they now access safe, clean drinking water. It has led to a reduction in waterborne diseases in this community.

"Now we are able to access to safe, clean drinking water from our protected spring and we are very happy," Omar Sakwa said.

Asher Were and Omar Sakwa

Also, the members of the community use the water from the spring to irrigate their vegetables in their farms, which are now growing healthy due to a lot of water coming from the spring.

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.

Asher Were

"Since the project was completed, l have experienced minimal cases of waterborne diseases," 15-year-old Asher Were said.

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.

A picture from our most recent monitoring visit to Eshiakhulo Community.

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 Eshiakhulo is changing many lives.

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 Eshiakhulo 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 Eshiakhulo 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.