Water For Everyone — Togo
Water for Everyone is a border-to-border initiative encompassing Liberia, The Gambia, and Togo – to provide safe water to the entire population. In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly agreed upon 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6 or SDG 6) calls for clean water and sanitation for all people. In light of SDG6, Water Charity’s goal is to provide a basic supply of potable water to every person in Togo by the end of 2023.
Togo is a small but densely populated country in Western Africa, ranking 127th in the world for size, with a population of around 8 million. Being one of the narrowest countries in the world, with only 71 miles east-west between the borders of Ghana and Benin, it stretches south to north and as a result exhibits different climate.
The southern part of the country is a low coastal plain with extensive lagoons and marshes, while further north is the savanna – dry and arid. 67% of the country’s land is considered Agricultural, with Togo’s main exports being Cocoa Beans, Coffee, and Peanuts.
The Water for Everyone initiative kicked off in Togo in 2018 as 15 borehole wells were implemented in the Centrale region under the direction of Anne Jeton, hydrologist and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.
Current estimates are that 55% of rural communities in Togo do not have access to an improved water source.
Water Charity’s goal is to work in collaboration with the Ministry of Hydrology and the Ministry of Health in Togo to bring improved water solutions, as well as training and education on basic sanitation to all these rural communities.
Collecting the data: border-to-border surveys
GPS-enabled mobile technology and GIS mapping are absolutely revolutionizing the data collection process in developing countries across the world. So far in Togo, Water Charity has trained over 50 individuals in collecting using tablets and smartphones, none of whom had ever done so before. Over 2018-19, Water Charity mapped the entirety of rural Togo. See below our Water Charity – Togo Storymap.
Once again, Sparrow Data Solutions has worked with Water Charity to develop a Water Testing application to be debuted in Togo. We accepted a request from the Ministry of Hydrology to begin running water testing in villages all over the Maritime region, something they have not previously been able to do.
Our Water Test is done using portable strips which test for 14 different components including pH, Hardness, Iron, Nitrates, and Total Chlorine. With the help of a local expert, we trained a team of 12 to operate the kits and record the results using tablets or smartphones.
Our 12 agents went back out to survey certain villages in the Maritime region – we decided to start by testing surface water sources across the region, which could include rivers, lakes, lagoons, etc. Thus far we have collected data on 224 different surface water sources in Maritime and are excited to share our findings with the Ministry of Hydrology to continue to grow a good working partnership.
We Need Your Support To fund Water Projects
From here we get to move to the fun part – implementation. This process is expected to take us to the end of 2024. Before we even start projects, this involves forming partnerships with local NGOs who will do most of the heavy lifting on the ground – supplying agents for filter distributions, following up on filter installs, organizing water committees, etc. It’s crucial for us to know who our major players are and have a set of standards that can apply to everyone across the board.
On the government level – each village or community in Togo has what’s called a “Village Development Committee” which is staffed by at least one responsible individual. Our job is to work with each village committee as well as local health centers where possible to ensure formation of a Water Committee each time we implement a project. The Water Committee is then responsible for the long-term sustainability of whatever implementation we come in with. The implementations can include but are not limited to – new manual or machine dug boreholes, repairs or rehabs on existing wells, water storage and distribution systems, and installation of Sawyer filters in individual households.
In addition to our primary objective to make access to potable water available to everyone, we are working with other organizations that operate in other development sectors, such as health, education, food security, the environment, and economic development, to improve the well-being of the people of Togo. In this regard, we are making available our technical capacity and database to others seeking to “do good”.
At this point, we are estimating to implement over 5,500 projects from now until the end of 2023. We are bringing in partners, large and small, foreign and local, to assist us in implementation, as well as to provide funding for our work on the ground.
We know the task ahead of us and it is a large one – now we need your help to make it happen!