RPCV

Malawi Borehole Program

Clean Water For Rural Malawi!

NPCA & WC LOGOSThis Malawi Program is a component of the East Africa Water and Sanitation Program, and is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the National Peace Corps Association.
 

Malawi Borehole Program

Malawi has suffered through a terrible and unprecedented drought that has made life very hard for the people there. Many rural villages were forced to trek long distance to gather meager water supplies from sources unfit for human consumption. This program has been enacted to cobat this tragic situation, and has been emminently successful.

In concert with our friends at Village X, Water Charity embarked on a program to provide wells to 7 villages in Malawi. At this point, we have done 10 projects so far, and intend to keep doing more! You can use the donate widgets below to allocate funds specifically for this program.

Each well project has its own project page, links to which can be found at the bottom of the page.  The conclusion pages to each project are linked to their project pages.

Check out this video to get a better idea of the situation in Malawi, and what Water Charity & Village X are doing about it:

Water Charity Malawi filmed by Gareth Burghes

Village X is a Malawi aid organization run by RPCV Michael Buckler, with whom Water Charity has worked on projects in the past. Malawi Country Rep, Myson Jambo, went out to visit villages within the Village X network that had identified a serious water/sanitation problem. Many of these communities are in dire need of clean water. Like Mlenga Village used to (the first  well/ pilot of this program, already completed) prior to March 2015, they fetch water from streams and shallow holes in the ground. Community members suffer from inordinate rates of waterborne illness and women (the primary water fetchers) have been subjected to domestic abuse, rape and, in one case, even death from drowning in a flooded river, because of commutes to and from polluted water sources.Finishing up a new well

Myson has found a number of communities in need of a new borehole installation, spanning three districts and 225 square miles in the Upper Shire Highlands of Southern Malawi (see map) -- Siyabu, Nachuma, Likoswe, Kazembe, Bakili and Mwanga. We have been making boreholes in them one by one. Now, in all, the boreholes have benefited nearly 10,000 people, mostly sustenance farmers and their families living in areas far from government services and significant NGO assistance. All of the original projects have been completed, and many villages have access to clean drinking water for the first time!

Not only have we finished the original 7 village wells successfully and continue to do new wells in new villages, we have enacted a Training Program to increase the number of trained borehole drillers in the region. Many of the wells being done in the region now are made possible by this effort, even if they are not specifically Water Charity projects.  You can find an updated list of projects at the bottom of this page, below you can see the original outline of the program when we started it. Please take the time to click through to the individual projects and their conclusions to see the true scope of this important work!

Original Program Outline:

Locations and Community Descriptions 

See above. Click on the map to expand it, or click here. Each village is marked on the map, and main roads (dirt and asphalt) are shown in yellow. 

Siyabu Village, Zomba District, Malawi. Siyabu is a typical rural Malawian village without running water or electricity, located along a dirt road, about a two-hour walk from the city of Zomba. Linesi Masala, a mother of two and resident of Siyabu, was abused by her husband for taking too long to retrieve water from a shallow well, where wait times were very long. He accused her of using that time to sleep with other men. Her husband subsequently died of dysentery. Approximately five couples in Siyabu have divorced over this issue.

Nachuma Village, Zomba District, Malawi. Nachuma is a typical rural Malawian village without running water or electricity, located along a dirt road, about a two-hour walk from the city of Zomba. Nachuma, an usually large village (two to three times larger than other Village X partner villages), has one operational borehole, built in 1993, that frequently has maintenance problems. Most of the village doesn't use this borehole due to long walking distances. Frola Nachuma, a mother of three and Nachuma resident, was stripped naked by her husband and tied to a pole in the village market. He was angry that she fetched water from a shallow well near their home instead of walking long distances to and from the village's sole borehole. Her husband has since fled the village.

Likoswe Village, Chiradzulu District, Malawi. Likoswe is a typical rural Malawian village without running water or electricity, located about a twenty-minute walk from a rural stretch of paved road, connecting Blantyre and Mulanje. A 13-year-old girl in Likoswe, Mphatso, was recently raped by a man from an adjacent village, while fetching water from a stream. She now has HIV.

Kazembe Village, Mulanje District, Malawi. Kazembe is a typical rural Malawian village without running water or electricity, located along a dirt road, a great distance from any paved road or urban area. Kazembe residents fetch water from the Nalada River. Consequently, infant morality rates are high and, on average, 4 cases of cholera are diagnosed in Kazembe each month.

Bakili Village, Mulanje District, Malawi. Bakili is a typical rural Malawian village without running water or electricity, located along a dirt road, a great distance from any paved road or urban area. Bakili lost a 14-year-old girl who went to fetch water from the local river and presumably drowned. Her body has not been recovered. 

Mwanga Village, Phalombe District, Malawi. Located along a rural stretch of paved road that connects the cities of Zomba and Phalombe, the commercial center of Mwanga has electricity, but many households lack it. In Mwanga, women often ask their husbands to fetch water using their bicycles, from a borehole located far from the village. The men usually resist, leaving wives with no choice except fetching water from nearby, unsanitary sources. 

Problems Addressed

There is no clean water accessible for residents of the villages (except Nachuma, a huge village with one borehole for 1487 people, located far from where most of them live). This leads to illness and, in some cases, death, particularly among children under the age of 5. Residents currently fetch water for drinking and cooking from dirty shallow wells or waterways like streams or rivers. Women, in particular, are vulnerable in the absence of clean, nearby water sources. As described above, in our partner villages, women fetching water from sometimes distant, unsanitary sources have experienced domestic abuse for taking too long (husbands suspect infidelity), rape (when women venture into remote areas), and death from drowning in flooded rivers during the rainy season.Water drum transported by bike.

Project Descriptions

These projects involve building boreholes. Borehole locations were chosen by village project committees, acting on behalf of entire villages. All sites are in publicly accessible places. Construction of all boreholes will be done by EZ Borehole Drillers, a company located in Blantyre, with substantial experience in the area, including the Mlenga borehole funded by Water Charity in February 2015. The installations will take three days to complete. It is expected that water will be reached at about 45 meters, but the wells will be drilled to depths of about 60 meters. Before drilling, a hydro-geographical assessment using electrical measurements will be conducted to find the depth of the underlying aquifer. The boreholes will be guaranteed for one year by EZ Borehole Drillers. The Mlenga borehole is functioning well, with no reported breakdowns or complaints. Above ground, the boreholes will include a standard metal pump mechanism, a cement foundation to protect the pump mechanism, a cement spillway to direct water into a nearby vegetable garden, and a clothes washing station. Water Charity funds will be used to pay for the skilled labor as well as for the materials that cannot be found locally, such as piping, fixtures and fittings, and concrete. Communities will contribute volunteer labor, materials, including bricks and sand, and about $400 in cash.

Project Impacts

Siyabu Village, Zomba District, Malawi. 104 households; 512 people.

Nachuma Village, Zomba District, Malawi. 302 households (258 of whom don't use old borehole due to distance); 1487 people (1270 of whom don't use old borehole due to distance).

Likoswe Village, Chiradzulu District, Malawi. 187 households; 738 people.

Kazembe Village, Mulanje District, Malawi. 179 households; 704 people.

Bakili Village, Mulanje District, Malawi. 97 households; 474 people. 

Mwanga Village, Phalombe District, Malawi. 112 households; 671 people.

Totals: 937 households; 4,369 people.  (now over 1,500 households & 7500 people and counting!)

Malawi RegionsProject Administration

These projects will be administered by Michael Buckler, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Malawi from 2006 to 2008. He is the founder and CEO of Village X, a social enterprise located in Washington, D.C. dedicated to improving community development work in sub-Saharan Africa.  He is a member of the National Peace Corps Association, Friends of Malawi, and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C.

