Digging a well
by Rebecca Carter
Categories: Causes, Microist, People.
Photo: Water.org

On March 20, 2012, Ecorazzi will dedicate our social media status updates to Water.org in our first Microist Day. We will be joined by others, like yourself, who want to help spread the word about the water crisis and Water.org’s mission: safe water and the dignity of a toilet for all, in our lifetime. Join us.

We hear statistics that nearly one billion people don’t have access to clean water. We learn about women walking are walking for miles and hours every day to access an unprotected stream, while clean water runs 30 meters below her home. It’s not so much a problem of scarcity as it is a problem of access.

It just makes you want to go and dig them a well, doesn’t it? That will solve the problem, right?

According to Water.org, digging is the easy part. In fact, 50% of other water projects fail, due to lack of community involvement. Matt Damon explains an example of this, “We saw in Ethiopia that people are drinking this filthy water and there was this incredibly elaborate well that an Indian NGO had put in. And it was an incredibly kind thing, and clearly they’d raised money…and put in this state-of-the-art well. The problem was, when it broke down, there was no one who could fix it.”

Not being able to fix a well seems to be a common issue. In this first-hand account of living inside the water crisis, a boy shows us the same issue. The pumps have broken, but they can not figure out how to fix them.

Water.org takes a different approach. Solutions:

“If you’re coming to help me, you’re wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” – Australian Aboriginal, Lila Watson

Local Partners – The result: a solution tailored to the needs of each community, instead of a technological fix the community has no way of maintaining.

Maintain a Well

A local partner demonstrates how to maintain a well in Ethiopia.

Community Ownership – For a project to be truly successful, communities must be viewed and must view themselves as the owners of the project. That’s why Water.org engages communities at every stage and at every level – from project planning, building and financing, to ongoing project maintenance.

Appropriate Technology – Water.org projects involve locally-available, relatively simple technology. Because local technology is used, materials are readily available, which allows projects to be quickly and easily repaired.

Hygiene lessons at school

Children in India that learned hygiene songs at school.

Addressing Sanitation & Hygiene – Clean water may be available in a household, but if hand-washing and other practices are not routinely followed, the promised health benefits will not materialize. Water.org holds intensive training and motivation seminars throughout the project on the link between good health and good hygiene.

Community Meeting Water

Meeting of the CBO to discuss progress of the project and future work. Pallabi Slum, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Measuring & Monitoring Success – Water.org has an unbeatable track record of project success. “Of the Honduras Water.org project sites surveyed in July 2006, 100 percent were still operational, even though some had been in existence up to ten years, and all for at least four years. Satisfaction with the system was also extremely high, with 98% of respondents more than satisfied. ”

Join us in helping Water.org reach new eyes on March 20, 2012 when you act as a micro-activist. It’s simple: update your status on Facebook, send out a tweet, or pin a moving image about the water crisis. Our hashtags are #MicroistDay and #ShowerDrinkFlush. For much more information and detailed resources including social media messages, check out our Microist page. Or sign up here and we’ll send you everything you need to know.

About Rebecca Carter

Rebecca Carter is the Co-Founder of Ecorazzi. Rebecca was recently featured in the book Hot, Rich, and Green. She is one of 70 eco-achievers featured in Glamour magazine in April 2009, named Best of Green 2010 by Miami Magazine and Best Environmentalist by Miami New Times Best of 2008. She's raising a couple of little boys in Miami and speaks English & Spanish. Find out more at www.RebeccaCarter.net. Follow Rebecca on Twitter: @rebeccacarter

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