This program is made possible through a partnership of WATER CHARITY and Ecotopia eco-hotel.
Location : Semil, Guatemala
Semil is a small Mayan Village in Guatemala. The village has a population of close to 1800 people but there are around 12,000 indigenous Mayan people within one hour’s walking distance of the school and there is no running water or filtered drinking water in this village and most children completely lose their teeth by the time they reach puberty, because soda is cheaper than drinking water. This also means that Diabetes is running rampant throughout the village.
The project is to install a water system that will provide a clean, sterile environment for the children, as well as the community at large.
We will be installing a water pump system that will channel water from the nearby river to the school, which will include a water filtration system that provides an access point for clean, sterile drinking water, as well as bathrooms for the local school and community. Part of this project will also include educating the children on hygiene practices using proper bathroom facilities, washing their hands, and brushing their teeth on a daily basis. We will also be sharing this water with a clinic that is under construction adjacent to the school, which will provide health services to thousands.
Currently, the focus is on providing running water and proper bathroom facilities to the local school. Step one is to install working bathrooms and filtered drinking water, which will provide an access point where people can fill up their water containers to take home.
The total cost for building this system with the bathrooms pumps & filters and labor is roughly $13,000 USD. This will be providing the tubing, installation, and filters to the clinic. The total time for construction will be roughly 90 days from the time of funding, meaning this positive impact can be achieved very quickly and with instant results.
Water Charity is funding the project to buy labor and materials that will lead to a positive impact on the community, especially on the lives of people & kids at school. Water Charity funds will be used to buy sand, steel and cement, as well as three running water tanks, also a water pump construction is well underway.
The project is being done in partnership with a local eco-tourist hotel called Ecotopia. It is being managed on the ground by our friend and associate John Hatch, who runs the hotel and has a very interesting crypto-funding model where people can purchase NFTs to help him do projects in the town. After the school water supply and bathrooms are taken care of, we intend to help John and Cryptopia build a health clinic next to the school. Currently, the villagers have to travel a long distance to see any medical help, and most babies are delivered in the dirt on the church floor. A health clinic with running, clean water will make a huge impact on this remote region.
Once the bathrooms are completed, the next plan is to build a proper kitchen facility for the school, as well as a computer room that will provide access to technology and the Internet, massively increasing the opportunities and resources for these children. We also plan to build a playground for the kids, and a Permaculture Garden that will allow us to teach them about building a sustainable future.
Comments This project will provide adequate sanitation facilities, allow for proper hygiene, and create a storage facility for water needed at the school.
In addition to the school water supply, bathrooms and immediate water tank and pump infrastructure, Water Charity is looking to help John and the village with community water taps (so they don’t have to drink soda), more sanitation facilities to discourage open defecation, and the grand prize of a fully stocked health clinic for the area. The total cost of all this will reach up to $200k USD or more, any donations we receive in excess of the costs of this project will carry over into the next project/phase.
Donations collected to Date
The project has been fully funded by Water Charity. We encourage others to continue to donate using the Donate button below.
With new developments in filter technology, we can now provide needy communities with long-lasting, effective water filters that can provide up to 2000 gallons of water a day… for a reasonable price.
We are very excited about this program, which will include individual projects all over the world. The need for these filters is great, and there is almost no limit to the number of wonderful new filters we can distribute as the funds become available.
Keep in mind:
80% of all disease is water-borne
Lack of clean drinking water is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide
443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related illness
6.3 million children under the age of five died in 2013
As an addition to our current roster of successful programs in water and sanitation, which have included well drilling, rainwater catchment, toilet and handwashing station construction, emergency relief, reforestation efforts and more–including a good number of filter projects–as well as our acclaimed Appropriate Projects initiative, this new program will be an umbrella for our worldwide push to get these new filters into the hands of those people who desperately need them. It will include all relevant projects, large and small… thus enabling people to donate to the overall effort.
There is no need for these statistics to be true anymore. We have all the tools we need to completely eliminate this suffering and waste of life. The predominant victims of this terrible situation are young children. These kids deserve a chance.
