HOW WE WORK

We are an implementing organization with field operations in Central Mozambique. Our field staff and leadership is all local Mozambican. Meet our staff here.

We conduct projects between the dry season months of March - October

[drilling in the wet season is not wise]. 

 

The core portion of our project takes place over a 2-month period

(our Monitoring & Evaluation is a long-term commitment after handing over the project).

We conduct 4 community projects simultaneously over that 2-month period.

HERE IS A RELATIVE TIMELINE OF HOW OUR PROJECTS UNFOLD

WITH THE WATER UNDERGROUND MODEL.

PHASE 1
PLANNING
Identification of Vulnerable Regions

We work closely with the local government structures that have identified their at-risk areas but are unable to address them. In an effort to align with the government's efforts for development, we use these communities as our jumping off point.

Primary and secondary surveys are conducted not only to determine the vulnerability of the community but also gain insight into the personality of the community and what their potential emotional buy-in will be.

 

Communities even submit proposal requests expressing why they need the project and how they will be involved - which creates drive and reveals the character of the community. 

Learn more about our survey process.

Community Assessment Survey
The Entire Project Is Centered In The School

Schools are the center of the communities in rural Mozambique, so all are projects are placed in the school. 

A group of new community leaders is formed who become the guardians of the project. They are trained over 2 months to build self-reliance, create ownership and ensure sustainability.

 

Learn more about the Water Oversight Committee.

Formation of the
Water Oversight Committee

The school is on neutral land, nobody owns it directly, and it also offers the best environment to provide water to the most amount of people in a day. The water well is not owned by the school and the entire community of 1,500-2,000 people access this clean water point at any time. 

PHASE 3
INFRASTRUCTURE
WATER WELL DRILLED
AND MANUAL HAND PUMP INSTALLED

Machines are brought in and the borehole is drilled - taking anywhere from 1-7 days. We can drill through sand and rock. This will be a clean, safe, and reliable water source for the entire community to use.

 

Wells are drilled reaching depths of 30-100m and fixed with the Afridev manual hand pump unless another technology is necessary.

 

Water is tested and well is fenced off from animals.

 

Here is what it looks like when a community  gets water for the first time.

A complete sanitation center is constructed at the school with boys, girls, and teachers latrines, feminine hygiene rooms, and a handwash station. 

 

Centers are at a minimum of 50 meters downslope from water well. Latrines are pour flush toilets into twin septic tanks. 

 

NEW SCHOOL SANITATION CENTER
IS CONSTRUCTED
13,000 sq/ft GARDEN BUILT WITH GRAVITY-FED BUCKET DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEMS

A large garden is built in the school that uses improved seeds and low-cost technologies that improve yields and save time. Combining the theoretical and practical practices this garden influences food security and income generation.

 

The community commits to building the garden fence themselves. This is a working garden that generates revenue to be used for the sustainability of the projects, but it is also a reference garden where the entire community can learn new agricultural techniques and principals. 

Check out the gardens and the Drip Irrigation Systems

PHASE 4
PRACTICAL TRAINING
(one month intensive training, support continued long after)
Hand-Washing Practices

Proper hand-washing can decrease the spread of diarrheal disease by 40%. School children are taught best hand-washing practices and behaviors are monitored by teachers and Hygiene Specialists. Water Underground staff supervises the entire process. Students are given assignments to explain the benefits to their parents.

Learn more about this

After training and implementing the CLTS approach, Water Underground supports the community as they improve the sanitation facilities in their homes. We facilitate the process, but don't dictate the process. 

Community-Led Total Sanitation 

Female health is now taught in the schools, and teachers guide the girls in how to use the feminine hygiene room. 

Menstrual Health For Girls in the School

Communities construct their own latrines with their own resources with guidance from the Hygiene & Sanitation Specialists / Water Underground. . We aim to empower the households and enable them to get onto the sanitation ladder at the level that they can afford.

We work with community members on identifying the demand in the markets and growing things to meet that demand. We cover competitive pricing, quality standards, and ways to effectively and strategically enter the marketplace. 

Understanding the Marketplace / Supply & Demand
Incorporation Into School Curriculum 

A daily school sanitation center cleaning schedule is put in place and implemented by the teachers.

Students write essays on water management, sanitation & hygiene importance, and agriculture. The school garden is run by the school and all practices are integrated into the curriculum. 

Operations & Maintenance of the Well

Constant training is done with the commission about diagnosis and repair. The well is pulled apart several times and put back together by the committee. By the end, they are fully trained technicians.

 

This division is given forms to document weekly and monthly maintenance activities and must present them to both Presidents and Water Underground every 3 months. 

Agriculture Technologies and Practices

Drip irrigation is introduced. All stages of the agricultural process are worked through, and perceived obstacles are discussed and worked around.

 

For example, you can grow corn in the middle of your drip rows to provide shade for crops in the hot season. 

The school divides plots by grade and students manage the garden as part of curriculum.

Each member of the Water Oversight Committee is assigned 5-10 families in the community and are responsible for personally delivering messages of health, sanitation and water management. They encourage the construction of latrines and hand-wash stations in their homes. They are the direct support link for those families in the community. 

Community Health and Outreach
PHASE 6
SUSTAINABILITY

With thorough surveys and support, Water Underground monitors projects, at minimum, every 3 months for years 1-3; every 6 months for years 3-5, and yearly after that. We are rigorous with our evaluations of our projects for maximum impact for our beneficiaries as well as for our operational growth. 

