Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 500 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Jan 2018

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 02/21/2024

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

As early as 5 AM, the men in this village arise and milk the cows so that they can sell the milk at the market. The women do the house chores, make breakfast and lunch and then go to the fields to grow maize, beans and sweet potatoes. Ematiha's community members enjoy a special bond of unity and cooperation even in the midst of dry spells and major unemployment.

Water Situation

Ayubu Spring is currently contaminated by farming chemicals and animal and human waste dropped nearby. When it rains, these contaminants are washed into the spring. Still, the villagers as well as 1,300 children from the nearby school walk one to two kilometers each trip to this dirty water source. To get all of their cleaning and cooking done, women must make several trips to the spring. You can imagine the conflict that occurs regularly as this many people wait in line for long periods of time.

Community members have fixed a pipe to the spot from which they saw water flowing so that they can place their jerrycans underneath until full.

Mr. Robert Odembu told us that the "most affected are children who suffer from typhoid and diarrhea because they use water from this unprotected spring without boiling and treating it. Water handling is also another issue." Mr. Odembu is a teacher at Ewamakhumbi Primary School. Many of his students rely on Ayubu Spring for their water.

Sanitation Situation

Less than half of households have their own pit latrines. Anyone who doesn't have their own latrine either shares with their neighbor or uses the privacy of bushes. Most of the latrines we visited are smelly and do not provide privacy - just a tattered cloth hangs in the doorway.

Less than a quarter of households have helpful tools like dish racks and clotheslines to dry their belongings off the ground. There are absolutely no hand-washing stations, proving that these families do not know the importance of hand-washing in preventing illness. Bushes surround homes, which provide breeding ground for pests - especially mosquitos.

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.

Protecting this spring will result in increased water quality and water flow. Those living in Ematiha will thus be able to live happier, healthier lives as they efficiently fill their containers with clean water from Ayubu Spring.

Project Updates

July, 2020: COVID-19 Prevention Training Update at Ematiha Community, Ayubu 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 Shigali on left reviews the prevention reminders chart

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 Ematiha, Kenya.

We trained more than 14 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.

Trainers set up a tippy tap handwashing station and show how to use it

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.

Handwashing session

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.

Handwashing volunteer

"The participants agreed to make their own face masks using locally available materials, then wear them appropriately as one way of fighting Coronavirus. They also promised to make handwashing facilities using locally available materials the way they had been shown," recounted Trainer Shigali.

A young girl shows the COVID-19 informational pamphlet received at training

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.

Homemade face mask tutorial

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.

December, 2018: A Year Later: Ematiha Community

A year ago, your generous donation enabled us to protect Ayubu Spring for Ematiha Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local 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...

January, 2018: Ematiha Community Project Complete

Ayubu Spring in Ematiha 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

We worked with Mr. Ayubu to invite all of his neighbors to a training on water, hygiene and sanitation. He went from household to household, aiming to have at least one family representative each in attendance. We ended up meeting 23 participants at the spring, where construction was still ongoing. Mr. Ayubu did a good job getting both men and women to attend.

Training participants gathered for a group picture.

Two of our facilitators covered several topics, including 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, hygiene promotion, and many others.

The trainer talking about how to properly maintain the spring protection.

Demonstrations were some of the most popular parts of the training, with participants enjoying getting their hands involved. We did this with hand-washing, teaching the 10 steps of washing with soap and running water. And since we were already near the spring, we were able to teach about proper spring use, management, and simple maintenance.

The participants realized the importance of these practices and promised to teach their neighbors. Some of them have taken on the responsibility of promoting hygiene in their community, and promise to visit 10 different households to share what they learned. During home visits, they'll educate people on dish racks, compost pits, clotheslines, latrines, bathing shelters, cleanliness and nutrition among many other things.

Mrs. Velma Khavetsa admitted that she and her community weren't aware of the need to keep water clean. She said she "continued to consume dirty water that was kept in the pot for more than a week." Mrs. Khavestsa and the rest of her community now know that water should not be stored more than three days.

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 are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

Two children pose by the sanitation platform that will be used in their latrine.

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 we asked a few people to volunteer their time and strength to help the artisan with manual labor.

Excavating the spring eye

The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of polyethylene, wire mesh and concrete. After the base had been set, both wing walls and the headwall 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.

Building up the walls

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.

Sealing the spring box

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 polyethylene membrane to eliminate any potential sources of contamination. Community members then helped us plant grass and dig cutoff drains to direct surface water away from the spring box.

A woman washing out her bucket before fetching clean water.

The officer in charge met community members at the finished spring to celebrate clean water. They sang songs of thankfulness as they fetched their first containers of clean water. 75-year-old village elder, Daniel Omusikoye was there too: "On behalf of this community we thank God for the great support given towards protection of Ayubu Spring, since community members are accessing clean and safe water. This has already attracted neighboring communities who are so mesmerized with the fine work done at the spring, and wish the same could occur in their villages."

November, 2017: Ematiha Community Project Underway

Ematiha Community will soon have a clean, safe source of water thanks to your donation. Community members have been drinking contaminated water from Ayuba 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 maps.

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: Ematiha Community

November, 2018

Community members have taken it upon themselves to spread the lessons they learned about hygiene and sanitation, reaching more than 50 households with information that is changing lives.

Keeping The Water Promise

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

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Ematiha Community, Ayubu Spring 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, your generous donation enabled us to protect Ayubu Spring for Ematiha Community in Kenya. The contributions of incredible monthly donors and others giving directly to The Water Promise allow our local 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 local team member Karen Maruti with you.

It is evident that the protection of Ayubu Spring has attracted more people from the surrounding villages. It is proof positive that the spring protection is making a difference for the people here. We visited the spring recently to speak with people about the impact it's had on their lives.

"We no longer have long queues at the spring waiting for the water to clear before we fetch," said Velma Anjeche to us.

Velma Anjeche

She also reported that families are experiencing fewer cases of waterborne illness, especially in her own household. This is possible thanks to the spring protection and the accompanying training that taught community members how to avoid contaminating the water and how to improve sanitation and hygiene at their homes.

After the training, the Community Health Resource Volunteers went out to reach other people within the community with information about good hygiene and health. They each targeted 10 households and and currently report that at least 50 households have been trained in the past year. This has enhanced good health and hygiene practices within this community.

As we entered the village this hard work and dedication was evident within clean compounds that have dish racks and clotheslines in place. We also observed improvised leaky tins for handwashing and improved latrines throughout the community.

"We are so grateful, God bless you all," Ms. Anjeche said to us.

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 project in Ematiha Community is changing many lives.

We also met Mercy Amonyole, a 12 year old girl who attends the nearby Eshilakwe Primary School, which also benefited from one of our projects over the past year. She told us how she now has clean water at both home and school thanks to this spring protection and a rainwater tank.

High-fives for Field Officer Karen Maruti and Mercy Amonyole

"I want to say that we no longer have numerous challenges. They lie in the past when we had no safe water source," Mercy said.

"I am the happiest person."

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 Ematiha Community, Ayubu Spring 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 Ematiha Community, Ayubu Spring – 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.


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