On February 20th 2013 we celebrated the end of the the project to improve the water infrastructure in the village of Kowe. Approximately 130 people attended the celebration, which shows the enthusiasm of the villagers, who praised expressed their delight at finally having access to water all day long and all year round.
Approximately 130 people attended the celebration of the water in Kowé, which marks the end of rehabilitation of water infrastructures in the village.
Between 2011 and 2012, the ECDD project has supported rehabilitation of water supply infrastructure in five villages . This activity has two main aims: firstly to improve the water supply for more than 5000 people, thus also significantly reducing the time required for fetching water, especially for women and children. And secondly, ECDD wanted to develop a model for community-led development projects implemented by the villagers working together without pay, a model that ensures better durability of activities and promotes a sense of ownership for the end-users.
Water supply networks are very old and degraded, resulting in a considerable loss of water. In this picture:: a destroyed water capture at the village of Ouzini
The issue of water is one of the leading concerns for Anjouan villagers. The water levels have been in decline for the last 40 years, linked to huge levels of deforestaion, and thirty permanent rivers have become intermittent. And in most of our intervention villages water supply networks (are very old and degraded, resulting in loss of a considerable percentage of the water that enters the pipes.
In addition, since these facilities were built more than 20 years ago, they are no longer suited to the needs of the growing population. Population density on the island is close to 594 inhabitants per km ² and is still growing today. This demographic pressure weighs hard on the already scare natural water resources.
Water infrastructures are no longer suited to the needs of the growing population.
The people of Anjouan are thus facing a dual challenge: a water resource that is becoming scarcer, and an increasing number of users of that resource.
The first step was to clearly identify the priorities for each village, completed thanks to studies carried out by our partner l’Union des Comités de l’Eau d’Anjouan (UCEA).
Community project: initiated and driven by the demand and collective unpaid work of the villagers. In this picture: Participatory workshop of the Water Committee of Nindri
ECDD then engaged to support the villagers to rehabilitate their water infrastructures.
The support consisted in strengthening already existing water management committees in budgeting and business planning, and in mobilising the villagers. In addition, the project allocated 2000 euro for each village for the purchase of equipment and the provision of services for labor. For their part, villagers, participated with in-kind contributions and labor and a contribution of 100 KMF for each household, symbolising the commitment of each.
For the village of Kowe, given the importance of the work to execute, the motivation of the community, and a gift from the governor of Anjouan, the Community contribution reached the sum of 1,000,000 KMF (2000 €), and the project in consequence invested further resources. For more information on the work on the Kowe infrastructure, please have a look at a former blog
Rehabilitation works in the five villages were completed by the end of last year 2012.
Water fountain after the works in Salamani
In the village of Nindri, the water capture infrastructure had not been maintained since its construction so a complete rehabilitation of the catchment was necessary,. In the village of Salamani, the work was concentrated on repairing leaks and constructing public standpipes in each neighborhood. In Outsa a new water capture system was constructed in order to increase the capacity of water supply to the village, and in additionnew water fountains were built for each neighbourhood.
Water capture in Ouzini after works
Several activities were needed in the village of Ouzini given the state of degradation of the water capture unit at Magouni,. Namely, dredging and trenching, repainting of inner and outer coatings, construction of a retaining wall and installation of a fence and a hatch to Block the leaves and other materials carried by the river. Finally, at Kowe work consisted in replacing in the network of galvanized pipes which had become completely rusted.
Reflections and ideas for the future
Although it is too early to fully assess the impact of the work, the first echoes from the communities are very positive. They highlight that water is available in the villages throughout the year, waiting time in front of water fountains has decreased, and water collection distances have been reduced. The villagers can therefore take advantage of this saved time to invest in other activities, which implies an improvement in their living conditions..
Fountain at Kowe after works
This first phase of supporting communities forcollective work also helped to better understand the mechanisms of organization and functioning of village water committees and to better identify the support and guidance needed.
The project is very happy with these results and is currently in full reflection with water committees to develop more activities, based on a model of ownership of small projects, and towards the participatory planning of landscape management – something extremely complicated in the Comoros context