Monitoring and Maintenance

EZ Borehole Drillers will conduct 2 days of community-based management training per borehole. Trainees will include village chiefs and members of two borehole management committees, a technical committee (responsible for upkeep and maintenance) and a sanitation committee (charged with keeping the borehole tidy and planting a vegetable garden that utilizes excess water from the well). The technical committees will collect a maintenance fee of 100 MK (about 20 cents) per month per household to ensure that there are sufficient funds to adequately maintain the facility and repair it when needed. These are important infrastructure projects that will improve the health and wellbeing of the communities. They are well planned, with strong management and fiscal safeguards in place. They incorporate elements of oversight and buy-in by the residents to make them sustainable into the future.

Fundraising Target

$8,000 per project ($56,000 for all seven)  Although these wells have been funded by an anonymous donor, further donations will go for additional wells. We are currently raising funds for wells 11 - 20, so donate generously!

Comments

EZ Borehole Drillers has already completed half of these wells, with plans to complete these projects in the Southern Region before traveling with their equipment for an extended trip to the Northern Region.  We have also now started our Malawi Borehole Training Program as a subprogram of this one, with the goal of having this team train 2 other teams to operate in other regions of Malawi... The end result will be that we will have 3 teams operating all over Malawi soon, and, thus, be able to do 3 wells at a time!

MALAWI BOREHOLE UPDATE:

2015 in Review: All 7 of the original borehole projects were successfully completed!  Water Charity & Village X validated and improved the model for this program in 2015. We demonstrated donor demand for direct giving and the capacity (time, intellect, know how) of local people to accomplish development faster, better, cheaper, and more transparently.  Communities contributed cash, labor and materials, and project costs were based on local prices. Consequently, this program had up to 8 times more charitable impact per dollar than status quo NGOs.

2015 Village X Infographic

2016 and Beyond:  Water Charity & Village X continue to assess water conditions in rural areas and have continued to create new boreholes for villages in need. The campaign has been very successful, and we even started a Borehole Training Program to increase the number of people trained in making boreholes there. The "ripple effect" from this (more villages getting wells and less time waiting) is just one of the happy side effects of this work. We are happy to say that improved health, and substantially less time spent collecting water from unimproved (often dangerous) sources, has led to increased productivity and improved well being. We hope to continue replicating this success until all villages in need are served.

More data on this successful program! 

Data 1

Data 2

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Water For Zambia Program - Zambia

Water For Zambia Program - Zambia

NPCA - WC Logos

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the National Peace Corps Association.

Location: 
Mansa District School, ZambiMansa District, Luapula Province, Zambia
 
Community Description: 
The primary schools where this project will take place are located in and around Mansa District in the Luapula Provnice of Zambia. These communities and schools are often without electricity and running water. The villages surrounding the schools consist of mud huts with grass thatch roofs. The main source of income in these communities is subsistence farming. 
 
Problem Addressed: 
The lack of safe drinking water at the middle schools of the district is the main problem to be addressed.  
 
Another community need is for food security, as schools are not currently able to create gardens and orchards due to the long distance to reach a water source.  A new water source will allow easy watering of plants and provide improved knowledge of gardening for students, as well as a convenient food supply.
 

Project Description:

This project is to restore water to 13 schools through the installation of a new water pump and associated improvements at each school. 

During Emily’s time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia, she recognized the problem of inadequate access to safe drinking water sources throughout her 20-km catchment area. She was shocked to discover that all of the three schools in the area lacked an on-site, working water source.

Borehole and Pump - ZambiaThere was an existing play pump structure at all three schools, but the pumps had not worked since 2009. With the help of Water Charity, she was able to work with a local government group (similar to a Public Works Department) to renovate the water systems at all three primary schools. Each borehole now functional, and is expected to provide access to clean, safe drinking water for 300 people daily for a lifetime of 50 years.

Emily was informed of 13 other schools in Mansa District, with the identical play pump structures, currently facing water crises. She determined that the problem could easily and affordably be solved with the demolition of the existing structures and installation of new Afridev borehole pumps.

 
When she returned home after her Peace Corps service, she vowed to find a way to return to Zambia and renew her efforts to bring safe water to schools in the country.  She reached out to Water Charity to assist her in this endeavor, and a plan was developed for her to go back to Zambia and do this series of projects as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.  Water Charity decided to send her back with enough funding to accomplish this ambitious goal. 
 
This is one of the rare cases where WC paid to send someone to a location, and foot their living expenses while there.  The fact that she is doing 13 schools, and will also be sharing her experience with currently serving PCVs to develop their own WASH development work, makes this cost effective.
 
The work will be supervised by Emily and done by skilled technicians.  At each school, on the first day, there will be some demolition and installation of the pedestals. Then, after one week, allowing the pedestals to cure, the pumps and PVC piping will be installed
 

Each installation will include a runoff area, drain, soak pit, and other improvements as necessary.Mansa School Borehole Project - Zambia

 
Each community will provide the sand and perform the unskilled labor.
 
Each community will create an action plan regarding borehole maintenance, budgeting for spare parts, security, and sensitization of students, teachers, and surrounding communities.
 
Each school will host an orchard and garden.  The project will allow schools to complete other projects which may have been delayed due to a lack of water.
 
During Emily's stay in Zambia, as mentioned above, she will work with serving Peace Corps Volunteers to assist them in developing additional water and sanitation projects.  She will help them with all phases, including conceptualizing with the community, planning and budgeting, implementation, and maintenance and evaluation.  Her efforts in training and support on behalf of Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association will result in a continuing flow of needed development projects. 

Project Impact: 
3.900 people will benefit from the project.  
 
Mbaso SchoolEach borehole will provide access to clean, safe drinking water for 300 people daily, for an expected lifetime of 50 years. As a result of this clean drinking water source, communities will experience improved health and sanitation. School absences for teachers and pupils (especially girls) will decrease, improving education for all.  There will be an increased knowledge of gardening and agriculture, food security, and community development.
 
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project: 
Emily McKeone, RPCV
 
Monitoring and Maintenance:
Local Community Maintenance Committees, School Administration, and Mansa District Municipal Council will play roles in the monitoring and maintenance
 
Comments:
In 2014, during Emily McKeone’s Peace Corps service, new boreholes were installed at an initial three primary schools within Mansa District in conjunction with Water Charity, as mentioned above. To read about that project CLICK HERE.  Not only did the communities report improved health and sanitation, but schools were also able to complete construction projects and further develop their infrastructure. This project and its 3 schools/ boreholes served can be considered the pilot project, or 1st project of this program.  Thus, when finished, a total of 16 schools and their defunct boreholes will have been served.
 
Dollar Amount of Project: 
13 additional schools at a cost of $28,000
 

Dollar Amount Needed
$0 - This project has been funded by a major Water Charity donor, who prefers to remain anonymous.

 
Any additional donations will be utilized to fund additional projects in Zambia.
 
Emily at her first borehole project for WC
Water For Zambia

 

Country: 
Funds Needed : 
Progress: 

East Africa Water & Sanitation Program

Water Charity and National Peace Corps Association East Africa Water and Sanitation Program

NPCA & WC LOGOSWater Charity and the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) have begun a program to implement dozens of water, sanitation, and public health projects in East Africa.

This program is set for $2 million.  The first phase, in the amount of $215,000, resulting in at least 25 new projects was funded by an anonymous donor, and we are into the second phase.

The countries included in the program are Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Kenya, South Sudan and Madagascar.

Project planning is well underway, and work on the ground has begun on several projects. Individual projects will be phased in for implementation as planning for each is completed.

All projects are scheduled to be completed within a year, and it is anticipated that further funding will be available as the first phase is completed.

UPDATE:  The program has been extremely successful, spawned 6 sub-programs thusfar, and expanded into 2 new countries.  Many of the projects have been completed, and a host of new projects are on the way.  Look at the list at the bottom of the page for links to the various projects.

East Africa Water and Sanitation ProgramThe Partnership 
Water Charity is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, established in 2008 and headquartered in California, that does water, sanitation, and public health projects around the world. It has implemented over 2,500 projects in 67 countries to date, about 95% of them under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs).

The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. with a mission to championing lifelong commitment to Peace Corps values. The goals of NPCA are to help the Peace Corps be the best that it can be and help Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) and RPCV groups thrive.

