Hygiene education, improved sanitation facilities and safe water – the combination of these three factors brings about more lasting changes in health than a water point has on its own.
Our integrated approach ensures communities benefit from every step. Follow the Muwe village through each stage of the project...
Step 1: Village identification
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.
Muwe previously only had this tiny hand dug scoop hole, which was the only water source for 180 villagers, over half of which were children under 11.
Step 2: Community ownership
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 of Muwe gets involved, looking after their shared facilities as well as their own. This is Mrs Nosiku Matolmola with her newly built pestle and mortar stand.
Step 3: Hygiene education
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. Nosiku now uses clean water to wash her plates and cooking equipment and leaves them to dry on a drying rack, instead of being stored on the ground.
Step 4: Household sanitation
After hygiene comes sanitation. Every household commits to building a pit latrine with lid, often with a grass privacy screen constructed around it like the one pictured, a tippy-tap for hand-washing, and to stop open defecation. Any materials are locally available at no cost to ensure that even the poorest households can participate.
Field staff come back to check the facilities, to make sure they are being used and to ensure there is no open defecation. As the villagers of Muwe complied with the hygiene and sanitation checklist and built their facilities, work can begin on installing the new water-point.
Step 5: Well construction
We support the training of manual drilling teams, helping them to become independent local businesses. We contract these teams to drill all the wells we fund. When the terrain is too hard, the well is hand dug. Communities contribute sand, gravel and labour.
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.
Mrs Mukwambuyu pumps clean water to the delight of the local children!
Step 6: Household health
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.
By collecting data when can see that the risk of waterborne diseases has dropped in Muwe and Mrs Mukwambuyu’s family can enjoy better health.