The projects in this program will be upwardly scalable, and as such, the more money we can raise, the more filters we can give out. Instead of creating and packaging the individual filter delivery projects one by one and funding them separately, it makes sense to raise as much money as possible and keep the filters flowing. In this way, we can also get larger grants from foundations and concerned organizations. We fully expect that this program will grow into the largest thing we have done.
For those interested in the filter technology we are presently proposing, please feel free to go to the Sawyer website and peruse the relevant materials. We will be implementing primarily their Point One filter, but for hospitals, clinics and other sites we will also be making the Point Zero Two purifier available. [note: normally viruses are not a major issue for drinking water.]
This is an exciting program, and we hope you will see the need for it and join in. Water Charity is currently active in over 60 countries around the world. As the money comes in we will take the Filters for Life – Worldwide program into all of them and beyond.
If there are certain regions where you are especially interested in helping, it will be possible to donate specifically for those countries or areas. Just send us a message with your donation. However, we are hoping people will recognize that a general donation to the program itself will be the most effective way to get the maximum number of filters out in the shortest amount of time.
We are water… literally. The human body is about 70% water by mass, and a typical human cell is composed of 98.73% water molecules.
Individual FFL projects in their entirety can be found HERE, and are listed at the bottom of THIS page. Please consider supporting this monumental effort.
Coming off recent success in The Gambia and Liberia, Water Charity is embarked on another Water for Everyone Project in Madagascar. We have been active in Madagascar from early on in WC history, having sponsored many dozens of projects in recent years and touched hundreds of villages. Our primary intervention there has been in the rehabilitation of broken wells first, and the drilling of new wells where necessary.
Madagascar is well-suited for a Water for Everyone Program. Only half the population has access to clean water and much of that population lies in rural communities. Most rely on subsistence farming and fishing for their livelihood. Forty-three percent of adults lack proper nutrition and forty-eight percent of children under five suffer from stunted growth. There have been other projects to address water availability in cities and larger villages, but the rural populations still have a long way to go, and this is where our focus lies.
The challenges are as varied as the mini continent that forms Madagascar. The center of the country is formed by mountainous highlands dominated by igneous basements, making the search for subsurface water quite difficult. The coasts are rimmed with sedimentary rock and carbonates and are slightly more conducive for water drilling. The north and east are largely semi-tropical while the south and southwest are arid. It seems that climate change has made conditions worse in the south where water is lacking even for agricultural purposes, and malnutrition and starvation are widespread.
Many attempts over the years have been made to mitigate the water problem. There are literally thousands of broken wells across the country that have fallen into disrepair. One objective of this project is to find and identify these wells, assess their potential, and design programs to put them back in service. Our partners, local residents of the various regions, are our force on the ground to collect these data points. Water Charity uses GIS data and our Geospatial analysis capabilities to identify needs, and gaps in infrastructure, and design specific and targeted programs to get water to those in need. It is expected the entire project could take a few years, but we are confident that all rural villages can be provided with at least one working well and given the skills to maintain them.
Our local Malagasy partners and The Madagascar Water Project (MWP), have extensive connections and knowledge about the country, the languages and dialects spoken, and are a key piece of the puzzle for this ambitious program. We have worked with them for many years, drilling dozens of wells and repairing countless broken ones to provide clean water to thousands of people. This program has begun along the east coast and will expand to include rural regions all over, with the goal of eventually including the entire county. We will not deal with cities and the larger towns for this B2B effort, as there are existing infrastructure issues and the problems are entirely different. WFE Madagascar is solely focused on the rural villages, at least for now.
Goals and Methods of Water for Everyone
The Madagascar Water for Everyone Project is designed to achieve the goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6.1 and the Plan Emergence Madagascar Priorate 29.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6.1: By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
Plan Emergence Madagascar Priorite 29 – Garantirl’acces universal a l’eau potable (French is a main language for government there)
The Project combines the latest technology in satellite mapping with an extensive ground-based data collection effort. The Program will conduct inventories and is documenting existing water infrastructure. We are assessing functionality and adequacy to the populations served and can thus identify under-served populations where they exist. Population data, water-related health data, agricultural and irrigation data, and water infrastructure and water quality data has been collected from local officials when available, and we will continue to work with these agencies as closely as we can.