Averill Strasser, Co-Founder and COO of Water Charity, and Glen Blumhorst, President of National Peace Corps Association initiated a partnership in early 2015, that has led to this program and others like it.  The projects themselves continue to be done one at a time under our traditional, super-efficient model, managed by our volunteers on the ground.  While the scope has been expanded, these projects are the same great, high "bang for the buck" projects you have come to know and love from us.

Methodology
The program follows a unique methodology of utilizing the services of PCVs and RPCVs for project management. This imparts a level of cost-effectiveness that is many times that achieved by other organizations doing similar work.  Some of the projects in this program are done in concert with partner NGOs at work in-country.

Within the 8-country program area (now 10), individual projects will be planned and implemented one-by-one, rather than following an imposed and fully-developed plan. The model is based on the premise that there is great need in the entire program area, and the most cost-effective way to save lives and prevent and cure illness is to quickly address those needs in the order in which they arise organically from the communities.

Incorporation of Peace Corps Volunteers
The major portion of the on-the-ground administration of projects will be carried out under the direction of serving PCVs. These are all college graduates who have been trained in country, and possess language, technical, social, and community development skills.

East Africa Water and Sanitation ProgramThere are about 7,200 PCVs serving in 64 developing nations at any point in time. They live and work with members of the community and are involved in all stages of community organization, project conceptualization, planning, implementation, completion, and evaluation.

PCV's often work together in specific areas of the country, and there will be opportunities to aggregate projects that are being done in close geographic and temporal proximity. PCVs working together offer assistance to each other in planning and execution, economies of scale, camaraderie, continuity, sustainability, and ease of evaluation.

All projects will be funded using the normal channels through the Peace Corps Partnership Program after proper review.  This serves to ensure that each project meets a set of stringent requirements, and brings needed resources to assist the Peace Corps in its mission. 

The Role of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Approximately 215,000 people have served as PCVs since the Peace Corps was started about 54 years ago. They represent an important and valuable resource to assist in the role of community development in the world.

NPCA is a partner of Peace Corps, and is the designated organization to represent all RPCVs, and engage to amplify the power of the Peace Corps.

In the past 7 years, many RPCVs have worked with Water Charity to directly implement projects. RPCVs return to their country of service because of a lifelong commitment, and bring with them their prior skills, education, and training.

RPCVs will continue to directly implement projects, but will also be utilized to provide training and support to serving PCVS to assist them in all phases of their projects.

A good example is the Malawi Borehole Program with RPCV Michael Buckler.  In this program we are doing a slew of wells in concert with the NGO he founded when he decided to go back to Malawi (his country of service as a PCV), with the help of Water Charity.

East Africa Water and Sanitation ProgramTypes of Projects
All projects will fall under the categories of water, sanitation, and public health.

Typical projects will be water systems, wells, pumps, tanks, small reservoirs, rainwater catchment systems, irrigation systems, water purification installations, latrines, and handwashing stations.

All projects will require the community participation of labor, materials, and/or money to the extent of about 25% of the project cost.

Where feasible, small costs will be imposed on the villagers for use of newly-created water facilities, such that there will be funds available for maintenance, repair, and replacement when the need arises.

All projects will have community training and education components to teach villagers the technologies employed in the project, the use, maintenance, and repairs of the improvements, and necessary hygiene and public health concepts.

All projects will include a job training component whereby technical skills are imparted on villages such that they will be able to utilize the acquired knowledge and apply it in other communities. The formation of small businesses to proliferate the technology in nearby areas while creating employment and economic incentives will be encouraged. Where feasible, tools will be left behind to serve in this effort.

Sustainability will be ensured by serving PCVs and their replacements, who will visit the project sites at intervals after completion and facilitate needed repairs and improvements.

Implementation

This program is up and running, with 6 major sub-progams and a large number of single projects already.  These subprograms are collections of individual projects in a given country, utilizing a specific technique (i.e. borehole drilling or well rehabilitation) to help the people in need.  We are set to surpass all our goals with this umbrella program.  At the bottom of the page you can find links to everything we're doing.  Directly below, are links to the subprogram pages which showcase all the various projects being done under the auspices of each.

Summary
The program offers unmatched cost effectiveness to implement vital projects using appropriate technology for people across this entire region of Africa. It benefits from our unique model and past knowledge of and experience in the chosen countries. It eliminates the expenses of travel, in-country headquarters and administrative costs, and allows for most project dollars to be directed to materials and skilled labor.

The implementation is already well underway, with most of the original projects already completed, and the phase-in of new projects rapid.  There is a constant flow of new projects in areas of need, and new regions and countries are being added to the program as we are able to create worthy new projects and expand on the successes we have already achieved. A sister program is underway in West Africa which was able to receive funding due to the success of this initiative.

Funds Needed : 
Progress: 

Western Africa Water & Sanitation Program

Clean water or Dirty water

NPCA & WC LOGOSWater Charity and the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) have begun a new program to replicate the ongoing success of our East Africa Water & Sanitation Program in Western Africa.  It involves the implementation of dozens of water, sanitation, public health, and environmental projects in a number of West African nations.

The initial countries included in the program were:
Senegal, The Gambia, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Morocco, Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Liberia.  Guinea was later added.

Si Kunda, The GambiaIt is likely that we will add other countries in the region to the program as it expands, and as security can be ensured..

This program is open ended, and will consist of individual projects both large and small.  These will include our "normal" projects in the region, as well as even larger, more comprehensive efforts.

Project planning is well underway, and work on the ground has begun on several projects. Individual projects will be phased in for implementation as planning for each is completed. 

The Partnership
Water Charity is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, established in 2008 and headquartered in California, that does water, sanitation, public health, and environmental projects around the world. It has implemented around 2,000 projects in 65 countries to date, about 95% of them under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs).

The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. with a mission to championing lifelong commitment to Peace Corps values. The goals of NPCA are to help the Peace Corps be the best that it can be and help Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) and RPCV groups thrive.

Averill Strasser, RPCV, Co-Founder and COO of Water Charity, and Glen Blumhorst, President of National Peace Corps Association, are working together in the implementation of this program.

open wellMethodology
The program, along with much of the work done by Water Charity, follows a unique methodology of utilizing the services of PCVs and RPCVs for project management. This imparts a level of cost-effectiveness that is many times that achieved by other organizations doing similar work. In this way, travel and administrative expense are eliminated, as there are capable, local-language-speaking, highly-motivated PCVs already living in the villages where the projects are taking place.

Most often, these projects arise out of the relationship between the PCVs and their host communities, and an effort to bring these villages together on their water & sanitation issues.  This generally involves the formation of a local water committee, the use of entirely local labor, local materials sourcing, and a real commitment on the part of the people who benefit from the projects to monitor & maintain them. 

This is a sustainable and successful model in which the community is invested in the outcome and members are motivated to preserve the improvements.  With the community contributing materials, labor, and money, villagers have a sense of pride and ownership, leading to long-term success.

Within the 10-country program area, individual projects will be planned and implemented one-by-one, rather than following an imposed and fully-developed plan. The model is based on the premise that there is great need in the entire program area, and the most cost-effective way to save lives and prevent and cure illness is to quickly address those needs in the order in which they arise organically from the communities.

 Making soap    Incorporation of Peace Corps Volunteers
The major portion of the on-the-ground administration of projects will be carried out under the direction of serving PCVs. These are all college graduates who have been trained in country, and possess language, technical, social, and community development skills.

There are about 7,000 PCVs at any given time worldwide, with about 1,200 in the designated program area. These PCVs live and work with members of the community, and, in the implementation of our WATSAN projects, they are involved in all stages of community organization, project conceptualization, planning, implementation, completion, and evaluation.

Where there are opportunities to aggregate projects that are being done in close geographic and temporal proximity, we aim to get PCVs working together and offering assistance to each other in planning and execution. This has benefits of economy of scale, camaraderie, continuity, sustainability, and ease of evaluation.

All in all, Water Charity projects serve to strengthen the Peace Corps, and allow PCVs to contribute meaningfully to the health and wellbeing of their host villages.  Projects are often secondary to the primary program assignment of a PCV.  However, such projects always add to the value of the Peace Corps service by bringing needed resources to the village, and creating tangible community development results. 

