We believe that one of the greatest differences we can make in Africa is in providing sustainable access to clean water. As you read the real-life success stories below, you will understand why and how we undertake our water projects, and you will also discover how you can help to save and improve lives through the gift of clean water.
Because there is a lack of clean water in many rural villages in Africa, diseases transmitted through unclean water are a leading cause of preventable illness and premature deaths, with children being particularly vulnerable. According to the World Health Organization, nearly a million people die each year as a result of unsafe drinking water, with about half of those being children, whose deaths are preventable. In addition, during the dry season, hundreds of collective hours can be spent each week in transporting this unclean water, by hand, from surface water sources such as rivers and swamps to the villages; this same time could be spent doing more productive activities, such as attending school or growing crops.
The partnership effort to install a well in each village immediately improves the health and well-being of everyone in the village, even saving lives. In addition to health benefits and resulting in increased productivity, the local water source allows for a reallocation of time toward more productive activities, as well as allowing for the cultivation of vegetable crops throughout the year through irrigation. It can also provide a source of revenue that will be used to increase the quality of life in the village, including education, medical care, and access to technology.
MORE THAN WATER?
Yes, clean water makes an extraordinary difference from the moment the first bucket of water is pumped. But as we have worked in partnership with the communities it has become very evident to us that it isn’t just about water. It is about participatory community development, empowerment, and sustainability, all based on sharing concepts of self-reliance, economic cooperation, and proactive improvement for the common good of all members within the village. That’s why our community development system is so vital to the success of every water project. Before we take any steps to dig or drill a well, the community must first take steps toward organizing their Water and Sanitation Committee, and they must appoint a treasurer and secretary who will oversee the collection of a Well Fund, which is kept in the community exclusively for the purpose of maintaining the water system after we have installed it. Four men and four women are appointed to be trained on the complete disassembly, reassembly, and repair of the AIS-Initiatives Save-us project hand pump, so when a breakdown occurs, there is found within the community the knowledge, ability, and money to immediately undertake the repair. Not only does this ensure that the well will be able to sustain the water needs of the community over time, it is a springboard to other development within the community, based on economic cooperation and functioning service committees.
WHAT IS CLEAN WATER WELL?
Clean groundwater can be obtained in villages with a hand-dug well or with a borehole well. Hand-dug wells are holes in the ground that have been dug with tools to a maximum depth of 40′, then finished off by lining with concrete culverts and covering with a pad and hand pump. When the water table is too deep to reach by hand digging a borehole is required to access clean water. Boreholes are drilled deep into the ground (85+ meters) using motorized equipment, in the location that hydrogeological surveying indicated was likely to contain underground water. Pipes are then installed into the hole to protect the water, a concrete pad is installed over the hole, and a hand pump is installed to allow clean water to be brought to the surface. The team has experience with boreholes and hand-dug wells and has a trusted network of water contractors on call for when funds are ready for the next project.
HOW WE WORK:
We are always prepared to undertake the next water project, and invite sponsors, like you, to contribute to financing as many clean water wells as possible! The process of bringing clean water to rural villages in Africa through costs about $7,000 per borehole (Ghana or Nigeria), or $3,000 per hand-dug well (Liberia). Either option includes: hydrogeological surveying to determine the location of groundwater
transport of rig and drilling of borehole or hand digging the well
installation of pipes, walls, foundation and hand pump
training of village water committees on how to use and maintain the pump
community development training focusing on economic cooperation and self-reliance
hygiene and sanitation training
on-site project supervision
post-installation follow-up and community development training
and all labor and materials
It is helpful to look at the cost broken down by benefit over time. For example, in a village where a $3,000 water project is installed that will provide water for more than 150 people for the next 10 years.
HOW YOU CAN BRING WATER TO THE PEOPLE:
Here’s the deal. You – your classroom, your office, your family, your neighborhood – YOU can make a difference. Partner with us to sponsor a water project. It is easier than you may think. Get involved to help children and raise awareness for clean water.
© Photo by Pierre Holtz