Safe Water Better Health Initiative Comes to Fruition
03 Sep, 2012
It is no secret that a lack of access to safe drinking water plagues Pakistan’s rural poor. In fact, most of the diseases and ailments which the rural population suffers from (cholera, dysentery, anemia, typhoid, hook worm etc.) can be attributed to lack of access to clean water. More than 600 children die each day in Pakistan as a result of water borne diseases. To make matters worse, the floods of 2010 and 2011 contaminated the existing water supply in the worst affected districts along the Indus even further. So when in 2011 the IKF distributed relief in Lower Sindh, the Young Village Volunteers (YVVs’) brought us feedback from their communities asking us to address this problem.
What has followed is the first of its kind project in Pakistan; the Safe Water Better Health initiative. Under this program, the IKF, in collaboration with its Young Village Volunteers has established 1,000 Community Water Points (CWPs), where local residents can use the recently installed IKF hand pumps to fulfill their basic water needs. Distinguishing characteristics of the CWPs’ include a shelter that is built by the YVVs’ to provide shade, a cemented housing built around the hand pump with a drain that ensures water does not accumulate at the CWP.
However, the most important component to ensure longer term impact is the creation of awareness. To this end, the IKF has conducted Water Workshops in each district where CWPs’ have been established. These workshops achieved 3 tangible results. Firstly, YVVs’ were trained on how to test water and to make the determination of whether or not the water is fit for drinking. If if is, they are instructed to mark the hand pump with a green sticker, if not, a red sticker. Secondly, the YVVs’ were made responsible for preliminary identification of locations for installation of the CWPs’ as well as their day to day maintenance. Finally, the most important thing of all. It is anticipated that access to safe drinking water through the installation of CWPs’, when coupled with the basic education being imparted to the villagers (by their own Water Workshop trained YVVs’) the incidence of water borne diseases will drop noticeably. Stay tuned as we will continue to update you all regarding the progress of the Safe Water Better Health initiative.