BENEFITING: GPF APOSTOLIC MISSIONS NETWORK
In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year just walking for water. Women and children usually bear the burden of water collection, walking miles to the nearest source, which is unprotected and likely to make them sick.
Time spent walking and resulting diseases keep them from school, work and taking care of their families.
Along their long walk, they are subjected to a greater risk of harassment and sexual assault. Hauling cans of water for long distances takes a toll on the spine and many women experience back pain early in life.
With safe water nearby, women are free to pursue new opportunities and improve their families’ lives. Children can earn their education and build the future of their communities.
Communities / Economies:
In Africa alone, the overall economic loss due to lack of safe water and sanitation is $28 billion, or about 5% of GDP. In areas where gathering water is impossible, small-scale private water distributors charge full market prices, forcing the poorest households to spend up to 11% of their income on life's most basic need. In most cases this water is most likely contaminated if it has been collected from unprotected rivers or ponds.
Water contributes to poverty alleviation in many ways – through sanitation services, water supply, affordable food and enhanced resilience of poor communities to disease, climate shocks and environmental degradation.
(3rd UN World Water Development Report, 2009)
Feeding our world takes up to 90% of our freshwater withdrawals but many people in developing nations still don't have access to enough water for irrigation. When a water project is built in a community, members can often use the new water source to grow small gardens near their homes and secure their own food supply. Self-sufficient households are less affected by external conflict, famine or inadequate government services.
In Pamoja Water and sanitation hope initiative project, all members ; men and women , will be engaged in the construction and maintenance of their water sources. When complete, 6-10 community members will be appointed to the Water Committee and will be responsible for overseeing the functionality of the water point.
Water Committees are often the first chance for women to step into elected leadership roles. This new responsibility is hoped to restore dignity, initiative and equality to community members.
By 2050, the world's population is estimated to grow by three billion and 90% of this growth will be in the developing world. Unless sustainable water solutions are scaled fast, regions already stressed for safe water sources will be over capacity.
Pamoja Water and sanitation hope initiative looks forward to expand its reach to meet these demands and will not stop until every person has safe water to drink.
The walk for water that used to take everyone three hours is hoped to take 15 minutes. And the water is safe to drink.
There will be a hygiene worker who will be expected to educate communities on the importance of sanitation. The communities will be facilitated to builds latrines and sets up hand washing equipments.
To be able to over see the community water source or point, a community member will have to join the Water Committee. This will be a big opportunity for many women to take up first local leadership positions.
Communities will use the extra time and new water source to start a vegetable garden and feed their families. Extra food will then be sold to the markets.
Children will spend more time in school instead of walking for water. They will study and graduate to become teachers, hygiene workers or business owners etc.
Nearby villages will then learn how water transforms communities from successful village projects. They will then petition for a well in their village, and the cycle will start again.
Water as a catalyst / disease prevention:
Pamoja water and sanitation hope initiative project focuses on life’s most basic need - water. But to significantly cut down disease rates in the communities targeted for this, water is just the first step.
Sanitation training trainings will be required in all communities where water sources / points will be constructed.
In some communities, latrines will be built and at the very least simple hand-washing equipments made with readily available materials will be promoted
Clean water can greatly alleviate the community’s disease burden, but only with education and hygienic practice. Pamoja water and sanitation hope initiative project is committed to using water as a gateway to sanitary living.
Even in regions prone to natural disasters, water infrastructure has proven to be a smart investment, sometimes reducing flood damage or disease rates among survivors. Clean water transforms lives, communities and generations -and at a surprisingly low cost.