Water For Everyone! (an initiative of Water Charity)

Wate For Everyone InitiativeWater Charity is leading a bold initiative to ensure that every person in Liberia, Togo and The Gambia has access to clean water.

Clean water is essential for the health, safety, education, and well-being of a population, especially the children. Water Charity participated in a consortium of NGOs to bring water to every person in Liberia by the end of 2020.  We are proud to say that this effort with The Last Well has been completed.  Despite a raging worldwide pandemic, a ragtag group of small nonprofits managed to do the entire nation of Liberia, border to border.

This work in Liberia affected us, and we understood that a new model for development work was being developed… so we decided to spread it.  In 2019, we undertook the role of the lead organization to implement similar programs to bring water to everyone in two additional West African nations, Togo and The Gambia, by the end of 2024. We have since done assessments of all of the water needs of both countries, visiting about 8,000 communities in the process.

The 3 programs comprise our Water for Everyone Initiative.  For now.

We chose these countries for a variety of reasons.  There is certainly a great need.  It is estimated that almost 40% of the people in Togo and The Gambia do not have access to an ample supply of safe water and are therefore at risk for illness and death. Our work will have a profound impact in reducing death and illness in those countries.  And like Liberia, the WFE in Togo & The Gambia are off and running on track to achieve the astounding goal on time.

As incredible as it seems, the WFE model is, in this moment, setting the pace for what a nonprofit intervention can look like.  We use GIS Data Mapping to record the nationwide assessments, and have the very most accurate data rich maps that have ever been made for these countries.  In places where no Census has ever been conducted… where the exact population of the country differs from government estimates by 20% or more when our teams get out in the bush on motorcycles to conduct the water assessments… we now have 3D maps showing every well in the whole country, and are updating it in real time!

Once the actual water needs are known and quantified, we can set about to do all the necessary well repairs, filter installations and new boreholes in a cohesive manner.  We can do the work far more efficiently than at any time in the past.  WC has a long history of helping villages going back 15 years.  But this methodology is really the future.

Our Work in Liberia
Read the latest about the Water for Everyone Program-Liberia.  Our most recent work is in the districts of Todee and Careysburg of Montserrado County.

Our past participation in the Liberia effort is summarized on these pages:

Rivercess Well Repair Program – Liberia

Sinoe Well Repair Program – Liberia

Grand Cape Mount Well Repair & Filters Program – Liberia

The Expanded Initiative
The expanded Water for Everyone Initiative adds parallel programs to bring safe water to every person in Togo, a country of about 7.3 million, and The Gambia, with over 2 million people. Working hand-in-hand with other implementing partners, businesses, and governmental agencies, and with the support of a growing number of donors, a border-to-border strategy is now underway to achieve that goal.

The initiative includes working with and obtaining certification by individual geographic districts by the oversight agencies, and a final country-wide certification of completion.

We gained knowledge, experience, partners, and resources for the Initiative through our participation in a similar border-to-border program in Liberia as one of 16 collaborating Non-Governmental Agencies (NGOs). That effort is on track and within budget to bring water to of all residents of Liberia by the end of 2020.

Our expanded Initiative consists of two concurrent parts, the Assessment and the Projects. It is estimated that we will do 1/3 to ½ of the development projects ourselves over the 5-year period, with the remainder being done under the direction of other NGOs in furtherance of the Water for Everyone mission.

The Assessment
The Assessment involves an evaluation of the resources that exist and the determination of the precise actions needed to meet the objectives. This is accomplished by mobilizing teams of Assessors to visit each village in the country and collect the data.

The backbone of the Initiative is the Geographic Information System (GIS), which is designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present geographic data. GIS applications are tools that allow users to create interactive queries (user-created searches), analyze spatial information, edit data in maps, and present the results of all these operations.

We are using the GIS Cloud system, one of the best in the industry. It accomplishes real-time collaborative mapping, incorporating:

• Field workers to collect data using mobile data collection, and report from the field
• Engineers and managers to utilize the data and teams on the ground to administer the process
• Decision makers to work with accurate information in real time
• The public to respond to a simple two-way communication map portal

The Assessment yields a real-time database of needs and serves as the basis for doing community development projects and tracking the results. Projects are planned to fulfill the needs and are implemented by Water Charity and its partners.

The Projects
Water Charity has a history of doing water and sanitation projects in both countries spanning over ten years. In anticipation of this Initiative, we focused our resources in these two countries and began development programs in concentrated areas.

Since mid-2018, in Togo we have built 16 additional borehole wells in the Centrale Region in a program led by hydrologist and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Anne Jeton.

Under the leadership of Water Charity Country Director – Togo, Luke Tarr, we will begin the Assessment in that country in March, 2019, simultaneously implementing new projects.

In The Gambia, we have done water projects in 25 villages in the past 6 months. Under the direction of Emily Lundberg, Ph.D., Water Charity Country Director – The Gambia, , the Assessment was started in December, 2018, in the Central River Region, and was completed in a couple of weeks, reaching around 700 villages.

We have now mapped the water needs of both countries completely! This is a huge boon and a monumental accomplishment. As it stands, the official government statistics for these countries don’t even accurately reflect the number of villages, people, hospitals, schools etc.

New projects are continuing, and we are actively seeking new partners to work with us in this effort.

Conclusion
We have undertaken the extraordinary mission toward ensuring access to water for everyone in two countries. However, we cannot do it by ourselves. If this work is of importance to you, please contact us and tell us how you would like to help.

First and foremost, we need Donations to implement the Projects. However, we also need assistance from those who currently work, or previously have worked, in the two countries. We need implementing partners and contacts with businesses and governmental entities at all levels. Finally, we ask for your help in spreading the word about this amazing endeavor through all of your communications channels.

Update:
Water For Everyone – The Gambia
See the details of our recently completed Borehole Well Water System Program – Togo

CLICK HERE to see our article in the Fall 2019 issue of WorldView, the quarterly magazine of the National Peace Corps Association outlining our progress with the assessment in The Gambia.