     The Role of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Approximately 215,000 people have served as PCVs since the Peace Corps was started about 54 years ago. They represent an important and valuable resource to assist in the role of community development in the world.

Senegal woman in project groupNPCA is a partner of Peace Corps, and is the designated organization to represent all RPCVs, as well as to amplify the power of the Peace Corps.

In the past 7 years, many RPCVs have worked with Water Charity to directly implement projects. RPCVs return to their country of service because of a lifelong commitment, and bring with them their prior skills, education, and training.

RPCVs will continue to directly implement projects, but will also be utilized to provide training and support to serving PCVs to assist them in all phases of their projects.

Types of Projects
All projects fall under the categories of water, sanitation, public health,and environment, and many of these serve double duty, in that they also cover multiple areas like education, disaster relief, drought & famine aid, as well as the new Let Girls Learn designation. Running water to a school that never had access to water, and building a number of bathrooms, water fountains, and handwashing stations, for instance, is a water, sanitation, education and women's empowerment project all in one!

Typical projects will be community water systems, wells, pumps, tanks, small reservoirs, rainwater catchment systems, irrigation systems, water purification installations, latrines, and handwashing stations.

All projects will require the community participation of labor, materials, and/or money, to the extent that the community is able to contribute, often as much as 25% of the project cost.

The local water committee, in some cases, may decide to impose small fees on the villagers for use of newly-created water facilities, such that there will be funds available for maintenance, repair, and replacement when the need arises. These fees will always be affordable for all residents,

Water Charity is prepared to return to a community and aid the residents in repairs or expansion when local resources do not permit such work without assistance.

All projects have community training and education components to teach villagers the technologies employed, the use, maintenance, and repairs of the improvements, as well as any hygiene and public health concepts that might aid them.

Mass transit in Senegal Where the skilled labor needed to complete a job doesn't exist, Water Charity is pleased to engage in job training, whereby technical skills are imparted to locals looking for work, and thus enabling them to form small businesses which allows them to utilize the acquired knowledge, and apply it in other communities. This creates a rather profound "ripple effect" to our projects, whereby the new (or even pre-existing) businesses of the skilled laborers can proliferate the technology in nearby areas while creating employment and economic incentives.

Where feasible, tools are left behind after completion of our projects to serve in this effort.  In this way, many Water Charity projects have spawned dozens of other similar projects in a given area, without us having to be directly involved... and while boosting the local economy to boot.

Sustainability is ensured by serving PCVs and their replacements, who visit the project sites at intervals after completion and facilitate needed repairs and improvements.  Local water committees and skilled laborer businesses also contribute to the overall sustainability. Water Charity projects have an outstanding success rate because of these elements, and considerably greater longevity than comparable projects, while being an order of magnitude cheaper to implement in most cases.

Implementation
At the bottom of the page is a listing of projects that have recently been started under the program. The list will be updated as new projects come on line. A little triangle next to the project name indicates that it is already completed and a conclusion page has been posted and nested underneath the original project page.

Summary
The program offers unmatched cost effectiveness to implement vital projects using appropriate technology. It benefits from our unique model and past knowledge of and experience in the chosen countries. It eliminates the expenses of travel, in-country headquarters, and administrative costs, and allows for most project dollars to be directed to materials and skilled labor.

Donation to this program is a sure-fire way to aid and assist a large number of people with great water and sanitation needs, speedily and efficiently.

This program is targeted for funding of $2,200,000 over 3 years, rolled out as follows:

  • $440,000 for Year 1
  • $660,000 for Year 2
  • $1,100,000 for Year 3
 


Women carrying water, Senegal

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Sierra Madre Water Program - Mexico & Guatemala

Sierra Madre Water Program - Mexico & Guatemala

NPCA - WC LogosWATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS, together with The SEXTO SOL Center for Community Action, announce the implementation of the SIERRA MADRE WATER PROGRAM - MEXICO & GUATEMALA.

The program is designed to provide safe water, effective sanitation, and public health services for 300 villages in the Sierra Madre Region of Chiapas, Mexico, through an unprecedented collaboration of the three organizations.

With a target budget of $2,100,000, the program will be implemented in 15 phases, each addressing the needs of 20 villages. Phase 1 is budgeted for $140,000 in improvements.  Phase 1 is already well underway!

Sierra Madre Water Program, Phase 1 - Mexico

The program focuses on supplying drinking water using the appropriate technology for each village, with the objective of also providing water for sanitation, hygiene, and agriculture. Benefits will be sought in reducing morbidity and mortality, improving quality of life, improving food security, and providing economic opportunities for direct participants and the community at large.

The projects to be implemented will be those requested by the individual villages to address their specific needs. A complete needs survey for the entire program is well underway, while specific project planning for Phase 1 villages is nearing completion, and preliminary planning continues for each successive village.

The design of each project will incorporate measures to maintain the improvements after completion, thus ensuring sustainability far into the future.

Sexto Sol will provide on-the-ground management of the program and the individual projects. The National Peace Corps Association and Water Charity will raise money for and publicize the program, and recruit Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) to assist with project implementation. Water Charity will participate in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the program, train the RPCVs to perform their tasks, and provide for their deployment.

Edward James OlmosValued Support and Endorsement
We are honored to receive the recognition, support, and endorsement for this program from Edward James Olmos, renowned director and actor of stage and screen.

Mr. Olmos was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for the film Stand and Deliver, the only Hispanic-American to be nominated in that category. His career encompasses another 22 wins and 24 nominations. Among his great achievements, he is also recognized for his roles in Battlestar Galactica, Miami Vice, Selena, El Pachuco, and both the stage and film versions of Zoot Suit.

Mr. Olmos is known for his social activism, especially involving the U.S. Hispanic community. He narrated a portion of the movie Zapatista, showing the plight of the campesinos in Chiapas in the mid-90s. 

I am pleased to endorse the work being done by the Sexto Sol Center in partnership with Water Charity to bring potable water and sanitation to impoverished communities in Chiapas. I have stood behind the Sexto Sol Center since they began their service in Chiapas 17 years ago. I know what they are capable of doing. Water Charity is an experienced leader with an impressive track record of bringing clean water and sanitation to under-served communities in 63 countries worldwide. This is the ideal team to efficiently make these much needed improvements in the quality of life for people in the remote mountain villages. I encourage you to support this effort by Water Charity and the Sexto Sol Center. Your support will help them improve the lives of thousands of people. The world will be better for it.
Edward James Olmos

Program Location
This program is being implemented in the Municipalities of Motozintla, Siltepec, El Porvenir, La Grandeza, and other locations in Chiapas, Mexico as well as culturally and linguistically contiguous communities across the border in Guatemala.

300 villages have been chosen for consideration at this time.  As the program winds through its various phases, a specific list of target communities will be compiled.  To see a complete list of the municipalities in Chiapas, CLICK HERE.

Sierra Madre Water Program, Phase 1 - Mexico

Needs
The Sierra Madre mountain range rises from the coastal plain, reaching over 10,000 feet in elevation. This important watershed has 98 rivers that flow to the mangrove forests on the Pacific Coast and feed the Grijalva River on the inland side. The land is very rugged with steep slopes and countless sharp ridges that fall away on all sides into canyons.

The watershed was severely clear cut about 20 years ago with no reforestation implemented. This left the region extremely vulnerable to natural disasters that have causeed great hardship for the people living there.  Most notabe were the disasters of 1998 and Hurricane Stan in 2005, both of which devastated the region with material losses that are still felt to this day.

Seasonal flooding causes damage regularly to deforested slopes resulting in major landslides that have become a "normal" occurrence. An active fault and volcanic rumbling create a lot of seismic activity which in July, 2014, resulted in damage to thousands of adobe homes in the poorest areas.

The region is dotted communities of people engaged in agriculture (campesinos). They depend on raising subsistence crops and small scale farming of potatoes, wheat, or coffee to sell. It is considered to be the most impoverished region in Mexico. When then-President Fox visited the region he made the sad announcement that El Porviner town was the poorest town in the country.

