Freshwater Project International projects are implemented utilizing the following process:
Step 1: Community Request
FPI sees water as an entryway to community intervention and empowerment. Most projects are concentrated in the rural areas of Malawi in schools, villages and health centers. Freshwater Project International has found that when the project is community-driven, there is a much higher success rate of participation by the community and the facilities are sustainable.
Step 2: Needs Assessment
Freshwater Project International meets with village, school or health facility representatives and also consults the local health center and the national office of public health to conduct a thorough assessment of the water, sanitation and hygiene needs of a community.
By evaluating first-hand, Freshwater Project International is able to assess the most useful and cost-effective technologies and services to meet the needs of the community.
Communication with local government health officials helps in many ways: it reduces project duplication; helps to meet the needs of the most needy communities; and keeps communications open with the central government.
Step 3: Community Contribution
The community must demonstrate its commitment to any water or sanitation project by a willingness to supply locally available materials and provision of unskilled labor required for the project. The contribution from the community will typically include things like manufacturing clay bricks, supplying sand and concrete aggregate, digging any pits required for latrines and other manual tasks. This involvement serves to empower the community and enhance a sense of community ownership of the project.
Step 4: Community Water Point Committee
Community involvement is essential to all water projects facilitated by Freshwater Project International. All projects have a Water Point Committee made up of community members comprised of at least 60% women. The Water Point Committee is empowered to take charge of the construction, oversight and maintenance of the well/pit latrines – including the collection of donations to buy new parts when necessary.
Step 5: Funding
Once the need of the community and their commitment to the project work has been confirmed, Freshwater Project International raises the funds for the project. Freshwater Project International is a registered U.S. 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax deductible as allowable by law.
Step 6: Implementation
If funding is forth-coming, Freshwater Project International works to facilitate the practical implementation of the project.
Step 7: Community Training
Freshwater Project International highly values education of the community and they have many different ways to go about it. We often fund classroom workshops for students and communities in hand-washing and hygiene and community-based management (CBM) training for the Water Point Committee.
Step 8: Community Handover and Celebration
The communities take ownership of the facility from project inception to a ceremonial ‘handover’ of the facilities to the community. Once the community has proven their dedication to the project through participation in the Water Point Committee; supplying all the local materials such as gravel, sand and brick; and supplying labor (from the entire community, not just the committee); the well or sanitation facility “becomes theirs.” When a well finally delivers water for the first time to a community there is a great chorus of cheers and whistles as everyone celebrates this new resource for the community.
Step 9: Follow-up
Freshwater Project International works with its in-country NGO partners to regularly return to the communities to check on wells and latrines. They also keep in touch with the Public Health officials and the local Health Center to monitor illnesses in the area. Our partners monitor the success of the program by determining if the well or sanitation facility was installed properly, maintained properly, and if the Water Point Committee was successfully trained and is able to maintain the facility (even if members left or died). Ultimately they look at the rate of disease and the attendance of school by the girls – who are burdened with the chore of hauling water from distance sources if there is no well in their village. They also check if hand washing is being practiced all community members.