Affem Kabyé Clinic Borehole System Project – Togo
This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.
Affem Kabyé, located north of the town of Tchamba, in the Centrale region of Togo and approximately 8 kms from the Benin border, is a large village of roughly 4,000 inhabitants. Most are subsistence farmers cultivating mainly maize, yams, and soy, and some garden vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, and various leafy greens. Food crop production seems to be sufficient to satisfy most households needs year-round, hence food insecurity is not a concern for most though a varied diet and particularly protein is lacking. The lack of access to regional markets inhibits farmers from producing excess yield for what could be important export crops and a source of much needed cash.
The ethnic make-up is predominantly Kabyé, Tchamba and Fulani, with Fulani present in both nomadic and sedentary populations. Water sources are mainly the typical shallow open wells to depths of 7-10 meters, of poor quality and most are non-existent during the peak of the dry season (February to mid-March). There are 5 year-round borehole wells operated by pedal pumps that appear to be functioning. Rivers in the region are used for consumption and household needs by those populations living outside of Affem Kabyé.
The health clinic is a 7-room cement block structure, built in 1998 by Plan International. At the time of construction, a shallow, open 7-meter well was dug serving as the sole water source until the dry season when clinic staff hauls water from village wells. The clinic is without power, thus another “birth by flashlight” center for those women arriving at night. The building was plumbed for running water. However, a septic tank was never installed and there is no water supply to the building. There is a gas-powered refrigerator.
The health clinic is serving a larger population than the official village of Affem Kabyé including the outlier villages and occasionally the frontier population between Togo and Benin. A clinic with a newly installed borehole well exists at around 5 km from Affem Kabyé. However, the inhabitants closest to this newly opened clinic prefer to frequent the Affem Kabyé clinic due to the familiarity of the staff.
The open well was enclosed several years after opening and the standard metal water tower, polyethylene tank and hand pump system installed. However, the water system was never hooked up to the clinic. The well runs dry for roughly four months of the year requiring the staff, patients and relatives of patients to haul water prior to treatment. The water is generally unpotable and requires bleach treatment. Female relatives of women giving birth are required to provide water during and post birth, and, as women usually fetch water, all female patients are typically asked to provide water for themselves and the clinic staff.
This project is to build a borehole well for the clinic. Under the guidance of the Department of Hydraulics and Sanitation’s regional office in Sokode and with support from the Ministry of Health regional director, who identified clinics with the most critical need, and a local drilling company, this project proposes to drill a 60- to 100-meter borehole well at the clinic, equipped with the following:
• An electric submersible pump,
• a 4.5-meter high cement block water tower,
• a 2 meter**3 polyethylene tank , and
• piping to the main intake valve at the clinic
The submersible pump will be run using a gas-powered generator as there is currently no electric power in the community. The local drilling company selected, Plomberie Génerale de Réalisation de Forage, in operation since 1998 and based in Tchamba, has extensive experience drilling deep borehole wells throughout Togo and regionally in Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria.
Number of people affected by the project: 4,500
This project will be managed by Anne Jeton, hydrologist and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV), Burkina Faso (’82-’85) and Returned Peace Corps Response Volunteer (RPCRV), Togo (’16 -’17).
Anne was sent to Togo on behalf of Water Charity to develop and administer new projects, and to coordinate with Peace Corps.
Monitoring and Maintenance
Along with staff from the Department of Hydraulics and Sanitation who will monitor the well “indefinitely” (the well data becomes part of the official borehole well database, and as such is included in periodic field monitoring by technicians based in each Prefecture), the contract for well drilling states a one-year guarantee provided by the drilling company. Problems with pump and borehole functioning are typically resolved in the first month of use.
Proper screening of the borehole and submersible pump placement relative to the static water table often mitigate most common problems. However, any mechanical problems surfacing in the first year will be the responsibility of the drilling company.
The clinic staff will be responsible for maintaining a well repair account which will be funded from the sale of medicines. The clinic will decide a nominal fee for water use should the water account be insufficient, or the community will be asked to contribute directly to the costs.
The hydrologists (from the Department of Hydraulics and the Water Charity coordinator) and the drilling company owner met with the clinic staff and community leaders where expectations and responsibilities pre, during and post well construction were outlined. While there may have been some discordance in the past, the two chiefs of the village have committed to providing the necessary community participation.
This project has been funded by an anonymous donor.