Water for Everyone Initiative – Liberia, Togo and The Gambia
Water Charity is leading a bold new initiative to ensure that every person in Liberia, Togo and The Gambia has access to clean water by the end of 2023. 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. That effort is on schedule and within budget. 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 2023. 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. 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. 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 Central 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 will have mapped the water needs of both countries completely later this year, and this will be a huge boon. As it stands the statistics for these countries don’t even accurately reflect the number of villages, people, hospitals, schools or health clinics. 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: 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.