I’ve spent the last week in the Mopti Region of northern Mali supporting a USAID/WASHplus WASH & Nutrition initiative led by CARE. While behavior change communication related to household- and community-level sanitation, hygiene, and infant nutrition practices is the primary focus of the project, a small sum of funds is dedicated to rehabilitating community water supplies.
The conditions in Mali, as in much of the Sahel, have attracted a plethora of international NGOs, foundations, and do-gooders of every size and intention; increasing access to safe water is a focal point of many of their interventions. The functionality of rural water supplies in Mopti is difficult to ascertain. A number of my colleagues agree that the database of water points maintained by the regional office of the Ministry of Water includes less than 50 percent of the water points existing in the countryside.
by Jonathan Annis is a sanitation and innovation specialist with the USAID-funded WASHplus project (www.washplus.org). His views do not represent those of USAID or the U.S. Government.
I recently traveled to southeastern Bangladesh to support WASHplus’s local implementing partner WaterAid as it begins a multi-year project in the coastal belt. The coastal belt is a marshy delta formed by Himalayan sediments transported thousands of miles by an extensive river network that settle as they reach the Bay of Bengal. Surface water is ubiquitous, and flooding—from tidal flows, excessive rainfall, or cyclones—is an annual event. I had never been in an environment so waterlogged. Continue reading “Self-Supply at Scale: Lessons from rural Bangladesh”
Maintaining sustainability (or longevity as I prefer to think of it) of water services requires an ecosystem of support. This ecosystem includes but is not limited to policy, financing, planning, learning, harmonization, and technology. The ecosystem is complex and nonlinear; the broad categories are highly interdependent and failure in one aspect can have a domino effect on the others. Indeed, services are delivered, like children are raised, with the support of an entire village.
I recently attended the Colorado Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Symposium, hosted by the University of Colorado Boulder. The two-day regional gathering, intended primarily for students, faculty and local WASH professionals within greater Denver WASH community, attracted 130 attendees. A closely knit and cross-disciplinary group of graduate students did a fantastic job planning and hosting the event.
For those who aren’t aware – this included me before arriving on campus – the Colorado WASH community is thriving. The Denver area is home to a blend of international NGO’s like Water for People and iDE as well as local non-profit groups with a regional or country focus like El Porvenir. Add to the mix the energy created by a dynamic group of graduate students and academics engaged in the international WASH sector and the stage was set for an engaging discussion.