Mali

World Vision, Japanese Government provide water supply system to Mali village

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A new water system installed by World Vision in a remote village in eastern Mali earlier this year is already having a positive impact on the health of children.

The women's association president from the village of Dangatene, Madeline Dougnon, said children in the village were no longer suffering from illnesses related to the lack of clean water.

"With the clean water, our children do not have any more problems with diarrhoea or dysentery," said Dougnon.

Since late February, the water system has provided up to 20,000 litres of clean water each day to the village and neighbouring areas, serving more than 4,000 people in total.

Twice a day, the solar powered system pumps fresh water from 105 metres below the village into a 10,000 litre container set 10 metres above ground. Pipes from the water tower feed into underground pipes, which take the water to four water stations and two animal troughs strategically placed throughout the village. Gravity allows the water to flow rapidly out of the water stations, equipped with two spouts each.

Samuel Diarra, manager of the World Vision water project, said the water supply system in Dangatene offers much more than manual hand-pumps installed in most boreholes developed by World Vision.

"This type of system where you have clean water flowing through pipes simply by turning the tap is making the quality of life much better for everyone in the village," he said.

The community of Dangatene is responsible for the maintenance of their system. A "water committee" - made up of three women and five men - was elected by the village to provide leadership in all areas of water development -- from training on proper hygiene and sanitation to handling maintenance issues.

The community's involvement includes a financial responsibility. The community raised $200 to go toward the borehole. Diarra says while the money is helpful, it is most impacting on transferring ownership of the system to the community. "If the people have some ownership, they are motivated to take care of it," he said.

Additionally, everyone pays a small sum of money for taking water. These funds are saved for future maintenance of the system. At the inauguration it was announced that more than 300,000 francs CFA ($600) had already been collected.

The Japanese government provided funding for the water system in Dangatene. Diarra hopes to incorporate more water supply systems in villages throughout Mali. He said the only barrier is funding.

"This system was built on a borehole that delivers 2,700 litres of water per hour. We have many other boreholes that provide much more water and could touch thousands more people," he said.

A borehole must offer at least 2,500 litres per hour to be used for a water supply system like that in Dangatene. Of the 86 boreholes already drilled by World Vision in two years, 45 provide more than 2,500 litres. Just this month, the drill team tapped into an aqua fur, or underground river, that provides more than 27,000 liters of water per hour. The source, 70 meters below the village of Temana, is in the same harsh region of Dangatene, where average depths of boreholes developed by World Vision range 89 meters deep.

"There is water in this difficult area, but we are finding it," said Diarra. "The opportunities for people to have clean water are only limited by costs."

The World Vision water project in Mali is part of a larger program funded by The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The West Africa Water Initiative (WAWI), led by World Vision partners with other governmental and non-governmental organizations to provide clean water to some of the driest areas in the Sahel region, spanning the three countries of Niger, Mali and Ghana.

Report from Scott Lout - WV Mali Communications Manager

For more information on World Vision International visit http://www.wvi.org, or contact us at newsvision@wvi.org