Community Ownership Model Overview
Water Missions International installs safe water projects in developing countries around the world. Using a community ownership model, WMI seeks to engage community members in the project. Technicians first conduct an assessment visit to gather baseline technical and socioeconomic information. After determining the area need, as well as project feasibility, a preliminary design is developed and funding secured. Once these steps are complete, WMI schedules a meeting with the leaders of the community. The purpose of this engagement meeting is to ensure that all stakeholders understand the expectations involved in the project. The community is typically asked to contribute to the project by (1) forming a Safe Water Committee that will be responsible for all aspects of the water solution and for promotion of safe water in the community; (2) provide property and right-of-way for any enclosures and distribution networks that may be built; (3) provide volunteers for building enclosures, digging trenches, and conducting WASH education; and (4) generate a micro-enterprise system to fund ongoing operation and maintenance of the water solution. Once an agreement regarding the relationship between WMI and the community has been reached, the Safe Water Committee is elected. These leaders are trained in all aspects of the project including effective ways to promote appropriate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices in the community. Following the WASH promotion in the community, the safe water project is ready to be implemented. With the aid and supervision of WMI technicians, the community performs much of the construction work. This investment in “sweat equity” helps create a general sense of ownership amongst community members. After all the equipment has been installed and the operators and Safe Water Committee feel comfortable running the system, WMI holds a commissioning ceremony. This ceremony marks the official “handing-over” of the water system to the community. For the first year of operation, WMI technicians make quarterly follow-up visits to the community to ensure that the water system is functioning properly. This monitoring period is one example of how WMI continues to partner with communities to ensure their access to safe water remains sustainable.