We often take for granted how easy it is for us to run the tap and get clean water whether it is in our homes or in our workplace. In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year walking for water according to the U.N. Development Programme. This burden is usually on the women and children, walking miles to the nearest source, which is unprotected and likely contaminated.
The amount of time they spend walking to get to the source of water and the diseases from drinking contaminated water keeps them from school, work and taking care of their families. The long walk to the water source is not without risk, they may be subject to harassment and sexual assault. Having access to clean water nearby gives women the chance to pursue new opportunities and improve their families’ lives. It provides them with the key resource required to grow market gardens, meaning they can secure their own food supply as well as earn an income which can be reinvested to sustain the market garden for the future. Water Committees are often the first chance for women to step into elected leadership roles. Children are given the freedom to pursue an education as they are not spending time walking for water.
Wellfound support communities to gain access to safe drinking water and hygienic sanitation facilities. Our approach is not to give handouts, but to empower people to meet their own water sanitation and hygiene needs. Wellfound work on a three step program:
- We provide technical assistance to the community for the construction of the latrine. This is their first task as they may decide not to do this once they have the well.
- We then train communities to install, manage and maintain the water pump. We provide them with the tools, equipment and expertise required
- With the help of our agricultural manager, we teach the women how to create market gardens. These market gardens mean that the women are able to provide fruit and vegetables for their families as well as able to sell the excess at the market, giving them an income.
By giving communities ownership Wellfound provide them with the opportunity to take the first steps out of poverty independently and grow their communities, self-esteem, self-respect and self-worth.