Pictured: Community members celebrate their new water system.
Pictured: A community watches on as a water springs from their new well.
Building water systems is important, but Africa is littered with non-functioning water systems.
According to the International Institute for Environment and Development, 50,000 water supply points are not functioning across rural Africa. World Vision partnered with the University of North Carolina (UNC) to conduct research on sustainability of water systems in West Africa. The UNC study found that only 50-70% of wells were still functional after 20 years. These communities are then right back where they started: Drinking dirty water.
Except for wells dug by World Vision. Nearly 80% of wells drilled by World Vision are still working, even after 20 years.
The study also found water system functionality declined with age. Except for World Vision wells, which are just as likely to be working after 18 year as after 2.
Pictured: Water Management Committee log book which records fees for maintenance.
The reason World Vision wells stand the test of time is because of the way we do things. For each water system built, a Water Management Committees is set up to maintain the water systems. The committees are made up of community members and they are responsible for collecting affordable maintenance fees so that when a water system breaks down they can arrange for it to be repaired as quickly as possible. The study validates our approach, showing that water system functionality is 200% higher when there is an identifiable committee in place.
In Chadakori, Niger, all three of their water systems are still functioning and the Water Management Committee are thrilled to show they have approximately NZ$1,800 in the maintenance account. This is more than enough to provide regular maintenance and replace broken parts. When asked whether the system had ever broken down, they said yes, but they were able to repair it using the skills they learned from World Vision and with the money from their account.
In the middle of the Saharan desert World Vision has helped provide long term access to water, and given capacity to a community to look after its people.