Community Ownership

April 15th, 2019

How water committees ensure lasting change

We ensure that the communities that we support are present at every step of the project. This establishes a sense of ownership of their new water pump, so that the village/school will come together to protect and repair it. Community Water committees also ensure that best hygiene practices (such as hand washing and the building of simple pit latrines) are continued for years to come, preventing the spread of disease.


We partner with local councils, Village Water Zambia and communities to identify which villages and schools to work in. Field staff conduct an initial visit to each village and school to outline the Village Water programme and what the expectations are on both sides. Community ownership is the key to a successful project.


Each community sets-up a water committee to oversee the changes, to encourage participation from everyone and organise a pump maintenance rota. Every household is asked to contribute to a fund for spare parts and future repairs. Everyone in the village gets involved, looking after their shared facilities as well as their own.

“I am a treasurer in the WASH committee and on behalf of this village I would like to thank Village Water for giving us clean water and teaching us about hygiene and how diseases spread.”

Mrs Mubuyaeta Muletambo, Namuntondo Village


Hygiene education sessions cover the link between open defecation and waterborne diseases, the importance of hand-washing, keeping utensils clean, food storage and good personal hygiene. Knowledge helps people to change their behaviour.

Members of the hygiene and sanitation committee are happy! The training was good and we learned a lot. I think it is all important – bath shelters, a clean compound, latrines with a slab, washing our hands after defecating and keeping our pots off the ground away from animals.

Feliz Mina, Nhamandinda Village


Manual drilling teams install the water point. Communities contribute sand, gravel and labour to the installation of their pump, ensuring that they are invested in the project.


The drilling teams train the community in basic pump maintenance and we leave them basic tools. A hand-pump can last for up to 15 years, and the benefits are immediate.

“The pump helped a lot. Water is near now. It has also just been repaired by the committee and VW together. Now with the pump there are fewer diseases and children in the village go to school.”

Mr Richard Maimbolwal Kayunia, Kaninga Village


Local partners carry on visiting after the project finishes, in order to assess benefits and to gather data on the impact of the project. We monitor pump functionality, sanitation facilities and most importantly, household health. This data allows us to track progress and challenges over time.