Sierra Madre Water Program, Phase 1 - MexicoThe people are Maya from three language groups, Mam in the high country, C'atok or Mocho in Motozintla and Tusantan, and Kaqchikel in the Mazapa area. The majority of the people are Mam.

In the 1960s a government program attempted to force acculturation on the population through a form of institutionalized racism that prohibited the people from speaking their language. Elders still speak Mam, but the middle aged population for the most part does not. Children and youth, therefore, have some confusion about their identity. This history has caused great pain and it leads people to not admit to being indigenous. Very few people wear the traditional clothing.

Malnutrition is the norm and is most evident in the children who do not reach normal height and often have trouble paying attention in school. Drought, loss of cultivated land to landslides, and the failure of the coffee crop all have contributed to the furthering of poverty for households in recent years.

When a family member falls ill, the expense can be devastating, sometimes forcing a family to have to sell their land. People die from curable diseases and illnesses that have been eradicated in most of the world are still a problem.

Adult illiteracy is common, with many people over 40 years of age having only attended 2 years of formal schooling. This has improved for children now with better access to rural schools, but typically the teachers are students who have not completed their teacher training.

The Sierra Madre is a mineral-rich region with foreign mining companies eager to strip mine a variety of minerals on the lands inhabited by the people. The tension caused by this looming future is worrisome for the people.

The Sierra Madre region has not received development assistance from the government or from international organizations. The Sexto Sol Center is the only international NGO with a long-term presence in the Sierra Madre.

Sierra Madre Water Program, Phase 1 - MexicoTypical Projects
This program is working toward ensuring water for all household uses, including for drinking, cooking, sanitation, and hygiene in 300 communities. It also provides for irrigation of the family and community gardens.

Typically, a community has an old water system that was built years ago, but many households do not receive water, and the system does not meet the needs of the population. The appropriate technology is to capture the water at the source and build a holding tank, and then install a water line over rough terrain to the village.

Typical projects include wells, pumps, rainwater catchment systems, aqueducts, water storage systems, water purification solutions, erosion control, reforestation, flooding prevention, and irrigation systems.

An effort will be made to encompass all of the water, sanitation, and public health needs of each village in a village-designated project. Within the project, there may be several stand-alone sub-projects, say, for example, at a school and at a clinic.

Hygiene and sanitation are inextricably tied to the goal of achieving a safe water source. Handwashing stations are crucial to allow for effective hygienic practices, especially in the schools clinics, and community centers. Bathrooms, erosion prevention, and flooding prevention and remediation are necessary to protect the water sources.

Sierra Madre Water Program, Phase 1 - MexicoProjects Underway & Completed
The program was begun with overall planning ascertaining village project needs and moving forward with project-by-project implementation. The first project was implemented in December, 2014, and we have already completed 8 village wide projects!.

This list will be updated with links to the project pages as new projects begin, and there is another list at the end of this posting:

Cipresal Water System Project - Mexico

Xelajú Chico, Hector Paniaguas y Barrio Reforma, Water System Relief Project - Mexico

El Progreso Water System Project – Mexico

Niquivil Water System Project - Mexico

Miguel Aleman Water Project - Mexico

Esperanza Water System Project - Guatemala

Santo Domingo La Cascada Water System Project - Mexico

Cipresal La Cascada Water System Project - Mexico

Agua Prieta Water System Project - Mexico

Checute Water System Project - Mexico

CABIOCHI Water Project - Mexico

Loma Linda Water Project - Mexico

Los Laureles Water Project - Mexico

Program Management
The program is being be managed by Tamara Brennan, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Sexto Sol Center for Community Action, which serves impoverished communities in the Sierra Madre region of Chiapas, Mexico, near the border with Guatemala.

Sexto Sol previously completed the School Flooding Remediation Project – Mexico in 2010 in partnership with Water Charity.

The Incorporation of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
The program introduces the groundbreaking concept of utilizing Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) in the direct implementation of the projects in each of the communities. RPCVs are people who have returned home after having completed 3 months of training plus 2 years of service in a developing country. They have considerable experience in the community development process and the management of water and sanitation projects.

Water Charity has previously worked with dozens of RPCVs in the implementation of projects. These are dedicated people who have decided to remain in the country after their PC service, people who went to work for local NGOs, which they bring into the process, or people who return to the country after they have been home for a while. We have also collaborated with RPCVs who have Sierra Madre Water Program, Phase 1 - Mexicogone on to serve in the Peace Corps Response Program, a short-duration commitment to a specific project assigned by the Peace Corps.

This program is completely unique in scope: It will be the first time that a significant number of RPCVs are being deployed on a large-scale program as volunteers, funded by donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations, to serve under the direction of a local nonprofit.

The RPCVs will be recruited by the NPCA, trained by WC, and deployed to Motozintla for a set, but renewable, term.

The recruitment process will utilize the structure of 139 NPCA Member Groups, which are determined by country of service and hometown. 

It is anticipated that several RPCVs will come from the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Los Angeles (RPCVLA), one of the Member Groups with close ties to Water Charity.

The RPCVs will be fluent in Spanish and have substantial knowledge of and experience in community development. They will “hit the ground running”.

The RPCVs will train the villagers and work side-by-side with them in the detailed planning, implementation, and evaluation of the projects.

The RPCVs will volunteer their time. WC will provide funds for their travel. Sexto Sol will provide management, lodging and in-country transportation.

Benefits 

 

Entire Program

Phase 1 of 15

Budget

$2,100,000

$140,000

Population

70,000

4,666

Number of Villages

300

20

Number of Projects

900

60

Cost/Project

$2,333

$2,333

Cost/Person (3 projects)

$10

$10

This program will benefit about 70,000 people in 300 communities by providing each of them with a reliable supply of safe water and access to effective sanitation, thereby improving the health and wellbeing of all who reside in the region. Phase 1 will help 20 of those communities, and will serve as a proven model for the rest of the program, developing a skilled labor pool and a reliable and economical supply chain for materials and equipment.

Program Funding
Donors may contribute to the whole Phase1 effort, to be allocated where needed for projects by clicking on the DONATE button below, or by donating on the individual project pages, as new projects are started under the program.

Corporate and foundation donations are welcome and encouraged, and amounts and attribution rights will be negotiated.

Individual donations of any amount are encouraged. Every donation of $100 or more toward the overall program will be recognized on this page.

If you wish to donate “in honor of” or “in recognition of” or “in appreciation of”, please include the wording on your donation form or in an email directed to mail (at) watercharity.org If you wish for your donation to be anonymous, just let us know.

Fundraising Target

$140,000 for Phase 1 ($2,100,000 for the 15-phase program)

You can make a difference by helping us improve the lives of thousands of families in the Sierra Madre with your tax-deductible contribution. 

*****

Water Charity
Water Charity is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, established in 2008 and headquartered in California, that does water, sanitation, and public health projects around the world. Since that time, 1,800 projects in 65 countries have been implemented.

National Peace Corps Association
The National Peace Corps Association was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. with a mission to championing lifelong commitment to Peace Corps values. The goals of NPCA are to help the Peace Corps be the best that it can be and help returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) and RPCV groups thrive.

The Sexto Sol Center for Community Action
The Sexto Sol Center serves impoverished communities in Chiapas and Guatemala, where a change of vision and specific technical assistance can help people create a better life.  Since 1997 Sexto Sol has assisted people to create success with cooperative businesses, grow health-giving food, improve neglected schools for their children, regain cultural pride, protect the watershed, create eco-villages and heal from the trauma of disaster and conflict.

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Peace Corps Permagarden Training - Madagascar

Peace Corps Permagarden Training - Madagascar

NPCA and WC logos

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

The third training of our Permagarden Training Initiative - Worldwide will take place in February, 2018. Peter Jensen will train Peace Corps Volunteers and staff in Madagascar with his Terra Firma Permagardens for Empowerment and Resilience course. Here is an outline of what we intend to accomplish in this monumental initiative to spread the permaculture technology across the globe.