Monitoring & Evaluation

The Water Oversight Committee conducts their own internal monitoring and evaluation. Water Underground provides all forms for well maintenance, balance/expense sheets for transparency, and agricultural progress. These forms are all submitted back to Water Underground.

 

We require these evaluation reports be upheld by the community in order for Water Underground to continue being a support for the community. Water Underground does our step, the community must do theirs. 

Community-Led
Monitoring & Evaluation
TRANSPARENCY
100% Model

100% of public donations goes directly to the field. Our internal running costs are covered by generous, private donors. Other funding comes from grants, foundations, and corporate partnerships.

We hold ourselves accountable to our donors, partner organizations, and corporate sponsors, and are transparent with our work. We post our financials here, and as we grow will continue to make our work public on all charity databases. 

We pride ourselves in proving the impact made possible by our donors and partners. We earmark all donations to specific projects so that donors know exactly where their generosity has gone.

 

We give donors all the information including photos/videos about the community and the impact that was made, from start to finish. We want to create the most inclusive philanthropy experience possible.

 

See an example of a donor's "Well Story" here

Proving Your Impact &
Connecting You With Your Philanthropy
Transparent with our Financials
PHASE 5
OWNERSHIP

Water Underground slowly shifts away from organizing and leading the meetings and makes way for the official Water Oversight Committee to fill that role. We remain a support system as they take ownership of the project. 

Community Leadership

The community, government officials, and Water Underground staff gather for a ceremony to officially hand over the entire project to the community. 

Official Ceremony Handing Project Over to the Community
PHASE 2
ONE MONTH
THEORETICAL TRAINING​
Water Oversight Committee Divisions and Leadership Assigned

Each committee consists of a 16-person (9 women, 7 men) group of residents & teachers from the local community.

 

There are:

2 Co-Presidents (Male/Female), Secretary,

Treasurer

Co-Presidents are elected by the rest of the committee. The community leader is a support in making sure women are equally represented and their voice begins to be heard. These are the new leaders of an infrastructure that never existed before in this community. It is a big deal!

Leadership Roles of the Water Oversight Committee

Sanitation & Hygiene (3 members),

Maintenance and Repair (3 members),

Sustainability (3 members)

Agriculture (3 members).

Learn more about this.

Community Water User Fees

Committee Members (along with the Community Leader) decide on a levy that each family pays for use of the well. This fee ensures sustainability and a collective ownership. This division collects those fees, and registers all users of the well.

Sustainability Division
of the Water Oversight Committee

Members organize the community water fee, officially register the Committee with the government, open a bank account, and are responsible for transparent records of the account balance, expenses, and all official records. 

Learn more about this commission.

Agriculture Division
of the Water Oversight Committee

The principles that are taught are not only about new agriculture techniques, which naturally influence behavior change, but deal with aspects of the business of agriculture. Members are taught about Supply & Demand, Marketing principals, Pricing structures, Creating relationships with buyers, and re-investments into their gardens.

Learn more about this commission.

Operations & Maintenance Divison
of the Water Oversight Committee

Members are involved in the entire drilling process and then given extensive training in all aspects of maintenance, diagnostics, and repair of the well. By the end of the process, these members are fully trained to handle all aspects of the functioning sustainability of the well. 

Learn more about this commission.

Training involves a Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach. The central dynamic in this approach is behavior change within the community because they recognize and discover their needs, situation, and problems through a guided process and own the discoveries and solutions as their own. 

Community-Led Total Sanitation
Sanitation & Hygiene Division
of the Water Oversight Committee

This division is trained in the following:​

  • Bucket and Jerri-can cleanliness

  • Household water management and food safety

  • Women’s health including menstrual hygiene

  • Importance and technique of hand-washing with soap

  • Latrine cleanliness and maintenance

  • The types of disease in their community (such as cholera, rotavirus, and dysentery)

  • Signs and symptoms of disease

  • Disease treatment and prevention action steps

  • Oral rehydration therapy solutions for dehydration & malnutrition

  • Communication channels for health promotion activities in their community

Learn more about this commission.

Every component of the program is incorporated into the school curriculum including agriculture practices, hygiene principles, and water management. School Principal Teachers must be closely aligned with the training and impart the knowledge to the future generations. This is one of the most powerful dynamics where behavioral changecan start to happen. 

School and Teacher Involvement

Water Underground projects are rooted in women’s empowerment. We work heavily with the women and girls in each community, encourage the emergence of female leaders, educate in women’s health, and challenge women to take hold of that newly found precious time back. THIS IS THEIR NEW DAY, and each woman deserves to be empowered and equipped to do whatever she has dreamed of. 

Learn more about how we Empower Women.

Women's Empowerment

Traditional Leader leads a ceremony to bless the ground where the well will be drilled. All considerations to the community customs and beliefs are of utmost importance. 

 

Watch a Traditional Ceremony

Traditional Ceremony
Choosing the Infrastructure Location

The School Principal, Community Leader, Traditional Leader, and Water Oversight Committee are all involved in the decision of where the water well, sanitation center and garden will be placed. Water Underground makes sure these decisions fit the communities traditional desires as well as necessary guidelines of distance between water well and latrines.

We are proudly based in Los Angeles, California

© 2017 Water Underground

WATER UNDERGROUND

is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

100% of your donation is tax-deductible.

EIN 47-1938005

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