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  • CCW_biosand_filter_may_2012

    Notes from the Field: Pilot Testing the Community Choices for Water in Ghana

    By Dr. John Akudago, Senior Research Associate

    May 16, 2012

    Over the past 12 months, the Pacific Institute – in partnership with its West Africa partners NewEnergy, World Vision, Rural Aid, Pronet North, and Water and Sanitation for Africa – has been conducting learning sessions to develop the Community Choices decision support tool to help communities and NGOs make informed decisions for  their water, sanitation, and hygiene challenges. The internet-based prototype includes many field-proven technologies and is designed to empower water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) professionals and communities to choose technologies based on their responses to a set of questions that reflect cultural, socio-economic, hydrological, and religious factors. …»

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  • CCW_zouzugu_water_supply

    Notes from the Field: Household Water Treatment Could Improve or Maintain Access to Water Coverage

    By Dr. John Akudago, Senior Research Associate

    May 7, 2012 

    I heard the good news from the Director of Water and Sanitation for Africa, Mr. Idrissa Doucoure, at a sustainability framework workshop in Acrra, Ghana, on April 3, 2012: Ghana had achieved its Millennium Development Goal for water supply. But, Mr. Idrissa was quick to add that a high percentage of water coverage and access to an “improved source” of water today did not mean that the goal of “sustainable access to safe drinking water” has been met for the years ahead. …»

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  • Mr. Nachinab pilot-tests the alpha version of the tool with one household. Based on recommendations on where to acquire parts for the chosen technologies, households were able to get potable water to drink.

    Notes from the Field: Pilot Testing the Community Choices for Water in Ghana and Burkina Faso

    By Dr. John Akudago, Senior Research Associate

    April 12, 2012 

    After 12 months of conducting learning sessions in Ghana and Burkina Faso to develop the Community Choices for Water (CCW) tool, an alpha version of the tool has been tested in Cheshei community. The Pacific Institute and NewEnergy field staff tested the tool in the community between March 19 and 29 to examine how households could be empowered with knowledge of water treatment technologies to solve their acute water shortage challenges that compel them to drink unclean water. …»

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  • Above: Participants from the Sabtenga community participate in the learning session.

    Notes from the Field: Alpha Version of Community Choices for Water Decision-Support System to be Piloted in Ghana

    By Dr. John Akudago, Senior Research Associate

    March 12, 2012 

    Over the last year, the Pacific Institute has been conducting learning sessions in Ghana and Burkina Faso in the development and dissemination of a decision-support system to empower communities and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) practitioners to make informed choices on WASH technologies and approaches. I facilitated nine learning sessions to understand the key needs of residents, NGOs, and local governments in Ghana and Burkina Faso, and on the role that a decision-support tool could play in improving water …»

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  • Notes from the Field: How Can We Promote Sustainable WASH Facilities at the Community Level? Naba Kuliga in Burkina Faso Joins the Discussion.

    by John Akudago, Senior Research Associate
    November 14, 2011

    I took a recent trip to Burkina Faso to conduct a learning session on the WASH decision-making tool (www.washchoices.org) currently being developed by Pacific Institute.  I arrived in the town of Sabtenga, a rural community located in the Northern part of Burkina Faso about 50 kilometers north of Ouagadougou.

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    Sa Majesty Naba Kuliga, Chief of Sabtenga, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

    As part of the traditional custom, visitors intending to hold meetings within the community must first report to the Chief.  I arrived at his house about 300m north of the village market to find the 66 year old community chief, Sa Majesty Naba Kuliga, seated in front of his house.  After welcoming us and listening to our mission, he smiled and gave blessing for the meeting. The photos below shows Naba Kuliga.

    As I prepared to leave for the meeting grounds, Naba Kuliga requested a private conversation with me. Unsure of what he had to tell me, I moved back to squat before him as local culture demands.  According to him, of the town’s 7 hand-pumps wells, only 4 of them functioned for a population of 4,315.  “It takes over 3 hours to get water from the hand-pumps. Fighting among the women and children at the pump site is normal and a daily activity they have to undergo”.  I knew 7 hand-pumps for 4,315 people translated to over 600 people per hand-pump which was still not enough compared to the standard of 300 people per hand pump. Worst of all, 3 of the hand pumps had been broken down for a very long time and were not repairable. I asked the chief why they did not have enough water. Naba Kuliga responded by saying, “When we are assisted with water or sanitation facilities, the providers forget to ask us why we need the water or toilet for and how can we use the water or the toilet to sustain the facility provided.”  He asked, “how are we to survive and continue farming on three months of rainfall, especially when the rains are not regular. Not to mention, having any extra money to spend towards the maintenance of the hand-pumps.”  Though they knew what to do to maintain the hand-pumps (buying part and seeking for a mechanic to repair), the problem lay in finding the means to do it.As the meeting with the community progressed, it became clear that the community had been given hygiene messages and had been educated and provided with ecological sanitation facilities, but those messages and facilities provided to them are not sustainable. The community members could not practice whatever they had learned from their educators because they lacked water to maintain personal hygiene and clean the toilets. They had no knowledge of other technologies that required less cleaning.  In order to make their contributions towards sustaining the water facilities at the village, women would clear the little forest for firewood to sell and generate income. “This was not only an issue of desertification, but it forced them to be dependent on external assistance,” the village chief said.  Naba Kuliga thinks if NGOs and development partners want to succeed with sustainable community WASH facilities, they must explore beyond just providing single-use water for the communities but rather engage the communities in a dialogue to understand the needs of the communities and design a facility that could take care of multiple needs. He said helping the communities to fish would promote sustainability rather than just providing the fish for them. Based on these ideas, people who were present at the learning session think empowering communities would release trapped knowledge and would promote their ability to contribute during discussions towards providing the community with water and sanitation facilities.

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