Ouessé Commune Water Project – Benin

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.

This project has been completed.  See below for the conclusion.

This project summary has been redacted for security reasons to omit the specific project location.

Xxxxxxx, Ouessé Commune, Benin


Community Description
This project will take place in Xxxxxxx, a small village in Benin, West Africa that is situated about 5 kilometers to the south of the commune head of Ouessé. Most of the people that live there are subsistence farmers, making a few dollars every day cultivating and selling various agricultural products. Their children are all obliged to do hours of housework each day in addition to the classes they have to take at school. One of these schools, CEG Xxxxxxx, will serve as the site for this project.

CEG Xxxxxxx is an institution that acts as both a middle school and a high school within the community. It has 840 students who come from multiple different villages. It offers classes in Math, Science, English, French, and a variety of other subjects. Life at school is difficult. CEG Xxxxxxx is funded entirely by the students and parents of the different villages. There is no money received from the government to help with the needs of the school. Everything that has to be done is done entirely by members of the community, the administration and the parents can typically expect no help from outside of their small village.

Problem Addressed
Clean water is a major problem in general for Odougba. Many villagers get water from the wells located around town. These wells are, however, problematic. During the wet season, rain contaminates the wells by pushing soot and feces into the water. During the hottest parts of the dry season, a number of the wells dry up and become unusable. The main sources of freshwater in the community thus come from a scattering of pumps and water taps around the villages that are connected to a local water tower.

However, these pumps are all privately owned and require payment in order to be used. What’s more, the nearest pump to CEG Xxxxxxx is 1,035 meters (.64 miles) away.

This lack of easy access to clean water creates multiple problems for the students of CEG Xxxxxxx. The first is dehydration. Gym class is mandatory for all grade levels at the school, and the exercise can be demanding. With no water nearby to replenish fluids lost through sweat, students frequently come to class dehydrated. Sometimes, students become ill due to lack of water and are forced to go home early and miss class.

The second problem created by this lack of water is poor hygiene. Students typically eat multiple meals at school, as their parents don’t have time to cook them breakfast or a full lunch during the day. Because there is no clean water at the school, the children can’t wash their hands before these meals, or after they use the restroom. Furthermore, the food that they purchase at the school is also unhygienic. Vendors are unable to wash their hands or the silver wear and plates they use with clean water. All of this leads to increased illness and poor health for students.

Project Description
This project is to build a water system to provide for the needs of the school.

The project will consist of the construction of approximately 1,035 meters of piping to connect the closest source of clean water to the school. The contractor in charge of the project will then build a water tap as well as two sinks to allow the local population easy access to the water.

The community has taken the responsibility of digging a trench for the entire distance from the current water source to the school, so the piping can be easily constructed. Money from the Water Charity will go towards purchasing the materials necessary for the project, as well as paying the laborers who will be installing the pipes and the water tap.

The project will serve the 840 students currently enrolled at CEG Xxxxxxx as well as all of the students who will be a part of the school in the years to come. It would also serve the 85 teachers and 4 administrators who work in the school. Maintenance for the piping installed would be handled by the mayor’s office, while maintenance for the tap and sinks would be handled by the school. Both parties have signaled that they are ready and able to meet this small cost. After the completion of this project, multiple trainings will be carried out to teach the importance and proper technique of handwashing. These training will be led by health officials in the surrounding area, with technical support and oversight from the Peace Corps Volunteer.

Project Impact
This project will impact more than 929 people.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Max Lieblich

Monitoring and Maintenance
The school has pledged to repair any damage that happens to the pump or the sinks that are to be installed. The mayor’s office will be responsible for maintaining the pipes. Monitoring will be done after the seminars on handwashing and hydration to observe if the school population has adopted better hygiene practices.

Project Funding
The funds for this project have been provided by the Schaefer Family Foundation.

Conclusion of Ouessé Commune Water Project – Benin

This project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Max Lieblich.

The project was designed to bring water to the school by installing piping from the water source.

Max reports:

The project to bring clean running water to the school has been completed. 1,035 meters of piping connected the closest source to the school. The contractor also built a water tap as well as two sinks to allow for access by the village.

We extend our thanks to Max for completing this important project.