Trainer: Peter Jensen, Agroecology and Permagarden Training Specialist

What: Five Day Permagarden Staff and Volunteer Training and Training Design Creation

Where: Mantasoa, Madagascar

When: February 4-10, 2018

Who: 15 Agriculture PCVs, 5 Program Staff, 4 Support Staff

Peace Corps Permagarden Training - MadagascarPeace 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. We are happy to provide resources to enable this important effort.

During the course of the training, Peter will highlight the role of Terra Firma process in future projects, and assist interested Peace Corps Volunteers in the planning for future water and sanitation projects. These may include, for example, water systems, rainwater catchment and storage systems, irrigation projects, and latrines.

Terra Firma Permagardens are family-oriented, nutrition-focused, climate-smart, organic gardens. They serve as the missing link between seasonal agricultural production and the daily, nutrient-dense, food consumption needs of marginalized rural, urban and peri-urban families. In order to achieve daily nutrition security of mother, child and extended family, agricultural techniques must be ‘climate smart’. This concept forms the key pillars of any Permagarden Training: Adaptation, Mitigation and Intensification.

These goals have a number of critical action steps which are small and doable following the Rule of CLOSE so as to achieve attitude and eventual behavior change amongst those directly trained and those who will be trained within the community outreach program that will follow the training via the PCVs and their village counterparts. These actions form the basis of the Terra Firma Method: Assess, Capture, Protect, Produce, Manage.

Peace Corps Permagarden Training - MadagascarAll ‘Terra Firma’ actions are close to the home, locally sourced, organic, small and easy so as to achieve a “53 week” harvest cycle by even the most marginalized individuals. This is achieved through the rational, step by step, water management strategy whereby the subsoil becomes the cistern. The Six Steps of Successful Water Management form a further key theme throughout this practical training: Stop, Slow, Sink, Spread, Save and Shade. With these steps practiced, observed and maintained, the severity of both climate and climate change is mitigated for long-term landscape and nutritional resilience.

The training methodology is designed to reach resilient family-based daily nutrition security, resilient water and landscape management, and increased maternal income.

Specific topics include compost and carbon soil food, berms and swales, and soil health and double digging.

A permagarden will be created during the training that maximize water capture and nutrition. This will serve as a model for future projects.

An outreach plan for Peace Corps Madagascar, along with recommendations for monitoring and evaluation of outcomes and impacts, will be prepared.

Peace Corps Volunteers will gain facilitation skills to enable them to effectively teach vulnerable family members or small groups on how to create and manage Climate-Smart, Nutrition-Focused Permagardens in Madagascar.

Peace Corps Madagascar will provide all transportation while in Madagascar, all local materials required for the training sessions, and all costs of the Peace Corps Staff and Trainees.

Water Charity funds will provide funds for all other cost necessary to carry out the training.

Although this project has been fully funded by an anonymous donor, your contribution using the button below will be used for our next permaculture training project in Africa.

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Kole Forest Garden Project - Uganda

Kole Forest Garden Project - Uganda

NPCA and WC logos

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

This project has been completed.  To read about the conclusion, CLICK HERE.

Location
Kole District, Northern Uganda

Community Description
The Kole District in Northern Uganda is home to rolling hills of farmland that is plowed by hand or oxen. The Langis and Acholis tribes make up the majority of people in this region, extending to the west and north toward South Sudan. Life in Kole was significantly disrupted in the mid-1990s when Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rose up against the government and attacked civilians in the northern half of the country. During this time, almost two million residents were affected and forced to flee their homes or lose their lives.

When the LRA insurgency ended, there was widespread international support for farmers and other displaced people returning to Kole, but since then large NGOs such as World Vision, Care International, Action Aid, and the United Nations have ended their programming in these regions. The majority of agricultural programming over the past 30 years by the international community has encouraged mono-cropping of one or few crops on farmers’ lands, ultimately contributing to the loss of agricultural and ecological biodiversity across the landscape.

Problem Addressed
Many Kole households continue to rely on open streams for domestic water collection. However, because of pollution and agricultural runoff from the villages along the streams, much of this water is unsafe for domestic use. Farmers need to improve water quality, build soil health, and conserve precious resources.

Despite the fact that the Lango culture prevalent in Kole is male-dominated, women are responsible for nearly all of the domestic and agricultural family activities. It is the women that grow food, collect water, build and maintain houses, educate children, and generate income for the home, and have the greatest need for improved techniques.

Formerly displaced persons are very much affected by the use of improper farming techniques in their effort to earn a living. Farmers who left their lands during the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency have returned now and are practicing conventional, destructive farming techniques. As farmers continue to clear brush and trees to plant crops year-round, soil fertility is quickly depleting. Tree cover is disappearing in Kole , Uganda due to human encroachment on forests.

Project Description
The overall goal of the Kole Forest Garden Project is to increase food security and income of 282 families in Kole, Uganda, by transforming their degraded fields into sustainable Forest Gardens. This project will help farmers and their families break the cycle of poverty.

The Forest Garden system is a multi-tiered mixture of trees, shrubs, and crops that is grown on one to two acres of land. Trees have long been a vital resource for smallholder farmers since, once established, they require very little labor and resources to be productive. Centering farms around trees is not difficult, but most African farmers are resource- and technology-poor and are stuck in a losing battle growing short-term cropping to meet short-term needs.

Locally-based technicians will work on-the-ground with farmers to design Forest Gardens which will maximize yields and provide a consistent income, while also improving the quality of the land being farmed.

Key objectives over the next 12 months of this project include:

1) Provide support and training to 282 farmers in Kole, Uganda on Forest Garden design and nursery development and maintenance,

2) Plant approximately 600,000 trees on Forest Garden sites to protect and fertilize soils through establishment of green walls, contour lines, and planting of nitrogen-fixing, fertilizer trees; begin out-planting, and conduct training events on composting, integrated pest management strategies, and perma-garden growing techniques, and

3) Establish 282 garden beds—one for each farmer—with a diverse mix of nutritious vegetables and fruits surrounded by fodder and timber trees.

The activities will include:

● Out-planting trees
● Composting and Integrated Pest Management training
● Tree and vegetable nurseries
● Farmer sample survey and evaluations
● Gardening training
● Annual review and planning meeting
● Tree and vegetable out-planting
● Fruit tree nursery training
● Fruit tree nurseries
● Fruit tree out-planting training
● Out-planting fruit trees

The work is being carried out by Trees for the Future, founded in 1989 to combat unsustainable land use practices in the developing world. Its mission is to improve the livelihoods of impoverished farmers through revitalizing degraded lands.

Water Charity funds will be used to pay for agroforestry tree seeds, fruit tree seeds and cuttings, vegetable seeds, materials, tools, and transport.

Project Impact
1,700 people in 282 families, from 13 different small farmer groups, will benefit from the project. Combined, these families will transform 277 acres (112 hectares) of previously degraded land into prolific, diverse, and permanent Forest Gardens.

Kole Forest Garden Project - Uganda

Project Manager
Ashleigh Burgess, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Sengal (2011-14), Trees for the Future

Monitoring and Maintenance

To measure the overall impact of the Kole Forest Garden program during the entire project term (estimated to be completed by March 2020), the measurable objectives are to:

1) Increase sustainability of rural landscapes for 282 Kole farmers by establishing environmentally responsible agricultural systems—indicated by the number of farmers who have established Forest Garden sites,

2) Increase household food security for Kole farmers through increased access to food over an annual period—indicated by USAID's Household Food Insecurity Access Score, and

3) Increase household resilience to economic instability for Kole farmers over an annual period—indicated by USAID's Household Resilience Capacity Score.

Comments
The Forest Garden approach is designed to help farmers improve water quality through conservation practices, decrease reliance on costly and environmentally harmful pesticides and fertilizers, build soil health, and conserve precious resources. In addition, the project will provide the entire community with the tools and resources to be successful in growing food and preserving the environment for years and generations to come.

This project has been funded by an anonymous donor.

