Wells for Burkina Faso
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Upon completion of the project, our partner in the field reports…
The LWI Burkina Faso team members stated, “Bagnire represents the poorest of the poor, remote and forgotten by the rest of the world. For centuries, since the time of their ancestors, they have been drinking dirty water from rainfall runoff in the creek and from holes in the ground.” The people of the village of Bagnire depend on survival farming for their livelihood. When the LWI Burkina Faso team arrived, community members were utilizing an open river located half of a kilometer away from the community to meet all of their water needs. Because of this and the community’s practice of open defecation families were left suffering from dysentery, malaria, diarrhea and other preventable water related illnesses. During the teams’ stay a water committee of six men and two women assisted the team with the water project and provided any available materials for the water project. The water committee is also responsible for collecting an annual well maintenance fee of $1 per family to help sustain the community’s water source. In keeping with our Strategic Plan launched in January of 2011, LWI’s plan is to train communities to maintain water projects for sustainability. If communities slip back into a situation where they must rely on unimproved water sources, our donors’ investment is compromised. To help prevent this occurrence, Living Water International engages communities to help in planning, managing and monitoring of the rural water supply. The nearest school is located five kilometers away from the community and now students, teachers and administrative personnel all have access to safe, clean drinking water. Before leaving the community the LWI Burkina Faso provided community member Paulin Somda with a LWI contact number in case the well were to fall into disrepair, become subject to vandalism or theft. In an effort to ensure project sustainability, LWI program staff is also responsible for visiting the well site annually.
The LWI Burkina Faso team had the opportunity to meet with sixty-five year old Farmer/Village Chief, Kamboule Teobar, who stated, “While we sat in Bagnire, we saw the church spread from Sarba to our village. And, we thought that one day the church would come and help deliver us from our problems. The children and young people started to pray and attend the services, and now we have a new well. You came and discovered that we had a problem with a lack of water in our village. It is very difficult to find sufficient water to meet all of our needs. The women of each family have to arrive at the only hand dug well very early in the morning to get only a little water to drink and do all their work. Others have to travel to the creek to get dirty water, and others travel far to neighboring villages to find water. We don’t have a problem with enough food, but every year we had the problem of not enough water. We want to thank you but we have nothing to offer you but our thanks. Thank you very much!”
During the hygiene education, the LWI Burkina Faso team addresses: Hand washing, how to properly transport and store water, disease transmission and prevention, how to maintain proper care of the pump, as well as signs and symptoms of dehydration and how to make Oral Rehydration Solution. All of these lessons are taught in a participatory method to help community members discover ways to improve their hygiene and sanitation choices, and implement community driven solutions.
According to the latest UNDP report, Burkina Faso is ranked 161st out of 169 countries with comparable date in the United Nations Human Development Index. Poverty is pervasive throughout the country, and recent challenges such as outbreaks of meningitis, yellow fever, and cholera, as well as civil conflict in neighboring Côte d'Ivoire, have only added to the extreme vulnerability of the Burkinabe people.
Only about 72% of Burkina's primary school-age children are enrolled in primary school due to the costs of school supplies, insufficient infrastructure and teachers, and opportunity costs of sending a child to school when he or she could earn money for the family. The landlocked nation has few natural resources and a weak industrial base. About 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, and therefore vulnerable to periodic drought.
The country has an abundance of valuable water sources, but most pumps are either in some state of disrepair or altogether non-functioning. As a result of the lack of access to clean water and basic sanitation throughout the country, there is a persistence of waterborne illnesses like diarrhea and cholera. The most cost-effective and efficient way for TWP and our partners to affect change for Burkina Faso's thirsty is to rehabilitate these water sources: replacing hand pumps, repairing broken parts, sealing open wells—doing whatever is necessary to restore clean water to the people who need it most.
Nearly 20 years ago, LWI set out to help the church in North America be the hands and feet of Jesus by serving the poorest of the poor. 600 million people in the world live on less than $2 a day. 884 million people lack access to safe drinking water.
In response to this need, LWI implements participatory, community-based water solutions in developing countries.
LWI is a former partner of The Water Project.