Village Water have provided 396 communities with water and sanitation, 29 schools with pit latrines, bath shelters and hand washing facilities and 140 schools with hygiene education thus helping over 125,000 people in Zambia!
The Zambia National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme indicates that only 37% of the rural population has access to clean water and 13% has access to sanitation facilities. In accordance with the Millennium Development Goals, the Zambian Government has set itself the target of halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. In rural areas of Zambia this means ensuring that 75% of the Zambian population have access to clean water and 50% have access to sanitation. Village Water is working in partnership with the Local Government in Western Province to make this a reality.
The task of collecting water in 20 litre plastic containers and buckets falls on women and children and often takes hours. A local source of water gives village women the time to create their own local enterprise, and children the time to attend school. As more money is made through these enterprises, families are able to pay for medicines and an education for their children.
Village Water field workers
Key to Village Water's projects is the groundwork carried out by professional community workers who help villagers organise a Village Water and Sanitation Committee. Through this committee each village takes ownership of the well and pump, and the ability to fund the running costs. This focus on ownership rather than dependence is essential for sustainability. The process that has been found to work is as follows:
- They use donated cement and other materials, and volunteer their own labour.
- A hand washing facility is installed at the exit of each latrine.
- Village Water uses local knowledge and skilled volunteers to locate the underground water supply, and local contractors to dig the well. Then the pump is installed.
- Two villagers (one man and one woman) are trained as pump minders for maintenance of the well. Semi-professional pump minders are also on hand to fix more technical problems. The monthly subscription system, set up by the village members when the well is installed, pays for any repairs (about 10 pence per working adult per month).
- The treasurer collects small monthly donations from each working adult. This empowers them to fund spare parts and keep the pump in good repair.