All our projects (in this program and out) involve extensive documentation. Well location data is recorded using GPS-enabled devices, this data is combined with various survey and government-provided information and cross-referenced with other aid groups and NGOs. We have webpages put up regularly (see page bottom for links) and update them with new info and media from the field. While this is usually done with incredible speed, we can not always keep pages up to date in real-time and it may take us some weeks to post recent work.
Water Charity integrates population, infrastructure, health, and other data collected on the ground into Geographic Information System (GIS) map-based platform including ArcGIS and Earth Engine. This makes it possible to 1) identify and quantify gaps in water infrastructure; 2) design specific and targeted projects to improve clean water access 3) put them in a format that can be presented to potential sponsors and operators and 4) track their impact over time. Projects coming up include newly drilled wells, repair of existing wells, and the repairs, maintenance, and upgrades of a larger infrastructure. Some areas will be prioritized based on their specific needs.
The Project began in the Region of Antsinanana and continues into other Regions of Madagascar on pace.
The Madagascar Water Project: an overview
Since 2015, WFE Madagascar & the Madagascar Water Project have drilled about 200 water wells in about 80 rural villages, providing clean water to an estimated 100,000 people. Starting around Antsinanana, the work has migrated to the south over time and the well drilling work can now be found as far south as Mananjary. To aid in this effort, WC funded the purchase of a dedicated well drilling rig over the summer of 2022. This new rig can be expected to function for many years to come with minimal maintenance and should increase the ability of MWP and the WFE program to aid the people with new wells, deepening existing wells, and even clearing debris that has come to block wells that otherwise should be functional.
We have also started a well repair program in the drought-stricken south to fix some of the thousands of broken wells located there. These well repairs have been our bread and butter in the past. and will continue to be a major part of what we do there. After all, fixing a broken well is nearly always more efficient than drilling a new well and installing a brand-new handpump.
Like many of our partners around the world, MWP is small, lean, active, and impactful. The photo below was taken in 2018 during one of our joint ventures that included the village of Salehy. This is the same core group that has supported our Water for Everyone Program all along the way, and will continue to lead the way on the ground. (note their cool Water Charity T-Shirts).
Except for Director, Frederick Rittelmeyer (3rd from left above), who works as an unpaid volunteer, the entire staff is Malagasy. As the photo shows, they are quite proud of their association with Water Charity, and it has been mutually beneficial for all. The gentleman in the foreground, Hilaire Razandrafely is the MWP Project Manager for the Madagascar Water for Everyone Project. Photo, Salehy 2019.
The Madagascar Water Project drilled its first well in the village of Andovoranto in 2015. That well is shown in the photo left and is still working today. We remain committed to the villages it serves and provides maintenance training, repairs, and spare parts for its wells. If the well fails, which occasionally happens, the MWP drills replacement wells when needed. Photo, Andovoranto 2015.
So far, WC has drilled most of its wells along the east coast, along an intra-coastal waterway known as the Pangalana Channel. To many, the area looks like paradise, but many villages had no access to clean water, which has a profoundly negative impact on the health of those living there. With the help of the MWP, the area at least has taken a small step forward into the 20th Century.
Due to the amenable conditions, we can use hand augers and slide hammers to build wells. In most cases, this takes only a few hours. Standard pitcher pumps are used and can produce at rates up to 25 liters/minute from depths to 7 meters.
The Project provides community-based water wells, managed by Well Management Committees. The MWP provides guidance but ultimately rules, hours, and fees (if any) are determined by the committee.
Effective self-management is key to sustainability and is often more difficult than drilling the well. The line between assistance and dependency is as thin and delicate as a piece of thread.
One of the biggest challenges working in Madagascar is logistics. Roads are in poor repair and often nonexistent even when they appear on a map. The Water for Everyone Project will have to overcome these challenges even more. One can choose where to drill wells, but the mission of the Water for Everyone Project is to go everywhere.
The first wells began drilling in the village of Andovoranto in 2015. The work migrated southward every year, eventually moving past the village of Mananjary in 2020.
Water Charity believes that maintenance and repairs are as critical to the program as newly drilled wells. These long-term relationships are more efficient, and create less oversight and maintenance, and, in the end, leave the communities with better, more efficient, and equitable water management.