If you are moved by this model, that has lifelong impact on the wellbeing of the community while protecting the environment and improving the water supply, please Donate using the button below. Your contribution will be allocated to similar projects in nearby locations.

Conclusion of Kole Forest Garden Project - Uganda

This project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Ashleigh Burgess. To read about the start of the project, CLICK HERE.

Conclusion of Kole Forest Garden Project - Uganda

The project was designed to increase food security and income of 282 families in Kole, Uganda, by transforming their degraded fields into sustainable Forest Gardens.

To see Ashleigh’s complete report, CLICK HERE

Conclusion of Kole Forest Garden Project - UgandaA summary of Ashleigh’s report is as follows:

The Kole project began in April 2016 and is now in Phase 2, and will enter phase 3 in early 2018. Water Charity's involvement with TREES' Kole, Uganda Forest Garden project formally began on December 23, 2016.

The overall goal of the Kole Forest Garden Project is to increase food security and income of 282 families in Kole, Uganda, by transforming their degraded fields into sustainable Forest Gardens. This project helps farmers and their families break the cycle of poverty while restoring 112 hectares of previously degraded land into sustainable production, while planting 1,128,000 trees over a four-year project period (approximately 600,000 trees in during the project reporting period). 282 farmers are involved in the Kole project, which includes 1,800 indirect project beneficiaries.

The Forest Garden Approach is a multi-tiered mixture of trees, shrubs, and crops that is grown on one to two acres of land. It is a system of agriculture that has been used successfully for hundreds of years around the globe. Trees have long been a vital resource for smallholder farmers since, once established, they require very little labor and resources to be productive. Centering farms around trees is not difficult, but most African farmers are resource- and technology-poor and are stuck in a losing battle growing short-term cropping to meet short-term needs.

Conclusion of Kole Forest Garden Project - UgandaFollowing are the accomplishments:

Farmer sample survey and evaluations (January/ February 2017)
TREES requires an annual sample survey to measure the economic and environmental benefits of its program. The first sample survey outside of the baseline survey was conducted in January and February of 2017. The preliminary results showed us that Kole farmers are experiencing higher food security, higher dietary diversity, and higher incomes with Forest Gardens after the first year than before they had

Gardening training (February 2017)
Gardening training is a key element to Forest Gardens. Building on compost and IPM training, the Kole farmers completed gardening training to learn improved planting techniques for their upcoming vegetable out-planting. These techniques play heavily into best garden design practices, such as incorporating permaculture techniques (e.g. building berms and swales) to keep water from running off a sloped part of their fields. The gardening training gives a forum for farmers to talk to each other about their techniques and learn from TREES technicians about how to improve planting, spacing, and general on-farm productivity with techniques like companion planting, intercropping, and crop layering.

Conclusion of Kole Forest Garden Project - UgandaFruit tree nursery training (April 2017), fruit tree nursery growing (June/ July 2017)
The farmers in Kole learned to start their own fruit tree nurseries, growing avocados, cashews, oranges, mangoes, and other local fruit trees in bare-root and traditional nurseries. Many of the techniques required to grow successful nurseries are the same as previous nursery trainings. However, fruit trees require special care as they tend to take longer to grow. Farmers learned the important techniques necessary to grow healthy seedlings, such as seed selection, scarification, and preparation, proper planting techniques, and incorporating compost and IPM into their nurseries. Planting fruit trees requires additional preparation and TREES ensures that farmers have mastered the essential techniques for upcoming out-planting, such as mulching tree bases, protecting fruit trees, and spacing of trees.

Fruit tree out-planting training (July 2017)
Farmers out-planted their fruit trees in their Forest Gardens, with special attention to spacing, sun patterns, and water flow throughout their plots.

Out-planting fruit trees (August-October 2017 )
As some fruit trees require longer in their nurseries to ensure that they are hardy enough to withstand growing in a field, a second round of fruit tree out-planting follows the earlier planting period. Kole farmers will graft these trees in 2018. The tools and materials (e.g. seeds, cuttings) that Water Charity has helped to furnish as part of this project have been used in the nursery establishment and out-planting activities.

Director and staff site visits to capture reporting data (October-December 2017)
TREES collects impact data from the year to ensure that we are hitting our target tree planting numbers and to check in with each farmer as they prepare for year three activities. Our technicians collect this impact data, along with pictures and stories of farmers, and our East Africa Director supervises the process to guarantee quality data collection. The Director meets with each farmer to hear feedback on the program and learns what is going well, how the local staff is doing, and what may need changing in the third year of the project.

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

Conclusion of Kole Forest Garden Project - UgandaConclusion of Kole Forest Garden Project - Uganda

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Los Laureles Water Project - Mexico

Los Laureles Water Project - Mexico

NPCA and WC logos

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

Los Laureles Water Project - MexicoLocation
Barrio Los Laureles, Chiapas, Mexico

Community Description
Barrio Los Laureles neighborhood is located on the far southwestern edge of the Motozintla river valley. Even though the pipe that brings water from the high country to tens of thousands of homes in the city passes through their streets, they have been told by the water authority that it is impossible for them to have access to it. For reasons no one quite knows, Los Laureles does not appear in the city register. This is why years of trying to get help has led to excuses by the authorities, who claim that their hands are tied.

Los Laureles is home to 56 households with 293 inhabitants. Thirteen homes are headed by women, some with small children and others comprised of elderly widows who live alone with no support from family members who have moved away. The standard of living is poor, with men working in Motozintla as laborers in construction or other itinerant work. Some women wash clothes by hand for families in the city, a job that pays very little.

Located about a half-hour walk from the center of town, fare on local transportation is a major expense when children go to high school. As a result of their poverty, they do not have the means to purchase the materials they need to replace the old water line and extend it higher up the canyon to a better source of water.

Los Laureles Water Project - MexicoThe neighbors are well organized and have a community gathering place where they hold meetings. They report enjoying good relations among the families, which is apparent when visiting them. The water committee has a designated person called the "fontonero" whose job it is to maintain the water system and make sure that each family is properly conserving the water.

Problem Addressed
The people live next to the river where other water associations have large hoses that take what little water there is in the dry months to other neighborhoods in other parts of the valley. They have survived by obtaining water with their own hose that was originally put in place decades ago. But now the hose is so deteriorated that it no longer serves them. Their hose crosses over the river, and up to now, they have simply hung it over an old tree and let it hang the 150 or so meters to where it reaches the other side.

During the rainy season, given the extreme weather that is more common in recent years, flashfloods have ripped the hose away many times requiring them to have to replace the expensive hose. The men have noticed that the tree is decaying and will not withstand the weight much longer.

A major deforestation project 30 years ago damaged the watershed causing what had always been perennial springs to dry up. With the rainy season just over, the families that form Los Laureles water association are worried about how they will survive the coming dry months when only a trickle of water runs down the wide river bed of hot, dry rocks and sand.

It's not easy keeping a home and family without water especially when the wind whips up the dry riverbed and deposits a fine dusting of sand on everything. When the rains stop, you cannot raise tomatoes or chilies in your patio or plant fruit bearing bushes to add nutrition to your children's diet. The chayote plants that provide so much to eat in the summer dry up in a matter of days when the rain stops coming.

Los Laureles Water Project - MexicoProject Description
This project is to build a water system for the community.

The line will be extended to total of 3 kilometers up the canyon, and the old hose will be replaced. This will allow them to reach a better place in the river where they can dig a deep pool from which they will take up the water.

They have determined that the best way to secure the hose as it crosses the wide riverbed will be to build 4 strong concrete and rebar columns that will sustain the weight of the hose when full of water while also withstanding floods during the rainy season. They will reinforce it with a strong steel cable that will support the hose as it hangs between the columns.

A more effective "pichancha", the filter that keep debris from clogging the hose that is placed in the river at the source, will be built. Typically, people use an old plastic bottle that they poke holes into with a hot nail and then strap to the end of the hose. Sexto Sol's design for a more effective filter is made of PVC parts that are available locally. It has been used successfully in other water projects saving communities much labor from having to unclog the line.

