“We only have water a couple of times a day for this whole community,” Dieula says as she stands in the hot sun in the village of Allaie. “Usually, people come to get water for their households, but they are lucky if they can leave with one full bucket of water for the day.”
Within the area served by HAS, Allaie has long had problems accessing clean drinking water. Besides the small water point that Dieula manages, the closest option now is a one- to two-hour walk from the village up the mountains. Residents of the area – most often women and children – spend several hours a day gathering a minimal quantity of water for their families.
Recently, Dieula and some of her fellow community members contacted the HAS Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) department to request an investigation of alternative water options. “We organized ourselves because we had nowhere else to get water,” Dieula remembers. “That’s why we made a request with HAS.” The HAS team identified a site where a well could be drilled, and the team has already begun drilling.
We are proud to recognize the hard work of both the village of Allaie and the HAS WASH program for their exemplary embodiment of the 2015 World Water Day Theme: “Water and Sustainable Development.” At HAS, we believe that truly sustainable development relies on a strong foundation of community participation, which is why WASH collaborates closely with communities like Allaie when developing water infrastructure.
“When we drill a well in a community,” says Bachemir Charleron, HAS WASH educator, “we form a community committee to manage the well, and to collect monthly contributions from each household so that well users contribute to the cost of repairs in case of a problem.” Next week, Bachemir will lead a meeting with the interim committee and interested community members in Allaie to form the permanent well committee and speak about best practices in well management.
Once completed, the new well will provide easy access to clean water for the entire town of Allaie, as well as adjacent communities. Rather than the current 2 hour trek, the new site is at the very heart of the town, a few minutes’ journey at most. Dieula, the leader of the community management committee, is full of enthusiasm. “We are going to be so much better off with this well than we were before.”