Well Repair Program in Southern Madagascar
In 2022 WFE Madagascar began a large well-repair program in southern Madagascar. The entire southern section of the country has suffered from extreme drought for more than 10 years. Not only does it affect water availability, but it has also caused widespread famine. Malnutrition and starvation are everywhere.
Thousands of water wells have been drilled there in the past few decades. Although most are now broken, some are still capable of being repaired to provide clean water, any water to those in need.
The map below shows the current area of focus in the District of Betroka.
Some wells are conventional Indian Pumps that need routine repairs or have been victims of theft such as the well below in Anabinda.
Other broken wells exist as holes in the ground. The project has installed our conventional pumps onto these wells and successfully brought them back into production. They are used as much for agricultural purposes as they are for human consumption. Each well is saving lives and improving the quality of life for many.
Water access is often a key component of famine. On a trip in February 2021, we deviated from our mission and distributed 350 kg of rice to a few villages that hadn’t eaten in weeks. The World Food Program, USAID, other NGOs, and the Madagascar Government have since come in to provide more assistance.
There is so much to do in Madagascar that a systematic, thorough, complete, and scientific approach is the best way to assess the needs, design solutions, and provide relief to the many millions still in need of clean water. The Water for Everyone Initiative is a significant move in that direction.
List of Water Charity’s Past Madagascar Project Pages:
13 water wells were drilled in six villages that now provide clean water to over 15,000 people. The project area is south of the Mangoro River (Salehy), through Masomeloka to Nosy Varika and beyond, moving into the remote area where the distal ends of the Regions of Antsinanana and Fianarantsoa meet.
Built 2 latrines at the primary school in the village of Amindratombo. Amindratombo is part of the community of Sahambavy, located in the southern highlands of Madagascar. The project will benefit 200 students.
Build a well at the primary school in the village of Amindratombo. The well will be used to provide drinking water for the students. Amindratombo is part of the community of Sahambavy, located in the southern highlands of Madagascar. The project will benefit the 200 students plus indirect beneficiaries numbering about 1,500: 1,700 total.
Repair and improve the well at the Maternity and Health Center in the community of Ansampanimahazo is located 9 km from its district Faratsiho in the northern highlands of Madagascar. The population consists of approximately 15,000 people spread across 12 villages.
Purchase and install 1 water pump to expand the production of rice in the community. Morarano Chrome is a town and commune in the Eastern part of Madagascar. Over 150 people who work in the fields, and their families, will benefit from the project.
Built 3 wells and 1 dam in three neighboring fokontanies (neighborhoods) of Anjiro: Mahatsinjo, Antanetibe, and Ambilobe. Anjiro is a rural community located in the central highlands of Madagascar. It has a population of about 15,000 people.
Replace 1 broken handpump at the site with a sealed well lined with concrete rings, and an electronic pump for the Special Community Reserve of Analalava, a protected rainforest on the east coast of Madagascar, owned by the local community. This project immediately benefitted 150+ people and has since benefitted thousands of tourists.
Build 2 new public latrines, with lined and displaced pits and ventilation. The facilities will be made available for use by the students and villagers.of Morarano, a rural village located 12 km southwest of the beach town of Foulpointe on the east coast of Madagascar. About 150 people live in the village center. However, the presence of an elementary school means 270 students come in from the surrounding hills on a daily basis: a total of 420 people.
Build 1 public biogas toilet for the community that uses human waste as a valuable resource that can be converted into two products: (1) gas for cooking and (2) fertilizer. The project was located in the beautiful coastal community of Ambonivato, about 8 miles outside of Tamatave, the second largest city in Madagascar. Though it is close to the city, the village of 750 people is still a very poor and rural village.
1 bathroom facility with 3 toilets, 3 urinals, and 3 sinks for Association Mitsinjo, an association of local guides. Mitsinjo is located 2 km from the village of Andasibe, but its impact zone is much larger. It is the manager of the Torotorofotsy wetlands, a Ramsar site, as well as the Analamazaotra forest station. The facility will benefit the association through the 3,000+ tourists that visit annually.