The community has many years of experience organizing work crews and working cooperatively for the benefit of the neighborhood. The people say they are ready to work together to get this work completed quickly.

Los Laureles Water Project - MexicoProject Impact
293 people will benefit from the project. There is also an elementary school in the community.

Project Director
The project will be administered by Tamara Brennan, Ph.D. of The Sexto Sol Center for Community Action, an award-winning non-profit that has had a permanent presence in the region since 1997.

This project is the 13th water system project in the ongoing Sierra Madre Water Program, a comprehensive effort to improve water access in the underserved and impoverished Sierra Madre de Chiapas region of Mexico, spanning the border with Guatemala.

Monitoring and Maintenance
The water committee will monitor the functioning of the system, and perform maintenance and repairs. Sexto Sol will periodically check to ascertain that the system is working properly.

Fundraising Target
$6,900

Funds raised in excess of the project amount will be allocated to other projects in the country.

Donations Collected to Date
$6,900

Dollar Amount Needed

$0.00 - This project has been fully funded, through the generosity of Michael and Carla Boyle, of Nelsonville, OH, USA.

Any additional donations will be directed toward new projects in Mexico.

Los Laureles Water Project - MexicoLos Laureles Water Project - Mexico

Los Laureles Water Project - Mexico

Los Laureles Water Project - MexicoLos Laureles Water Project - Mexico

 

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Molino Belén Water Project - Guatemala

Molino Belén Water Project - Guatemala

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

Location
Molino Belén del Barrio San Bartolo, Sololá, Sololá, Guatemala

Community Description
Sololá, in the western highlands of Guatemala, is the second poorest state, where 94% of people live on less than $3.00 per day. According to the Guatemalan government, 98% of the state of Sololá is indigenous Maya.

There are 240 families, with a total of 960 people, in the Molino Belén community.

Molino Belén Water Project - GuatemalaProblem Addressed
The community has a serious water problem. While there is a water distribution system set up in the community, the original water source was from the 1970s and is no longer sufficient to support the growing community. Many families go several days without water and the community has implemented a strict water management system, turning off access to the water daily, so there is only access to water for a few hours each day. With that said, many days the water does not reach all of the families in the community, and they are in dire need of a new water source.

Project Description
This project is to build an effective water system in the community. It consists of building a wall and water capture tank for a new water source, as well as providing tubing for distribution of the water to individual homes.

In July of this year, the community bought the land rights to a new water source 800 meters from their current water source. Each family had to save money for more than a year to be able to buy the land rights to the water source.

Molino Belén Water Project - GuatemalaThe community has already paid $9,655 for the water source (land rights), has paid to have an engineer assess the land and feasibility of the project ($205) and will provide the unskilled labor for the project ($2,760).

Wall construction details
The wall that will be built will be 14 meters wide (angled in a U shape) and 3.5 meters high. The wall will be planked by wood, filled with wire mesh with iron anchors, and finally filled with a cement, sand, and gravel mixture. This will ensure that all of the water is captured and filtered to the water capture tank.

Water capture tank/ditch construction details
The water capture tank will be built with bricks and cement and have a cement top to ensure that the water doesn’t get contaminated. The tank will have a cement, sand, and gravel foundation as well. The water tank will be 2.5 meters X 2.5 meters. The tank will be placed eight meters from the wall and connected with PVC tubing.

Ditches will also be dug on the side opposite the wall and water capture tank in order to filter the water. For this, the community will use rocks and PVC tubing for five ditches that are between eight and nine meters each.

Tubing
The majority of the tubing for the water system is in place already, including most of the tubing and valves to the homes. There will be, however, tubing from the water capture tank to the main water line for the community, which covers a flat distance of 75 meters. From there, tubing is required to three new homes that were not already connected to the main water line. The total of these lines is 200 meters of tubing. (All valves are metal valves that the families are required to purchase separately

Molino Belén Water Project - Guatemala

Project Impact
960 people will benefit from the project.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Carolyn Daly, RPCV, is In-Country Director for Mil Milagros, a local NGO that has as its mission to partner with communities to prevent malnutrition and hunger and improve the health and education of children in Guatemala. She is undertaking this project on her own, in the community where she lives.

Monitoring and Maintenance
The community already has in place a system for control and maintenance of their existing water source and plans to continue with the system. The town committee, 11 members elected for two-year terms, is charged with maintaining the system, checking water levels daily and turning off the water when necessary, and ensuring proper maintenance of the system. Each family with a community water source pays Q25 per year for their water to the town committee, and small repairs are paid through that fund.

The community has monthly work days, usually Sunday, to clean the tanks and repair tubing or valves that are not working properly, and all families with a community water source are expected to work or pay someone to work in their place. For larger repairs, the community meets in assembly and divides the cost among all water users evenly and gives a timeframe to ensure that each family has paid its quota.

Funding
This project has been funded through the generosity of Michael and Carla Boyle, of Nelsonville, Ohio.

Funds raised in excess of the project amount will be allocated to other projects in Guatemala

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Njie Kunda Latrine Project - The Gambia

Njie Kunda Latrine Project - The Gambia

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

Njie Kunda Latrine Project - The GambiaLocation
Njie Kunda, Fulladu West, Central River Region, The Gambia

Community Description
Until 2015, there was no school in Njie Kunda and parents felt that the nearest Lower Basic Cycle School, in Fula Bantang, was too far for young children to walk to school.

In 2015, the alkalo of the village provided GambiaRising with a list of more than 100 children from Njie Kunda, Sinchu Sambuldu, and Sinch Yerro villages who were not in school, along with a map of the land the village had set aside for a school. If GambiaRising could provide the materials (corrugate, cement, wood for roof frames, benches, blackboards), the community would build itself a two-classroom school.

In September, 2015, the school opened with two Nursery classes (Nursery 1 and Nursery 2) and two 1st grade classes. Already, it was in double shift. A total of 114 students were enrolled; 50 boys and 64 girls. The school hoped to add a 2nd grade and 3rd grade, after which students would be able to walk to Fula Bantang, where there are schools going all the way to 12th grade. In September, the 2nd grade was added, and the school's enrollment swelled to 176.

Njie Kunda Latrine Project - The GambiaProblem Addressed
While there is a village well not far from the school, there are no toilets. With 176 students currently enrolled, and plans to add a third grade next year, this is not acceptable. The school has erected a screen for partial privacy but only boys use it and students need to go to "the bush" when they need to relieve themselves.

Project Description
This project is to build three girls' pit latrine toilets and two boys' pit latrine toilets for the school. These will be located above two different pits, separated by 5 meters, for privacy.

Two handwashing stations, consisting of a stand and a water barrel with a spigot, will be located between and close to both toilet facilities.

Community members will dig the pits, mold bricks from local materials, strengthened with cement, and build the holding tanks and the houses for the toilets. They have already demonstrated that they are motivated and capable, having built the school itself in 2015.

Project Impact
181 people will benefit from the project, consisting of 176 students and 5 teachers.

Njie Kunda Latrine Project - The GambiaProject Administrator
Mike McConnell, Managing Trustee, GambiaRising, and Former Country Director for Peace Corps in The Gambia from 2007 through 2009.

Mike previously directed the Fula Bantang Senior Secondary School Well Project - The Gambia

Monitoring and Maintenance
The UpCountry Program Coordinator for GambiaRising, Kebba Sanyang, is the Principal of St. Therese's Basic Cycle and Senior Secondary Schools in nearby Fula Bantang. He has worked with the community before and oversaw the construction of the school in 2015.

Mike will oversee the project, and verify that the facilities are being used correctly and kept in the proper repair during his frequent visits to the school.

Let Girls Learn
Of the 176 students enrolled currently at Njie Kunda Lower Basic Cycle School, 106 are girls. The addition of latrines will make it easier for the girls to remain in school. While this is not an official Let Girls Learn project, it carries with it the same attributes, providing for the sanitation and hygiene needs of girls. Therefore, we designate it a Let Girls Learn + project.

This project is part of our ongoing Western Africa Water & Sanitation Program.

This project has been made possible through the generosity of an anonymous donor.

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