October 2012 Archives

Looking Back: Burkina Faso - Personal Stories

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When possible, we love to include personal stories from members of the communities affected by African Well Fund Projects. Here are a couple from the AWF's first project in Burkina Faso:

Binta Kabore, pictured carrying the basin in the photo below lives in Gbegue, a hamlet of Karangasso-Vigue.

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She says:

"Thanks to Africare and AWF for having constructed this well that has provided a better quality of water than that of the traditional well we were using before. In addition to our present safe drinking water, we are also using clean water for our gardening purposes thanks to the pump with pedals which the project also granted to us. May God give to Africare and AWF the necessary funds to continue helping us and other people."

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Millogo Demesoun, the villager on the right in the photo below is the recipient of a gardening site in Gbegue.

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He says:

"The actions of the project are benefiting each person in our district. Indeed, women and men were traveling long distances (3 km) to fetch drinking water using the traditional wells. Farmers, including myself, were excited to garden, but unfortunately, in November, the wells were running dry. Thanks to AWF and Africare we were provided with 2 wells. The people of our district now have safe drinking water, water for their gardens to plant in any season and as a result vegetables are constantly available. Thanks to the pumps with pedals, fetching water becomes easy. Heartfelt thanks to the donors, and may God give them more financial means so that they can always help us".

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Looking Back: The African Well Fund in Burkina Faso, 2007

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The land of the upright people. Burkina Faso.

Like so many of its West African neighbors, this land-locked country must constantly negotiate the needs of the agricultural activity which occupies nearly 80 percent of the population with a climate which provides insufficient rainfall, the need to produce commodity crops with the nutritional demands of its citizens.


An Africare study found that in Karangasso-Vigue- both one of Burkina's best performing departments agriculturally, and the department with the highest rate of malnutrition in children, 95.7 percent of farmers raised cotton or maize. This lack of crop diversity led to the neglect of other crops such as sesame, cowpea, and garden vegetables which enhance food security and lead to better nutritional outcomes. In the department 42 percent of children under the age of five were underweight, and 40.7 percent were stunted.


The same study found that the 70,441 inhabitants of Karangasso-Vigue were served by only 119 wells. Each well had to serve 591 inhabitants rather than the 250 it was designed for, and many simply could not take the strain, with water-points often drying up during the dry season.

In 2007, The African Well Fund teamed up with Africare to construct seven wells between three villages. The purpose of the wells would be two-fold - they would provide much-needed water to the inhabitants of the three chosen villages, but they would also allow irrigated gardens to be constructed, giving villagers an opportunity to grow a more diverse range of crops for everyday consumption, even in the dry season. The sites chosen took women into special consideration, as the construction of new water-points would allow them to walk a shorter distance for water, and also to help with raising crops that would improve the health of their children.


A traditional well used by village women.


The new modern well constructed by Africare & the community.

In each of the villages - Karangasso-Vigue, Kouremagafesso, and Diosso- the community worked with Africare to dig the wells and build up the gardens. New irrigated canals controlled by pedal pumps replaced the inefficient watering of the gardens by ladle, and manure pits were established to provide organic fertilizer for the crops.



Villagers preparing the new gardens.

As the work progressed, Africare conducted educational outreach as well as monitoring the health of children of the affected villages. Over 1400 villagers benefited from the new sources of water, nearly 80 percent of children gained weight, and 90 percent of children had increased vitamin A levels after the introduction of the new crops.



Result! New, irrigated community gardens.

Stay tuned to hear personal stories from the communities served!

Looking Back: The African Well Fund in Malawi, 2011

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Known as much for the warmth of its people as for its amazing landscapes, Malawi is a stunningly beautiful country. Though historically underdeveloped, reforms in recent years have allowed for real economic growth, as well as a slow improvement in environmental and health concerns.

Malawi's economy is primarily reliant on agriculture, however farmers were for many years often confronted with natural disasters which result in food shortages. In recent years the government has been able to subsidize fertilizers resulting in greater crop yields and allowing Malawi to become a net food exporter.

Still, many Malawians live in poverty, a poverty which is exacerbated by a lack of basic infrastructure. For some, access to clean water has increased. In 2006 it was estimated that as much as 74 percent of the population had a safe water point. However, vulnerable populations remain. During the same period, schools in the Mulanje District were well behind the national average as far as access to water was concerned. Eighty percent of schools and their surrounding communities lacked safe drinking water, with most relying on unprotected water sources such as streams and swamps for their water. In addition, students had limited access to latrines, with an average of 140 students sharing every toilet. The recommended ratio is one toilet for every twenty-five students. To make matters worse, there were also few facilities for hand washing.


Accordingly, Mulanje had some of the worst outbreaks of cholera. In a country where 24 percent of the mortality rate is attributed to diarrhea, proper water and sanitation facilities are of paramount importance.

In 2011, The African Well Fund teamed up with a number of donors, including Proctor and Gamble, H20 for Life, and Water and Sanitation Action Group to implement a WASH program in the Mulanje region of Malawi and the Dodoma Region of Tanzania through partner Africare.

The project aimed to reduce morbidity and mortality due to diarrhea and other waterborne diseases by focusing on providing students with safe drinking water and making sanitation and hygiene facilities accessible.


Fifteen schools in Mulanje were targeted for the project, serving a total of 37,212 children and 8,860 households from surrounding communities. 

To address the lack of safe drinking water, the project provided for the procurement of over 2,000,000 PUR water purification tablets. Sourced locally, the tablets were to be distributed to schools which had no sources of potable drinking water while sustainable, long-term water solutions were either built or rehabilitated. All excess tablets were to go to students to use at home, with students without clean water sources particularly targeted.

Each school's sanitation facilities were also examined, with all of them receiving newly constructed latrines. Members of the local community mobilized to provide the bricks, sand, and other materials necessary for construction, while local artisans helped to build the toilets.

Along with these more material contributions, students and teachers received training in both how to use the PUR tablets as well as proper hygiene. UNICEF has recorded success in using children as agents of change in the home. Children who learn about environmental and hygiene issues at school don't keep this new knowledge to themselves. Instead, they bring their lessons home, sharing them with their own families and communities, letting what they've learned inform their lives, and in so doing transforming the lives of those far removed from the school-yard.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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