WASH in Villages
Most of our projects are concentrated in the rural areas of Malawi, in communities where access to clean water, safe sanitation, and hygiene information is a major challenge.
By utilizing a community-led approach to development, Freshwater Project International engages villages in the holistic empowerment of people. FPI 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.
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.
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.
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.