1 new, high-quality, composting latrine behind the clinic which can be used by all of the approximately 300 patients, health workers, nurses, and the doctor in Tsivangiana, a rice-farming and fishing village near the east coast of Madagascar. There is a major water sanitation problem, with a couple of stagnant streams used for everything from bathing, to washing clothes, to washing dishes, to collecting water for cooking and other household uses.
1 new well in the village of Ambavala, located on the tropical and beautiful northeast coast of the island nation of Madagascar. This rather large village of nearly 300 people depends on only one well for all of their daily water needs.
Install 6 pumps in existing wells for use in 6 different cooperatives, including the rice cooperative, garden cooperative, and women’s gardening group, to irrigate their crops. The cooperatives are located in Anketrakabe, a village of approximately 1,200 people located 47 km from Diego.
1 rainwater harvesting system and 3 systems to remediate flooding problems for the three largest dormitories on the Le Centre d’Accueil et de Transit des Jumeaux Abandonné (CATJA), an orphanage for 125 abandoned twin children. The orphanage is located in Mananjary, a seaside town in southeast Madagascar that is home to nearly 30,000 Malagasy whose livelihoods are very much integrated with their natural surroundings.
5- Day Permagarden Staff and Volunteer Training and Training Design Creation; Peace Corps Madagascar requested assistance in the creation of a thorough Training Design and Evaluation Process that will guide the sustainable agriculture and nutrition security work of current and future Peace Corps Volunteers.
1 shower facility to serve the Amporofor Clinic, which serves 12,543 people. Access to a shower with clean water and soap will reduce the risk of infection to the person, as well as reduce contamination by viruses and bacteria in the clinic area.
Improve 4 wells, including the installation of 2 new pumps for Ambatomainty, a rural community of about 10,000 people located in the Alaotra Mangoro region, also known as the ‘rice basket’ of Madagascar. For water, families were long forced to rely on a river that has turned red from mud and erosion.
1 well built between the local elementary school and the community center of Antsakoana, a small village south of the town Amparafaravola located in the Eastern part of Madagascar; well will benefit roughly 350 people.
Improve 2 wells for the 1,000 people of Tsivangiana, who live along the east coast of Madagascar, separated from the Indian Ocean by about 20 kilometers of degraded rainforest. After the well broke, for the past three years the people have been fetching water from the stream.
2 wells were built for the village of Andonaka, located on the east coast of Madagascar, 12 km west of the commune and district capital Nosy Varika and accessible only by boat. No potable water exists for the 1,270 residents of Andonaka; all water is drawn from the Sakeleneoa River which also serves as a bath, laundry, and dishwashing source as well.
1 well and a reconstructed aqueduct provided to the mountain town of Imito, located 224 km south of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. Zanabahona is one of the largest communities in Imito with a population of 2,300. Project conducted by Peace Corp Volunteer and local NGO.
Purchase and installation of a water pump for use by the members of Fanilo, the local farmers association in Antsakoana, a small town north of the town Amparafaravola, located in the Eastern part of Madagascar. The project gave the water control needed for the planting of currently unused rice fields. The project benefitted 280 people who work in the fields and their families.
1 well provided to Morarano, a rural village located 12 km southwest of the beach town of Foulpointe on the east coast of Madagascar. About 150 people live in the village center and 270 students come in from the surrounding hills on a daily basis: a total of 420. In a polluted pool, people bathe and wash laundry and dishes before taking the water home to cook and drink. The work was conducted by a school teacher with experience in digging lined latrines, a Peace Corps Volunteer, and a motivated health worker who lives in the village.
3 wells built in three different communities in northern Madagascar, carried out under the direction of a Peace Corps Volunteer and a local NGO ARES, which has organized teams to build over 50 wells. The three towns are in the commune of Anjangoveratra, district of Sambava: Antanandava, Anamboafo, and Marolamba, with a total population of 3,419, and no wells. Residents have to get their water from rivers, streams, and even rice paddies, which are polluted by cow and human waste. Several deaths in the towns in the past year have been attributed to water contamination.
4 wells built in the Amboromana district of Vohemar, Madagascar, which has a population of 1,836 people. People have to fetch water from a very distant dirty river, or do without. Oversight of the well construction was undertaken by ARES, a local NGO and Sister Rosalie, a Malagasy local.
