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Water projects – that sounds pretty simple. However, there is a whole science hiding behind this title. These are some of the most frequently asked and answered questions regarding our projects in general.
What does WASH stand for?
WASH stands for WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene. Water-projects are developed in a holistic approach – always in connection to the creation of sanitation and education of the population about hygiene and health.
What kind of wells are there?
There are different types of wells. In the project areas we encounter different conditions that require different types of wells. One important factor is, for example, the groundwater level.
The most common are shallow wells with a hand pump system. These wells are drilled up to approx. 80m meters deep in order to get to the groundwater. The water is transported to the surface of the earth with negative pressure via hand pump systems.
If the groundwater reserves are deeper, so-called deep wells are drilled, which transport the water to the surface with a motorized pump system (often solar-powered).
What kind of toilets are being built?
There are also different types of sanitation. Usually, Pit latrines, i.e. standing toilets, are built. Concrete is embedded in a hole in the ground to protect the groundwater from pollution and the hole or the pit is covered from above by a ceramic base (or simply a cover made of concrete). Latrines work without water. Hand washing facilities will be set up in front of the latrines so that hands can be cleaned with soap and water.
What happens during a hygiene training?
In hygiene trainings, people in the project areas are trained in various hygienic topics. The range is very wide: Why should open defecation be avoided? How do I wash my hands properly and why is it important? How do I handle drinking water during transport and storage in such a way that it remains germ-free? The trained people should then pass on their knowledge and act as hygiene ambassadors.
How is a WASH-project selected?
The first impulse for a project usually comes from the respective country in which Viva con Agua is involved. The local population, in association with locally based organizations and authorities, approaches Welthungerhilfe or other local organizations to register their needs for WASH (“demand-driven projects“).
Our local partners carefully examine all project proposals and create a selection of projects that fit Viva con Agua. These are presented to VcA and selected according to criteria such as sustainability, integration of the population in the project work and the local political situation. All parameters for the selection of WASH projects are anchored in the WASH strategy of Viva con Agua.
How does Viva con Agua ensure the sustainability of the projects?
When choosing WASH projects, Viva con Agua places great value on sustainability and the principle of “helping people to help themselves”. So-called WASH committees are formed for each project, and they assume responsibility for ensuring that the WASH infrastructure is operated and maintained. In addition, the responsible state agencies such as water ministries and district administrations are always involved in the project work, because these institutions are ultimately politically responsible for supplying the population.
In addition, VcA is in constant contact with local partner organizations. These provide status reports on the progress of the project at regular intervals. On repeated project trips, VcA gets a picture for itself on site and maintains an intensive exchange with all project participants and the local community.
Through its WASH project coordinator, VcA also carries out its own monitoring in the projects.
In project design, we focus on sustainable services in order to design the WASH projects “for everyone, everywhere and forever”. Welthungerhilfe’s “Sustainable Services Initiative”, which Viva con Agua helped to establish, is a systemic approach to improve the sustainability of WASH projects through holistic project planning and project implementation. Your goal is to solve complex challenges by strengthening systems. The WASH systems are divided into nine functional areas. Only in their interaction do they enable the water to flow constantly!
How much money actually reaches the projects?
The money we receive through our actions and donations is split: 80% goes directly to the project in South Africa, the remaining 20% are kept to finance our administrative costs so the organisation can keep on running.