THE GUARDIANS OF THE PROJECT
The Water Oversight Committee
Each committee consists of a voluntary 24 - person (with a female majority) group of residents & teachers from the local community.
This committee is the absolute foundation of the project and our model.
Sanitation & Hygiene (8 members)
Maintenance & Repair (4 members)
Sustainability (5 members)
Agriculture (3 members)
Commitment to capacity building
The Water Oversight Committee trains with Water Underground staff 2-3 times a week during a rigorous 4-month process; however, we are engaged in a long-term partnership and act as a support structure once the community takes the reins.
Each division trains with Water Underground specialists in each area with theoretical and practical lessons covering the issues, with the flexibility to direct attention to specific topics within each different community.
Mutual trust brings success
The time invested, bonds established, and relationships made during this process are some of the most powerful dynamics in our model.
We leverage their local knowledge, learn from them, involve them as decision makers, and empower them as leaders. This process helps create powerful bonds and confidence - between us - and we can really get some good work done.
Guardians of the project
The members of this group become the local guardians of the project. These new leaders are instilled with a sense of pride, ownership, and empowerment. Now, a new government recognized council exists in the community to ensure sustainability and the execution of all parts of the Water Underground model - and are equipped with the tools to propel their community towards development on their own terms.
Maintenance & Repair
Members are involved in the entire drilling process and work with the drilling team to go over all parts and functionality of the well. They work through possible problem scenarios and are trained to repair these issues themselves.
They are given a maintenance schedule and a list of all necessary parts for maintenance, including where to buy them and their costs.
Over the course of our 4-month training, they are confident in addressing problems and what is needed for proper maintenance.
Members decide on a levy that the community pays for the use of the well. This fee ensures sustainability and collective ownership. This division collects those fees and registers all users of the well.
Water Underground staff works with the division to identify vitamin and mineral deficiencies and selects crops to grow to best combat malnutrition and anemia.
This division works with the new garden that is built in the school - and trained in improved agriculture techniques including irrigation, local fertilizer and the sourcing of seeds. They learn which crops are best for nutrition and which are best to go to market with. This division becomes an information resource for the rest of the community.
At least one member of this division is a teacher at the school.
Sanitation & Hygiene
Good hygiene and sanitation practices go hand in hand with clean water. When a community gets clean water, knowing how to maintain it and use it in the best way to benefit their community's health is paramount.
In addition to the infrastructure of the sanitation center in the school, we employ Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach to address the issue of sanitation in the rest of the community.
These members are the public health messengers for the entire community and school. They look after the Sanitation Center. They are responsible for ensuring the water well and the surrounding area stays clean and free from animals. They are also in regular communication with the local health department - reporting suspected outbreaks and conversely receiving info regarding public health initiatives, such as vaccination programs, to inform the rest of the community.
Members are responsible for organizing the garden's construction and management of the land.
They are trained in techniques to have year around harvests and improve their yields - which they then pass on to the rest of the community.
They also are in charge of any produce that goes to market and make sure the school agriculture program is being implemented properly.