2 wells built for 2,200 people, about 600 of them children under 5. There is a local primary public school and a local Antsikory Women’s Group. Most community members use the local stream to collect water. Many of the children in the village of Antsikory suffer from diarrheal diseases and schistosomiasis, a disease caused by infection with freshwater parasitic worms in certain tropical and subtropical countries. The project is overseen by Peace Corps Volunteer, in cooperation with the Women’s Group.
In addition to our normal flow of well repairs, we have done this great work at Mandritsara hospital. Check out the details below:
After drilling 40 meters of fractured volcanic rock, it was tested at 2500 liters/hour, the maximum capability with the testing equipment, and will be able to supply the hospital’s needs for years to come. A year ago, one of the surgeons there asked if we could help with their water problems. The municipal system goes dry for 4+ months each year and their private well can supply only 10% of their needs.
It’s difficult to do surgery and provide medical care in a fully functional hospital without enough water. The local and volunteer expat medical staff just grin and bear it, but their hands are already full living and practicing medicine in conditions long past in the modern world. Their spirit and positive outlook are an inspiration to keep going. Good News Hospital — Friends of Mandritsara Trust
Update on Mandritsara Hospital
The Madagascar Water Project just broke new ground by drilling a deep well in volcanic basalt, tapping into natural fractures to get water production. This is the first time the Project has drilled this deep, in this environment, using a drilling rig.
We received a request from the Good News Hospital — Friends of Mandritsara Trust for help with their annual water shortage. The municipal system in Mandritsara, a village of 30k people, feeds off a river that goes dry every year. The hospital has two wells that provide some relief but it is only 1/10th the volume normally needed. The hospital is expanding and needs reliable water supplies year-round.
The Project conducted field geology studies and used a geophysical study made by the hospital at the time of its initial construction in the 1990’s to identify a prospective location. The initial hole had to be abandoned at 11m due to a stuck pipe, but the second hole was successfully drilled to 40m without problems. The well tested 2500 liters/hour, which was the limit of the testing equipment, but it is likely capable of producing at twice that rate. The well is located in a rice field adjacent to the hospital complex and a 600-meter pipeline will tie it into their existing water system.
Check out the video below related to this project:
Water Charity & Call To Nature Seedreservation & Permaculture Program – Ghana
To read about the Call To Nature Seed Preservation & Permaculture Well Project, CLICK HERE.
Call To Nature’s mission is to care for the Earth, care for people, and share valuable resources by implementing permaculture principles, through farming, heirloom seeds saving, and providing hands-on training related to the importance of the use of permaculture in sustaining the environment and by creating a culture that is inspired by natural ways to produce seeds and food that will resolve food instability. Our business is one of the best in heirloom seed production in Africa and the first of its kind in Ghana. Our business relies on unique methods designed with nature in mind, through farming and production of high-quality seeds and food that will eventually lead to the end of food insecurity in many parts of the continent of Africa, and other areas around the world.
Our project has grown from just school gardening and tree planting and from 4 acres piece of land to 17 acres.5 years ago, we began collecting and reviving heirloom seeds across the world for our newly constructed seed bank in order to help resolve the issue of food insecurity and to tell all the beautiful stories around them from the origin, name source and use. Our seed collection is not only focusing on food but also on plant species that help protect our environment, especially species that help protect water bodies and species when intercrop retains moisture content in the soil so farmers can use less water for farming. Our operations are currently facing a huge water challenge on-site, we are therefore presenting our request to Water Charity for support.
SCHOOL / COMMUNITY GARDENING
In 2015 research conducted by Call Nature in some Ghanaian communities shows that about eight (8) out of ten (10) children are facing malnutrition due to poor eating habits. And as such, Call to Nature has developed a program that promotes school/community gardening for a healthier living lifestyle. We plan to design at least ten (10) school gardens each year to connect the mindset of the people to nature and to provide better nutrition.
Plenty of studies have shown just how school gardens can stir students towards the right and more conscious decision-making.
At the end of July, after working with the Yurok tribe in the past, Water Charity heard that some of its members were served a boil water notice. The water was not safe to drink without boiling it.
Working with Sawyer Water Filters, Water Charity ensured that every household on the Yurok Reservation received a filter for their tap; more than 900 Yurok households received water faucet-attached filters.
