Help us with our new clean water project

We have just posted a new project on Global Giving:

There are 22 villages in Batibo and almost all of them have some sort of water supply system, but they all need major redesign, repair, or extension in order to make clean drinking water available to all areas of the village even during the dry months.  Until the systems can be upgraded, residents continue to drink water from contaminated streams when necessary, which can cause typhoid, cholera, diarrhea, and other often deadly diseases.

clean water project

We were lucky enough to have a chemical engineer from France volunteer with us this spring and spend a month in Batibo to assessing what needs to be done to make all water systems operational all year round.  There’s a lot of work to be done!  We have another volunteer engineer arriving from Spain this summer, and she will make at start at preparing detailed plans for the upgrades.  We hope to be able to fund construction partly through grants and partly from a water tax that the Water Management Committee(WMC) in each village can levy.

But some villages don’t have a working WMC, and others aren’t able to successfully collect the money from the levy. Some residents don’t want to pay for something they think they can just as well get from the stream, while others, who understand the need for water purification, don’t see why they should pay for a system that is currently so inadequate to the task.  We are looking for a volunteer who will meet with various local groups to explain the importance of water purification, then help the Councils organize the WMCs and help the WMCs collect the water levy.

Once a more stable organizational and financial structure is established, we will begin installing salt-based chlorine dispensers at the point of use.  Because they use a cheap and readily available product (salt) and can purify water for 100 people for less than $200, they are an economical solution to keeping the water safe until the system upgrades can be completed.  One persistent problem has been getting residents to take the time and effort to purify the water even when the means of doing so are easily available, but recent research has shown that placing the dispensers where water is collected provides an effective reminder and social model for purification, almost doubling the degree to which purification procedures are followed.

Help us save lives!  Use this link to donate, if you can, and to share our project with your friends and family — and most especially with anyone you know who might be interested in volunteering for it.

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