A lack of drinking water is a major concern of most African countries. Among the countries most affected by this problem is Ethiopia. Non-profit organizations therefore help local residents build water resources, but only a fraction of them address the question of how to most efficiently provide subsequent repairs of water pumps when they fail. People in Need together with HRDLIČKA prepared the Protecting Water in Africa project, which aims to ensure monitoring of water resources so that local people can manage them. Download leaflet.
We seek out locations in Ethiopia where there are various water resources that do not have a well-established (or no) sustainability system. In these places we want to introduce a solution that will show people that they need to take care of their water source, build reserves for repairs and ensure the continuous functioning of the resource. The pilot project has been operating for several years in Alaba and we want to introduce similar solutions elsewhere.
The project is built on the WaterReport web solution that allows a report about the problem or a regular report on the status of the water resource to be sent by SMS to the responsible authority that monitors their status. Each water resource manager is equipped with a mobile phone and instructions on how to respond to problems. All sent messages are received and registered using the WaterReport application, which is available to both the water management staff and People in Need. The system simplifies and streamlines communication between individual resource managers and the authority that monitors their work, contributing to faster troubleshooting. The reports in the application provide the officials and staff of the umbrella NGO with the background material needed to further develop governance and build new water resources. At the same time, the solution strengthens the awareness that technology imported from Europe is needed every day. This whole process cannot take place without intensive work with the resource managers and officials of the superior office directly at the site of the project implementation. Based on experience with the pilot project in Alaba, it takes several years to bring the state of water resource maintenance to an acceptable level.
Horizont HG 2014 decided to support this project and seek financial resources for it because of its philosophy. Over the last decade, necessary assistance has gradually come to developing countries. In the short run, of course, this has been a benefit, especially in humanitarian crises. In the long run, however, this assistance has also made local people dependent on aid from Europe and North America. The Protecting Water in Africa project is trying to teach local people and authorities how to look after basic infrastructure and get by without the help of non-profit organizations. We see this as one of the best ways to help people in Africa.
Ondřej Hrdlička, MTCP (Hons)