The filters are capable of filtering up to 500 gallons of water per day. Filters were installed for Yurok tribal members in Klamath as well as upriver in Weitchpec.
The contamination stems from the conditions of the district’s water storage tank in Klamath. The tank had been severely damaged in 2017 when part of a dead tree fell on its roof.
The Yurok Tribe, citing the State Water Resources Control Board, stated the tank’s condition “creates a significant sanitary risk to the drinking water customers.”
See Our Past Work with the Yurok Tribeby clicking here or on the image below.
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!
Water For Everyone – an initiative of Water Charity
Clean water is essential for the health, safety, education, and well-being of a population, especially the children. The problem in ensuring the availability of clean, safe water is the ability to find and identify communities in need and then bring the necessary resources together to implement the needed services.
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 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.
A component that allowed for the completion of this project was a countrywide GIS map of all cities and villages and water sources. Using this map, we were able to match work projects with implementing partners to complete the water improvements.
This work in Liberia affected us, and we understood that a new model for development work was needed… and we decided to help spread it. In 2019, we undertook the role of the lead organization to implement similar programs to bring water to everyone in more countries.
Data collection and management especially about functionality of water and sanitation facilities countrywide is a big challenge. GIS mapping and mobile data inventory of all WASH facilities (functional and non-functional) is a new approach to solving the problem of sustainable water and sanitation facilities.
Using GIS mapping and mobile data collection tools can eliminate constraints encountered in monitoring WASH facilities, ease data collection and allow updating. This can then facilitate timely and accurate analysis and project planning and recruitment of the needed resources.
The purpose of GIS mapping and mobile data collection therefore is to collect data with Geo Codes for each village and create digital maps of all WASH facilities and communities in the country. This will improve the efficiency of data collection and overall quality and accuracy of data collected in the field leading to better targeted projects and improvements.
In 2021, we received a contract from the African Development Bank and the Gambia Ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters to undertake the development of a WASH map and web-based monitoring and evaluation system for The Gambia.
This work will provide a detailed open-source database under the control of the Gambia Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources that can be used for learning and adaptive planning of WASH projects for the country to bring Water for Everyone. This is a wonderful opportunity for us at Water Charity to take the lead on such an ambitious and forward-looking project.
Our Water for Everyone Initiative adds countries where we and/or our implementing partners undertake the work necessary to develop such a comprehensive WASH map, identifying the needed projects to ensure everyone has access to safe water.
Please take a look at the countries where the WASH mapping is complete and consider sponsoring the project opportunities for each country that will move us forward to ensuring Water for Everyone (WFE).
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 accurate and data-rich maps showing every well in whole countries that allow updating 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. Water Charity has a long history of helping villages going back 15 years. But this methodology is really the future for building sustainable water improvements. Please visit the country pages below and see the projects that currently need funding.
How we work and fund projects:
We use our country WASH map to prioritize projects. We work with local people to affect the needed work to complete the project. With our training and supervision, we empower local individuals and Community Water Committees to take responsibility not only for the project, but for the sustainability of the water resource. We often prefund projects to meet an immediate need for water in a community. In this way we can get life saving water to the community quickly while raising the funding for the project already underway. You can sponsor one project or several projects. In this way you know exactly where and how your money is being spent. We have one of the lowest administration and overhead rates of any nonprofit organization because we work directly with the people in the communities and connect them to donors. Please look at the projects and consider a donation.
Current Countries with completed WASH Mapping and projects to fund:
The Republic of the Marshall Islands
Conclusion We have undertaken the extraordinary mission toward ensuring access to water for everyone. 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 countries where we are executing projects. 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.
We have undertaken an extraordinary mission toward ensuring access to water for everyone. 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 countries where we are executing projects. 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.
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.
In each country covered by our Water for Everyone initiative, we recruited local WASH(Water, Sanitation, Hygiene)–related workers, trained them, outfitted them with GPS-enabled smart tablets loaded with our GIS water survey and a list of the villages, fuel for their government motorbikes, and a per diem. The surveyors took pictures and answered a series of questions about each public waterpoint in each village. In The Gambia, between December 2018 and October 2019, Water Charity surveyed atotal of 1,690 communities and 1,511,232 people. Each surveyor is located in his or her region, so we continue to correspond about the status of water systems in their regions as a means of updating the map.
