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CLAIRE CHAMARAT's Fundraiser:

THE WAY TO SUSTAINABLE WATER AND SANITATION

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CLAIRE CHAMARAT

THE STORY:

Last year I was lucky enough to spend five months working as a communication volunteer with Water For People in Uganda as part of a Development Project Management training course. Although I’m French and I’ve lived in Paris for most of my life I’m used to traveling the world. But this trip was nothing like what I’d done before. For a start I was truly impressed with the professionalism of the Water For People staff in Denver, both before and during my assignment. For example the first thing they asked was what MY needs were in order to make my experience as useful as possible. Well, all I’d heard up till then from other organizations where I’d applied was what THEIR needs were and could I fulfill them! The reason I’m telling you this is that to me it’s a perfect illustration of Water For People approach: look at people’s needs, see if you can fulfill them, with whom and how, then start putting together your project, monitoring all the stages and putting enough resources on its evaluation. The whole thing may seem obvious but that’s unfortunately not the way it’s always done, thus the many unsustainable development projects that we still see here and there. And of course there was the Uganda team, most of them engineers, both hardworking and so much fun to be with (yes, you can have it all!). They took me around all their projects all over the country, spent as much time as was necessary so that I could understand how the whole thing worked. And there was also the warm welcome, the long discussions about our different lives and cultures, the hilarious moments with the WFP sanitation Uganda team (alias “Team Poo”, alias “The Three Musketeers”), the internal staff retreat, the unforgettable surprise beach party they put for me before I left… and much more. Another thing that makes Water For People special and their work so sustainable is their “Water As A Business” and “Sanitation As A Business” models, encouraging private sector involvement in improving access to water services and pushing forward the private sector as the main driver of sanitation services at a reasonable cost and with household buy-in. To me, and to many others I guess, this is the only way to sustainability. So please join me in celebrating Water For People 25 years of outstanding work and help them spread their sustainable water and sanitation models for another 25 years (at least). Give whatever you can. I’d rather have a 100 of you donate 10 $ than have only 2 give 500 $, because spreading the word is as important as money is (now if a 100 of you want to give 500 $, please be my guest: I’ll be happy to increase the target!).

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