Water & Sanitation
Africare Technical Capacity:
Water & Sanitation
Africare’s water strategy emphasizes the integration of water, sanitation and hygiene. Through strategic partnerships, water projects develop community capacity, employ appropriate technologies, promote sustainability and seek gender equity.
Water, sanitation, hygiene and community empowerment must be addressed integrally:
This involves provision of clean water, hygienic handling, storage and consumption of clean water, healthy disposal of human waste and other potential contaminants, hygiene education, hand washing and community organization. Africare democratically organizes village water user committees, which oversee water project implementation and ultimately water point maintenance and repair. This often involves institution of water use fees to establish a water point/pump maintenance and repair fund. These committees or separate committees are trained and charged with community hygiene education.
Consultation with villages and local government to:
identify available physical and human resources and identify resource gaps
identify village priority issues to be addressed: e.g. water, health, nutrition, education, incomes
strategically agree on interventions
consider appropriateness and sustainability of proposed interventions
consider gender consequences and concerns of proposed interventions
agree and codify responsibilities of all partners (villagers, local government, Africare, other institutions)
Commitment to effort through successful implementation:
Africare routinely develops, strengthens and nurtures long-term partnerships with national, regional and local governments and villages, often for more than fifteen years. Africare is not simply project-focused, and does not forget about a community when one project’s funding comes to an end. Africare maintains country offices in African countries, which support project implementation, while developing and nurturing the partnerships. More than 95% of Africare’s country and project staff are citizens of the countries in which they work. This promotes respect and appreciation of critical cultural, economic and technological issues, for which an understanding is essential to project success.
Addressing water requirements for all purposes (drinking, washing, agriculture, environment):
Africare believes that given the limited supply of fresh water and the degradation of water recharge functions due to unsound natural resources management and agricultural practices, holistic watershed protection and enhancement are essential to assuring the long-term availability of ground and surface water for growing populations.
Africare promotes “conservation agriculture”, which stresses organic crop inputs and soil and water conservation measures including agro-forestry plantings on cropland, contour ridging, planting of grasses and the use of crop residues to slow runoff.
Africare promotes low-tech treadle pumps and drip irrigation. Gravity-flow irrigation schemes are promoted over costly fossil fuel powered irrigation pumping systems.
Africare Water Projects – Small and Large:
Africare’s most frequent water interventions are village-based water, sanitation and hygiene activities often added-on and integrated into larger food security and health programs. By implementing small-scale water interventions in the context of larger programs, Africare benefits from already developed local government partnerships, extension staff, vehicles and administrative and financial systems. This greatly reduces the per unit financial cost of the water systems.
While the majority of Africare water projects are low-tech wells, springs, rainwater roof catchments and boreholes, Africare has the proven capacity to implement large-scale water systems. When designing and implementing more technologically complex projects, Africare respects the same principles outlined above regarding community-driven design, community ownership, appropriateness of technology, sustainability and cultural and gender sensitivity. In these larger projects, Africare hires technical experts or sub-contracts appropriate engineering firms, while maintaining control of the project’s community-based approach.
Selected Africare Water Projects:
Spring catchments, bore hole drilling and repair and hand-dug wells: Angola, Ethiopia, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Tanzania, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Chad.
Water & Sanitation in Schools: Ghana, Malawi, Zimbabwe
Multi-site large scale gravity water distribution systems: Rwanda
Mechanized multi-regional borehole drilling: Ethiopia
Large-scale river-based irrigation schemes: Niger, Mali and Mauritania
Refugee Camp Water & Sanitation Systems: Chad and Rwanda