We are working to make our GIS water system user-friendly and accessible to different stakeholders with varying levels of access and authority. The web-based platform tracks the achievement of performance indicators and targets. This allows stakeholders to prioritize the most water-challenged Gambian communities. As we survey the country, we reach out to other sections of the national WASH Community. We apprise them of our mapping efforts, we show them our initial results, and we encourage them to share whatever data they may have regarding their in-country WASH interventions so that we may include their interventions on the map.
National WASH Capacity, Collaboration, and Development
We work to do this in collaboration with donors and the in-country WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) community. We believe water projects are only sustained when the in-country WASH capacity is there to maintain them, and we have trainedmore than 150 WASH professionals in the use of tablets, in GIS surveying methods, in the use and distribution of filters, and on water testing methods. Because Water Charity not only surveys and maps but also develops and completes water projects, we found that WASH project planning benefitted greatly from mapping: not only with regard to using the map results, but also because of how the mapping effort itself enriches, deepens, and updates the knowledge of embedded regional staff.
Outside of the collaborative and national benefits of GIS mapping, as an organization we developed a list of survey questions with the depth and breadth to allow us to: 1.) Triage water-challenged communities; 2.) Understand the broad scope of the work at each waterpoint; and 3.) Leave open the ability for wider development strategies over time.
Water & Health: Covid-19 and handwashing stations – The Gambia
In rural areas, and in many of the under-resourced informal settlements in The Gambia, the lack of access to water and soap poses a serious challenge in curbing the spread of COVID-19. In response to the danger of community spread, Water Charity is now constructing hand-washing stations at every well it rehabilitates in The Gambia: 55 hand-washing stations so far. Given that schools are beginning to open in The Gambia, we are expeditiously installing new handwashing stations in schools.
The “Water for Everyone” initiative usesGIS (Geographic Information System) mapping as a collaborative umbrella facilitating the division of work between all parties interested in SDG 6’s provision of clean water for all. In the case of Water Charity’s Water for Everyone Initiative, provision of clean water to all the 15 million people who live in The Gambia, Togo, and Liberia—for starters. The most recent initiative undertaken by our Gambia Water Charity team included providing COVID-19 combatting hand-washing stations and soap at every well Water Charity rehabilitates in The Gambia.
Water for Everyone is a campaign to provide water for everyone in a border-to-border strategy using Geographic Information System (GIS) map-based collaboration.
The Gambia isthe smallest country in mainland Africa and one of the poorest in the world. Lack of infrastructure, particularly the lack of efficient water management systems, is largely responsible for the low productivity of smallholder farms and therefore for TheGambia’s widespread rural poverty.
When asked how he started the herculean task of penning the Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkein reportedly said, “I wisely started with a map.”
Check out our Geographic Information System (GIS) Storymap below.
From each of The Gambia’s five regions, we recruited and trained surveyors. For several months, our surveyors rode motorbikes to visit and diagnose every public well on the GPS-enabled smart tablets in 2,059 communities, water services for a total of 2,008,019 people
Can you imagine not having water during the Coronavirus Pandemic?
With no formal system to provide rural water, let alone maintain the water systems, over 60 percent of The Gambia’s rural wells are broken. And, after taking our survey, we know what communities need intervention the most.
At every well we rehabilitate, we are installing hand-washing stations with soap to combat the transmission of the Coronavirus. Help Gambians protect themselves from the Cornoavirus by helping to provide water.
Because, as Kofi Annan said, “Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and therefore a basic human right.
Fixing Broken Wells In the Most Water Challenged Communities
Uneven distribution of fresh sources and constraints in water resources development and management make water access difficult for many segments of the Gambian population, especially those in the rural areas who often rely on unsafe water sources. In our GIS Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) mapping survey, we found more than 60 percent of The Gambia’s rural waterpoints were in disrepair. So far, we have completed 72 separate water rehabilitation projects, including 32 in the Fulabantang Ward, where our Sustainability and Development Plan & Pilot Projectis based.
Please visit our Project Pages to see the work we are doing on the ground: