Project Flow will substantially improve the way in which clean water is provided in refugee communities. Set up by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with generous funding from the Grundfos Foundation and the Danish and German governments, Project Flow will replace diesel-run pumps with solar-powered water pumps in six climate-vulnerable countries across Africa. This will benefit up to 800,000 refugees and host community members and drastically reduce CO2 emissions.
The Grundfos Foundation has been engaging in water access in refugee settings since 2016, and this project especially builds on our experience from Nyarugusu Refugee Camp.
The Grundfos Foundation has been engaging in water access in refugee settings since 2016. Executive Director Kim Nøhr Skibsted (2nd from left) visited the camp in October 2019 for the inauguration of Borehole 2. Photo: Grundfos Foundation
Solarizing diesel-powered boreholes will reduce both CO2 emissions and local air pollution levels. Approximately 180,000 tons CO2 emissions will be avoided over a 10-year period as a direct result of Project Flow.
"At the Grundfos Foundation we believe that clean drinking water is a basic human right. Providing access to clean water for refugees and forcibly displaced people in an environmentally, financially and socially sustainable way is a core part of our strategy and Project Flow will do exactly that. Our partnership with UNHCR on this innovative project will radically transform the way in which clean water is provided in refugee communities and will have long-term systemic impact."
Executive Director Kim Nøhr Skibsted
A sustainable model
Due to the remote areas and fragile situations where many refugee communities are located, water delivery in these communities is largely powered by fossil fuels. This is neither environmentally nor economically sustainable. However, it can be challenging to switch to solar energy as solar-powered water pumps have high up-front capital expenditures.
As a revolving fund mechanism, Project Flow invests in the capital expenditure, design, installation and ongoing maintenance of solar systems for water pumps. Once installed, solar or hybrid systems generate yearly savings compared to those run on diesel. These savings will be re-invested in new clean energy systems, thereby multiplying the available funding and supporting multiple refugee communities over time to green their infrastructure.
Inauguration of Borehole 2, Nyarugusu Refugee Camp, October 2019. The borehole serves 65,000 camp residents with up to 1,700 m³ of water per day. Photo: Grundfos Foundation
The first 10 million USD phase of Project Flow will solarize an estimated 100-160 water systems and boreholes. This will benefit refugees and host community members in climate-vulnerable countries across Africa, likely Ethiopia, Mauritania, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan and Zambia. Solarization of a small number of schools and health clinics will also be piloted as part of this first phase.
In India, implementation of the Foundation’s water projects is secured by our strategic partner, Sunlit Future. Sunlit Future is essentially a technology provider that specialises in building solar solutions. They are based in Auroville, an international township in the Villipuram district of Tamil Nadu in Southeast India. Long-term community engagement (sanitation and hygiene training, community mobilisation and development) is secured by local development NGOs who know the local population very well and stay for a long time in the areas.
In 2022, we have initiated phase 4 of the 100-100 project. Originally, the aim was 100 villages, but the partnership has proven successful and in 2021 we had reached 300 villages. Phase 4 will take us to 400 villages in 2022-2023.
Explore the story maps below to learn more about the beneficiaries in two states:
All Foundation-funded projects in India are being tracked in a jointonline dashboard.
From 2019-2021, focus was on improving the collaboration model before reaching out to new villages:
In the first half of 2019, 101 villages were revisited to repair and upgrade the systems and retrain the communities. Based on this work we will make clearer standards for the division of responsibilities between the different partners
From June 2019, 89 new water projects were added in the states of Odisha (75 villages), Maharashtra (10) and Spiti Valley in Himalaya (4)
From 2015 – 2018, we provided access to safe drinking water for 34,000 inhabitants in 101 rural tribal underprivileged villages in the states of Odisha (65 villages) Madhya Pradesh (9 villages) and Maharashtra (26 villages) and in the Spiti Valley in the Himalaya (1 village). We collaborated with our strategic partner, Sunlit Future and several local NGO’s working in those areas: The Foundation and Sunlit Future delivered the solar driven pump setup, while the local NGO was responsible for ensuring piping, tap stands and sanitation with funding from other sources.
Programme manager Nils Thorup visited the village Kotagarh block in Odisha in February 2018 to inspect the installations
Co-funding is a given
Projects in India are only partly funded by the Poul Due Jensen Foundation. Sunlit Future and their NGO partners also cooperateswith Tata Trusts (a large industrial foundation in India) and the Indian authorities, who almost by default finance the sanitation installations under a Government program in the villages where we bring in access to water.
In the first years, approximately 3.6M DKK were been granted toward phases 1 and 2
In 2018, the Foundation committed 6.6m DKK toward phase 3
In 2021, 5.5 million DKK were committed toward phase 4
Communicating about water and climate issues is complex and nuanced. There is also a lack of understanding about water – its value, functions, and relationship to the climate emergency.
"Journalists, bloggers, editors and activists, as well as marketers and communications specialists working for government, private sector businesses and non-profits can benefit from the programme."
Kim Nøhr Skibsted, Executive Director
The Communication and Behaviour Change Accelerator is a programme of events designed to give communicators the knowledge and skills they need to reach a wider audience and empower people to make better decisions about water.
From 2020-2021, the programme ran as a pilot project. Based on the excellent results, the Foundation has decided to support the programme in the coming years.
World Water Week 2022 will take place 23 August to 1st September online and in Stockholm! This new edition will offer opportunities to connect face to face and propose online components to engage worldwide. Join us to address the world’s most pressing challenges under the theme ‘Seeing the unseen: The value of water.’
Tanzania is lagging behind in its progress towards achieving the 2030 target for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Accelerated actions are therefore required to achieve these targets.
Lack of access to adequate and safe water and sanitation services has a negative impact on the socio-economic wellbeing of the population as in most cases waterborne diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea and typhoid impose high treatment costs to people living in poverty.
The consequences for schoolgirls are that most of them are unable to remain in school, forced to spend approximately two hours travelling more than 5km to fetch unsafe water for domestic and personal hygiene. Girls who have experienced menarche face a privacy challenge by not having safe menstrual health and hygiene management sanitation facilities while in school, causing them to abstain from attending classes for up to five days monthly.
Most schoolgirls are unable to remain in school, forced to spend approximately two hours travelling more than 5km to fetch unsafe water for domestic and personal hygiene. Photo: Water Mission (2016)
Water brings development and peace
Access to safe water and sanitation contributes significantly to improving a population’s health and socio-economic status. With access to safe water and sanitation, women can spend more time engaging in income-generating activities, thereby increasing their personal and family income as well as enhancing their dignity by having privacy when accessing sanitation facilities. At the same time, it allows girls to attend school consistently to ensure a full education with all the benefits that an education brings.
Furthermore, Kigoma Region is host to over 260,000 refugees living i three camps. Expanding and increasing the support to host communities will help to promote socio-economic development and decrease the risk of tensions and misunderstandings between the refugee/migrant population and the respective host populations. The project will build on the experience gained through interventions by the Foundation in the refugee camps and in 24 host communities.
Women collecting water from Mazungwe Spring in Western Tanzania. Photo: Water Mission (2016)
About the partnership
In partnership with the Grundfos Foundation, UNICEF will engage with Water Mission to achieve the following objectives:
Increase access to improved water supply for 31 villages using solar technology,
Build capacity in 31 Community-Based Water Supply Organizations (CBWSOs) to implement sustainable management and service delivery models for each of the 31 water systems developed,
Strengthen local government and local NGOs through technology transfer.
The project will run for 3 years and the Foundation has pledged over DKK 37 million toward the partnership.
The refugee community in Gambella consists of a number of refugee camps and the surrounding villages. The various refugee camps and nearby villages do not have access to a clean and safe water source. The water comes either from boreholes that are a long distance away from the residential areas, rainwater that they collect or water that they themselves pump up with a hand pump. They use this water both for household purposes and for drinking purposes. All of these sources are contaminated and unreliable, not suitable for household or drinking use. In these areas, there are also no proper sanitation facilities. Both factors contribute to causing negative consequences for both the refugee camps and the surrounding villages.
"Only 57% of Ethiopia's population has access to improved drinking water and only 28% of the population has access to improved sanitation facilities. "
Partnership for quality
PlanBørnefonden will be responsible for training, contact with the authorities and the overall project management, while Water Mission will be responsible for the technical installations. The partners also plan to use TEM (Transient ElectroMagnetics) technology to find the most suitable locations for new groundwater wells. With assistance from Water Mission, new solar-powered water systems will be installed over a period of 30 months.
With a budget of 25 million Danish kroner, the project shows a seriousness towards the authorities who must secure the necessary permits and be given responsibility for the camp’s water supply in the future. Three refugee camps, a refugee reception center and 15 surrounding villages will have an active ownership of these water systems and will be trained in managing and implementing these water systems, as well as collecting small amounts for the water to ensure the long-term effect.
"The project will hopefully be an exemplary example for how solar pump systems should be established in other refugee communities globally, and show how different organizations can work together to solve a common issue."
The project aims to ensure sustainable water supplies in refugee communities in western Ethiopia. This project is expected to have a major impact on the health and living standards of local communities. It is also expected that the pressure will be eased on the women and girls in those communities, as the water burden often falls on their shoulders.
In Pakistan, poor people’s housing (known as Katchi Abadis – the unofficial sector) are everywhere. In Karachi, a port city and commercial center of Pakistan, about 60 % of the total population of 23 million, live in these abadis. Orangi Town, situated in the periphery of Karachi, is a cluster of 113 low income settlements with a population of 1.5 million.
Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) began work as an NGO in 1980 in Orangi town which at the time, with a population of 0.8 million, was considered Asia’s largest squatter settlement. In 1988, following the success of its five basic programs of low cost sanitation, housing, health, education and credit for micro enterprise, OPP was divided into three autonomous institutions, of which the Foundation is partnering with the OPP Research and Training Institute. Since its inception, OPP-RTI has helped over 7,654 Million people get access to water and sewage system.
Community sewerage line construction. Photo: OPP-RTI.
Low Cost Sanitation Model
The first self-built model, the Low Cost Sanitation Model, evolved from intense research and dialogue with the residents, led by Architect Perween Rahman who joined OPP in 1982. Orangi residents were provided the complete design with details of quantity of material and estimation of cost based on local market rates. The community mobilized to collect the money required to procure pipes, bricks, cement etc., and in actually digging trenches, laying the lines, constructing manholes and ultimately connecting the indoor latrines to the disposal pipes.
The lane, with an average of 20 houses, became the unit of organization in constructing the primary system. While working on the primary system, OPP also facilitated the residents in lobbying with the government to enable the lane to be connected to the secondary disposal lines, mains and treatment plants. OPP provided the government low-cost designs of secondary and mains for the construction around Orangi.
Illustration of proposed sewerage lines. Internal lines are community-built, while external lines are the responsibility of the public authorities. Image: OPP-RTI
Since 1988, OPP Research and Training Institute (OPP-RTI) has carried out Sanitation, Water, Mapping and Youth Training Programs. OPP-RTI continues to work with both the government and the people, providing both partners with implementable designs. It gives them estimates and eventually monitors construction of the sewage and water projects. Replication of the model continues all over Pakistan where OPP-RTI works with local organizations representing the people in tandem with Local Governments.
Expansion in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
The Foundation will be funding replications of the Low Cost Sanitation Model in four areas in Punjab, Sind and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Through the programme, we will be able to assist 924,960 homes with altogether 1,753,947 people to get access to latrines and a complete modern underground water and sewage system.
The programme will last three years, from June 2020 through to June 2023. Funds from the Foundation will cover mapping and surveying, design and estimation, training of community in construction of the model and finally monitoring the work.
Community at work with OPP-RTI staff. Photo: OPP-RTI.
OPP-RTI dispatched four teams in mid July 2020 to conduct mapping and level surveying in the four areas. The teams are back in Karachi after gathering data, and imparting community-based mapping training to the local community leaders. The work on designing and cost estimations of the system has begun in earnest.
"We were lucky to be able to carry out mapping and surveying in Sindh and Punjab just ahead of the monsoons. Sindh and Punjab are now experiencing flooding as is Karachi where heavy urban flooding devastated parts of the city. Now the authorities are referring to the systems of drainage designed by Perween Rahman in 2008 to alleviate the situation. "
Aquila Ismail, Chairperson, OPP – Research and Training Institute
The OPP Research and Training Institute method
OPP-RTI does not fund construction. It teaches people to do so through building their capacity by giving them a low cost design, training in mapping, surveying and construction, and overseeing and guiding the implementation. OPP-RTI designed systems have borne the test of time as lines laid in 1982 still function.
"The demonstration of the impact of the program lies in the fact that today, Orangi is a thriving township housing 2.3 million people - or 10 per cent of Karachi’s population."
Aquila Ismail, Chairperson, OPP – Research and Training Institute
In the current state of climate crisis, cities face significant and increasing climate risks. The majority of these are due to changes in both our global and local water cycles. Whether it is too much water in the form of floods due to sea level rises, extreme precipitation and storms, or not enough water resulting in water shortages and droughts, no city in the world is immune to these climatic changes.
"C40 is a city network at the very front of the fight against climate change, and with members counting 96 megacities all over the globe, C40 is uniquely positioned to deliver substantial impact."
The project will see C40 develop a stronger focus on climate adaptation, which means dealing with the impact of climate change that is already here or will inevitable occur. Climate adaptation and water are intimately linked, as the impact of climate changes are first and foremost water-related. Thus, the project brings water management to the top of the urban sustainable development agenda.
"The project will crucially determine cities’ ability to adapt to the impacts of climate change by tying together state-of-the-art mapping of water-related risks and the solutions that cities can adopt to alleviate these risks. "
With funding from the Grundfos Foundation, C40 will conduct novel research on risks for cities in terms of water scarcity and flooding, which will be accompanied by policy recommendations and solutions to mitigate these risks.
To ensure informed and actionable research, the project entails creation of a broad network for urban water management in C40, where expert public and private advisors can contribute, while cities engage for best-practice sharing.
Ultimately, the goal of the project is to map out the risks for cities impacted by climate change and to deliver substantial and actionable solutions which allow cities to adapt to or altogether prevent these risks, creating water-resilient cities for the future.
Woman with child walking the flooded streets of Jakarta. Photo: Kompas – Hendra A Setyawan – World Meteorological Organization
The purpose of the project is to support cities’ adaptation to water-related risks caused by climate change through novel research and development of actionable solutions.
The C40 secretariat will deliver the project with input from relevant C40 cities that have experienced different water-related issues. The research will draw on expert advisors in the form of international organizations and private actors.
All cities worldwide that are vulnerable to water-related climate changes will be able to benefit from the research and solutions developed.
The Poul Due Jensen Foundation keeps a reserve for disaster relief in the shape of temporary safe water supplies and other provisions, allowing our partners to approach us through a fast-track procedure in case of an emercency. The Foundation is not strict on long-term sustainability considerations – it is simply a matter of life and death to have access to safe drinking water in the wake of a disaster. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation has expanded its donations to emergencies. Find out more
DKK 1 million | for Charity Foundation of Nanyang City’s relief efforts after record-breaking rainfall hit China’s Henan Province in July, causing severe flooding in many of the area, affecting over 1.9 million people
DKK 200,000 | to SOS NPO for Emergency response caused by fire in the Townships Bloekombos and Wallacedene, Cape Town, South Africa
DKK 250.000 | contribution for sending 92 Oxygenators to India | Find out more
DKK 500.000| for Plan International’s emergency relief in Ethiopia | Find out more
DKK 300.000 | for the NGO Water and Life after super typhoon Rai | Find out more
12.25mDKK | Emergency relief funding to the ICRC (5m DKK), UNICEF (5m DKK) and Danish Red Cross (1.5m DKK). Additionally, the Foundation is sponsoring wastewater treatment units (750,000 DKK) in two hospitals in Hubei Province, China. More
17.5m DKK | 15.7m DKK wil go to WASH-related activities, and 1.8m DKK to research. More
9.2m DKK | Almost 9.2m DKK (1.3m USD) have been granted towards a number of projects that fight COVID-19 and its consequences. More
Part of the projects above are funded through a 20m DKK reserve for local outreach – the Poul Due Jensen Community Engagement Grant – boosting the Grundfos companies’ contribution to fighting COVID-19. More
Donations to help victims of natural disasters 2014-2019
DKK 250,000: Disaster relief for people living in the area of destruction after the Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas (partner: Water Mission)
1 million DKK: Disaster relief for people living in the area of destruction after the Cyclone Idai in Malawi (partner: Water Mission)
1 million DKK: Disaster relief for people living in the area of destruction after the Cyclone Idai in Mozambique (partner: PlanBørnefonden/Plan International)
Disputes over access to resources between different population groups is as old as the history of mankind. In Western Tanzania, the issue is as relevant as ever, because Nyarugusu Refugee Camp is placed in an area where many poor rural communities struggle to make ends meet every day.
"Imagine you are a Tanzanian, living in a community along the main access road, two kilometres from Nyarugusu. Every day, you see these agency vehicles, three or more Water Mission trucks, huge trucks loaded with food and millions of dollars of aid literally driving through their community to get into the refugee camp and little or nothing coming to them."
Will Furlong, Regional Director, Water Mission Tanzania
Talking about refugee camps as something temporary seems absurd, given today’s reality where more then 250,000 people live in a camp which has been growing constantly ever since it was created. Since 2015, Nyarugusu has almost doubled in size because of political unrest in Burundi, making thousands of refugees cross the border from Burundi into Tanzania. In 2015 alone, 122,000 Burundian refugees arrived in Western Tanzania, and many of those were sent to Nyarugusu to join 80,000 refugees from Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who had lived in Nyarugusu for over 20 years.
Together with Water Mission, we provide safe water to over 250,000 refugees in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp. Read more.
Water Mission staff working in Heru Ushingo community, Tanzania
Nyarugusu 2.0: Safe water to host communities
According to Will Furlong, reaching out to the host communities is a logical next step, when the distribution of resources between the camp and the surrounding communities is so obviously unfair:
"In November 2017, the Tanzanian government said: ‘It’s not right. You’re going to have to consider the people outside the camp’."
Will Furlong, Regional Director, Water Mission Tanzania
Water Mission brought up the concerns of the Tanzanian government with the Foundation in 2017. Our immediate response was a USD 940,000 grant to provide solar-powered safe water in as many host communities as possible, and a long-term strategy to reach out to all host communities in the Western Tanzania Region needing sustainable access to safe water.
"As far as we know of, we are the only donors who provide safe water simultaneously inside and outside a refugee camp, and the fruitful collaboration with the local authorities shows that this is indeed the way to go about it."
Nils Thorup, Programme Manager, Water
In June 2019, we have granted additional USD 1,3M to provide extended follow-up the the six communities from phase 1 and to reach out to even more rural communities in the area surrounding the camp.
Commissioning event in Kasanda Community. Photo: Water Mission
Turkana is an impoverished area of north west Kenya, characterised by arid and semi-arid lands and staggeringly high poverty. More than 90% of the population live below the poverty level at 2 $ per day. Only around 20% of the population have access to clean water at least basic, due to poor water resource development and poor management. The situation is made worse by persistent droughts – more on reliefweb.int.
Enhanced access to water will improve lives and significantly enable communities to:
Cope with increasing droughts and climate change
Improve household, maternal and child hygiene and health
Undertake small-scale agriculture, to improve food security and provide an alternative source of income to help pay for water use
The project establishes 12 solar-powered water systems, in 3 geographical clusters, in rural Turkana County, Kenya. Photo: Practical Action
The county of Turkana is among the poorest and most marginalised in Kenya. It’s arid climate and poor soil conditions make it almost impossible to grow crops. The effects of climate change are only making it harder and water access is a major problem, as droughts become more frequent and severe.
"Most of the population in Turkana is made up of pastoralists, struggling to earn a living through raising livestock. 90% of people live below the poverty line and less than 20% have access to clean water."
Communities often trek for up to 15 km to reach water. Water points are usually scoop holes dug into dry river beds. The water is dirty and the climb into scoop holes is extremely dangerous. Where water points exist, people often queue for hours and it’s usually women and girls who are impacted the hardest.
Water access will be life-changing for communities in Turkana. Through implementing solar-powered boreholes, communities will finally have a reliable supply of clean water. Local technicians will be trained to care and maintain the water points and we will work with local government to ensure families will continue to have water access, long into the future.
The primary objective of this project is to improve access to potable water for 72,000 *pastoralists (nomadic people who move around to productive land, depending on season) in rural arid and semi-arid in Turkana, north west Kenya. Due to the nature of their culture, it makes no sense to supply drinking water to people, without supply water for their livestock.
A secondary objective is to strengthen water governance and management systems for rural solar-powered water systems, including already existing Practical Action projects. Improved governance and management will increase the project’s direct impact on 100,000 individuals (and about 200,000 animals).
Establishment of 12 solar-powered water systems, in 3 geographical clusters, in rural Turkana County
Creating effective water systems and management set-up, establishing and training (registered) Water Committees
Improving WASH practices through training and increasing access to basic hygiene facilities e.g. water storage, hand washing etc.
Strengthening policies and regulations for water management systems in Turkana county, e.g. guidance for installation and management of water points and management of water tariffs.
"With increasing droughts, there is a knowledge gap on understanding the strategic water and sanitation needs of pastoralist communities and the resulting sustainable water management options. The data from the project will provide knowledge to more sustainable water projects for pastoralist communities in the future."
In September 2011, Waha Mitra (Water Mission Indonesia) commissioned the first of 6 community safe water projects near Pekanbaru in the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The six projects became the first phase of the Southeast Asia Clean Water Initiative. Still today, Waha Mitra and the Poul Due Jensen Foundation work together to provide safe potable water for last-mile communities in the vast country.
The Foundation’s initial 2010 grant (4M DKK) covered three phases:
Phase I: 6 communities in Pekanbaru, Sumatra, Indonesia
Phase II: 13 communities in Sulawesi, North Sumatra and Lampung, Indonesia
Phase III: 5 communities in Cambodia
In 2013, the Foundation committed another 4.5M DKK to build 24 community water systems:
Phase IV: 20 communities in Indonesia
Phase V: 4 communities in Cambodia
Terjun community lies at a very poor location next to a landfill where all the garbage from Medan (~5M people) is deposited. Photo: Water Mission
So far, the South East Asia Clean Water Initiative has been a successful implementation of scalable, sustainable, safe water projects. The programme has provided access to safe water to over 300,000 people and also contributed significantly to learning which has impacted the way we work to reach last-mile communities.
Videos from the Foundation’s visits
In 2017, the Poul Due Jensen Foundation committed USD 770,000 to reach even more remote communities in North Sumatra. Building on the success of the past is the natural next step. With a team of experienced and highly trained professional staff already in place in Indonesia, Waha Mitra is strategically positioned to implement projects in some of the most rural areas of Indonesia in and effective manner as we continue to refine our approach.
From 2018-2020, we hope to provide 15-20,000 Indonesians in 9-11 communities with sustainable access to safe water
The work will incorporate Waha Mitra’s community development best practices for safe water that were developed during the previous SE Asia Clean Water Initiatives. Each project will follow Waha Mitra’s community managed implementation model, focusing on community development (community mobilization, health & hygiene education, and sustainability training) and include long-term monitoring and support.
Terima kasih Kami untuk @PDJF_dk & @water_mission. Akhirnya masyarakat terutama anak-anak di desa Sibongkare, Papande, dan Siantar Naipospos sudah mendapatkan akses air sehat di daerah mereka, Semoga semakin banyak daerah yang dapat dibantu di waktu selanjutnya #waterbuildspic.twitter.com/2GPNy9dDez
The regions of North Sumatra and Timor have some of the highest percentages of people living in extreme poverty in Indonesia. The Human Development Index reports Indonesia as having 38.7% of the population as working poor (Income = $3.10/day). Many of the rural communities rely on subsistence living and must collect water by hand either from a shallow hand-dug well or an open water source, both of which have poor water quality. This was the case in Torhonas, where 350 families (1760 people) live in an isolated, hilly area. Prior to the water project, people were walking downhill 400 meters and then carrying water uphill back to the community. And the water was not safe. Today, the community has access to safe water in the village
Before going to school, these boys used to walk 400m downhill to fetch water – and the only water available was contaminated. Photo: Water Mission
Getting to the community wasn’t easy: For instance, no supplier was willing to deliver equipment into Torhonas. Waha Mitra had to do it themselves, and it took 24 trips on winding, muddy mountain roads to get all of the tanks, pipes and other equipment into the community. Each trip was only 18 kilometers (11 miles) but it took 3-5 hours to drive it.
No one was willing to deliver equipment into Torhonas. It took 24 trips to get all of the tanks, pipes and other equipment into the community. Photo: Water Mission
Far from the mighty peaks of the Himalayas, the residents of Pidari Village and Fatuha Maheshpur live in the Terai lowlands of Nepal, in two nearby districts not far from the border with India. Every day, the water they gather via hand pumps and shallow wells for their drinking, cooking, and washing contains dangerous levels of arsenic, posing a serious threat to their own health and particularly that of their children.
With no other options, already poor households are often forced to spend 15% of their limited annual income treating arsenic-related illnesses. Long-term exposure to arsenic at these levels can cause cancer, heart disease, and lung disease, among other life-threatening conditions; it has been particularly linked to increased child and infant mortality.
"Roughly 10,000 water-related health cases are brought to the local health clinic every year (mostly diarrhoea, dysentery, frequent vomiting, typhoid, skin disease); between 30-40% of cases, mostly skin-related, are strictly due to arsenic itself. "
Yet for these villagers there is no other option, and unfortunately their situation is not uncommon. In Nepal, 41.1% of the rural population still depend on temporary sources of water like springs and private tube wells, and 20% have no reliable access to water facilities at all. This is not simply because communities lack the available technology to access safe water deep within the ground, but a result of the poor management and maintenance of water systems in the long-term.
An existing hand pump in one of the villages. Photo: Oxfam Nepal
Together, Oxfam GB and the Poul Due Jensen Foundation are working to change that. We are installing two new water systems that over the next 20 years will provide 17,454 people with safe water. In the immediate term, 9, 657 people from the villages will receive safe water at their households, alongside two schools and health posts.
The project will increase safe water coverage in Nepal and will contribute to the goal of nationally achieving SDG 6.1.
It will also support Nepal’s National Sanitation Master Plan which calls for improvement in access to safer water in rural communities.
However the long-term benefits of safe water access – healthier communities, productive children in school – can only be realised if the water keeps flowing for years to come, for even the poorest households. Oxfam believes that no one should be too poor to drink safe water; inclusion and sustainability are at the core of its work towards achieving SDG 6, “Ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. This also means balancing financial viability of water systems with inclusion of the poorest and most marginalised people.
"We must support people to know their rights to safe water access and hold their water providers to account, set-up systems that cater to people’s needs and offer them choice and employ technology to ensure resilience in times of crisis and beyond."
Financially viable, sustainable systems
Covering the ongoing operation and maintenance costs of the water systems is key for ensuring they can continue to pump water in the long-term. Solar-powered pumping systems are a more sustainable technology that will ensure lower electricity costs over time to keep water flowing. However, even solar-powered systems require funds for maintenance and repair.
"Finding a financially viable management model for these rural systems is one of the most pertinent challenges for the safe water sector globally, particularly in last mile communities where private water companies would not make a financial return on their investments should they provide their services."
Oxfam is exploring how a financially viable management model could work to ensure sustained safe water access for communities long after project’s end. Find out more
Marketing activities to promote safe water and convince residents to sign up for a household connection. Photo: Oxfam Nepal
“Kenya 23 – next level” is a revisit and expansion of the “Kenya 23” project (2014), which again was a revisit and repair project reaching out to communities that had received a water system as a gift from Grundfos in 2005. In Kenya, the Foundation’s strategic partner, Water Mission, works directly with communities and local government to ensure technical, social and financial sustainability in each water project.
"The success of the Kenya 23 project showed the impact that solar powered water supply systems can have. The improved living conditions will lead to improved health of the community which could ultimately lead to greater economic output in the community. "
Nils Thorup, Programme Manager for Water, Poul Due Jensen Foundation
Important lessons from the past shape our work
In 2005, Grundfos celebrated its 60th anniversary. A sum was donated to Unicef at the occasion and with this money the NGO built 23 water systems in rural communities across Kenya.
In 2014, the Foundation learned that many of the water systems had failed and we therefore asked Water Mission Kenya to revisit each system in order to assess and repair the systems and work with the communities to build technical, social and financial resilience.
In 2017, we had a new report made to assess the situation. The report was positive but also pointed out a few problems that needed to be addressed.
Another important lesson from Kenya is to not spread yourself out too thinly across a country. New projects will therefore be established in neighbouring communities to existing projects in order to build knowledge, awareness and make service more easily available in each area.
Headcount: More children attend school in Cheptiangwa as they no longer have to walk far to fetch water since the community water system is in place
Kenya 23 – Next level
The 23 original water systems will be quality assessed, repaired and expanded where possible.
8 of the original projects will have their distribution systems improved with expanded access and new tap stands.
16 new communities will get a water system.
All of the original 23 systems will add monitoring of water usage and level sensors in the boreholes to document environmental sustainability. Critics of groundwater pumping often say that it lowers the groundwater level, but we wish to collect data in order to document whether or not this is true.
The data is transmitted via satellite communication and then stored on Water Mission’s cloud based remote monitoring system. The data from the monitoring programme will be used to build better designed systems for new communities in the future. The data will also be used to assess baseline management skills, community well-being, and WASH behaviours.
In rural areas of Togo, only 40 pct. of the population has access to drinking water from an improved water source within 30 min walking distance. Open defecation is widely practised, which poses a significant health risk, and lack of hygiene awareness is a threat to water quality.
The first joint project provided clean water, improved sanitation and hygiene to approximately 4,200 people in the 3 villages of Haïto, Bayakopé and Guedèglèlè in Togo’s Plateaux region in 2015. With a budget of 2.1m DKK, the project established three solar powered safe water systems in the three villages, and included construction of family and school latrines as well as hygiene awareness raising locally. The projects were revisited and repaired/extended in 2016-2017. Learn more here.
In 2017, the Foundation granted 3m DKK for Phase 2: “Healthy children, healthy communities”reaching 5 communities (8.000 persons) in Haho district. Learn more here.
In 2018, the Foundation granted additional 10m DKK to reach another 25-30,000 persons in 10 communities in the Plateaux Region in 2019-2021.
In 2018, we have also initiated a pilot project to test how an environmentally friendly molten-salt battery backup solution can eliminate the need for storeage tanks. It could also be a model solution for scalable community water systems that can add new modules when the community’s need for water increases.
PlanBørnefonden is not a WASH NGO per se, but the organisation fights for girls rights globally and focuses on long-term development work and social sustainability through local partnerships and cooperation in four key intervention areas:
Young people’s economic and social potential and opportunities
The organisation works within each community for 15 to 20 years to secure secure sustainable impact. Responsibility for the activities is transferred to the community and the authorities step by step. This approach aligns very well with the Foundation’s values of creating sustainable change.
The districts of Memba and Mossuril in Nampula province, north-eastern Mozambique, lie on the coast of the Mozambique Channel. Seven out of ten people in these two districts lack access to safe water.
Today, the communities draw water from polluted rivers up to three hours’ walk away that are shared with livestock. This hinders the development of communities, as water and sanitation underpins every aspect of development – from health to education, infant survival and development to economic productivity, gender equality and much more.
The water project is partly funded by the Poul Due Jensen Foundation through a 3m DKK grant. The implementation is secured by the Foundation’s strategic partner, WaterAid.
Cecilia collects water from the new solar-powered water system in Tropene, which has a much higher capacity than the old hand-pump. She told us that previously her children had to take time off school because of the lack of clean water. She is very relieved to have clean water so close to her home. Photo: WaterAid/Arao José Valoi
WASH forums are now functioning in both districts. The Memba forum has 27 members, made up of government representatives, community leaders and civil society organisations, and Mossuril has 30. 4 forum meetings have now been held in Memba and 2 in Mossuril.
In Memba, some of the topics covered have been cases of diarrhoea in two communities, water salinity issues in the district as a whole, and high levels of open defecation in in three communities. It was recommended that community leaders actively promote the project’s sanitation and hygiene interventions in order to address this. As of August 2018, water is flowing in Tropene, a community of 3,000 people in the Memba district.
In Mossuril, the group discussed the scarcity of trained mechanics and requested WaterAid’s support in training more.
Preparatory work for the water supply systems revealed that there is less groundwater than originally envisaged, particularly in Memba district, so the planned water supply systems would reach less people.
To address this, the number of boreholes will increase, now planning on two per supply system. This could vary depending on the exact conditions we encounter when we start drilling, and could alternatively involve drilling a wider borehole for some systems, rather than two boreholes.
Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world. Approximately 80% of the estimated population of 10.88 million lives below the international poverty line (1,90 USD/day). Subsistence farming is still the main livelihood but because of low productivity and climate variability, among other factors, people struggle to secure their livelihoods. Kirundo Province lies in Northern Burundi, an area where few other international NGOs operate. Water and sanitation infrastructures were destroyed throughout the country during the decade-long civil war, ending in 2003.
Phase 2: expansion and infrastructure
In 2019, the Poul Due Jensen Foundation has granted approximately 1 million EUR towards a second phase of the programme.
Phase 2 is planned to run for 16 months as of May 2019
The target beneficiaries are 36-54,000 people in 8-12 villages, including 10 health centres and 13 schools in Bugabira, Kirundo and Busoni communes, who will experience a reduced rate of waterborne diseases.
Phase 2 will also go back to the sites of Phase 1 and work with all of the communities to ensure efficient and integrated management of the water infrastructure
Remote monitoring will also be implemented in all water systems to follow the systems’ performance and the groundwater level
The community members currently draw water from unclean water sources like the Cohoha, Rweru and Kanzigiri lakes in the dry season and from rooftops during the rainy season. The few existing water wells were destroyed throughout the country’s decade-long civil war ended in 2003 and many have not been repaired since Kirundo province faces a lack of funding for the most basic services. In addition, despite best practices in the water supply sector recommending chlorination for public water systems; chlorine is at present not available in Kirundo market and there is no demand for it.
Phase 1: Marembo Health Centre
Phase 1 (2017) of this water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project provided safe drinking water to patients of Marembo Health Centre and to the population of two close villages, Bunyari and Sigu, with a population of 850 and 740 people. Marembo Health Centre serves 35,000 women, men, girls and boys each year, including people in the immediate catchment area plus those living further away for whom this health centre is the only facility accessible. 7-10 babies are born there each week. The safe water project established 3 solar-powered water pumping systems, a waste disposal system and latrines in the health centre, to significantly improve sanitation.
Before our intervention, Marembo Health Centre did have not access to clean and adequate water, as their water supply systems were non-functioning. Community members therefore drew water from unclean sources like the nearby Cohoha Lake in the dry season and from their rooftops during the rainy season.
The Marembo Health Centre and people in the immediate catchment area have access to 12 cubic meter per day of clean and adequate potable water for drinking and for domestic use.
Bunyari and Sigu villages now have access to 10 cubic meters each of clean and adequate potable water deserved through 2 public boundary mark fountains equipped with 2 taps installed near their houses. They have stopped since to use the rude water from Cohoha and Rweru lakes for drinking.
Besides, thanks to four ventilated improved pit latrines equipped with 4 bathrooms and 2 handwashing stations constructed for Marembo Health Center; patients visiting the health center have access to adequate sanitation services helping the patients to prevent from waterborne diseases.
Key challenges and learnings from Phase 1
As there is only one drilling company in Burundi, NCA had to reach out to companies outside of Burundi to get three quotations for the drilling work. This delayed the project a fair bit, helped along by fuel shortages in the spring of 2017.
However, as a result of the exercise of identifying companies outside of Burundi, NCA has developed a small database of potential specialized drilling companies to keep on hand for future projects. In order to overcome fuel issues in the future, NCA has signed a contract with the World Food Programme covering delivery of fuel for key activities.
Finally, as the underground water yield was limited and not sufficient to all households needs, the locals took the decision to use this clean water for drinking as a priority and, only in case of surplus, for other domestic uses.