Friends of Humanity (FOH) met (via skype) with Alex Zahnd, director of RIDS-Nepal in order to follow the implementation of the project.
We are pleased to share with you the content of the interview.
FOH: How many Family of 4 Projects do you currently have up and running?
Alex: I have been in Nepal for 28 years, my goal is to participate in the development of the poorest of the poor…the people of Nepal have seen many ‘white elephant’ projects, they’re finished reports are written pictures of smiling faces but by two years later there isn’t development…Rural Integrated Development Services began in 2005 (2002 in Nepal, different calander)…approaches are skewed towards immediate impact—short term, their approach is long term, holistic issues and needs to be met
Alex: Current villages we are working in are 17 days by foot or a one hour flight then 1-2 days walk…Nepal Gange (google earth video should be up and running in the next few days)
Implementation of Family of Four
-Pit latrine, always the first element of the family of four, is about 200 CHF including transport, cement and installation (per home)
-Smokeless metal stove is roughly 200 CHF (per home)
-Solar home system 450 CHF (solar photovoltaic and LED lights) (per home)
-Drinking water system depends very much on village size, water spring source, how high the source is above the village
-Selects two members of the community to become experts on the projects so they know what to do if something goes wrong in the future…entire community is encouraged to participate as much as possible, required to do much of the manual labor
2011 planned Araporie Village 60,000 CHF for 15 homes covers air transport and installation
Average cost of water systems is anywhere between 900 CHF-13,000 CHF per household
AVERAGE TOTAL BUDGET: 1950 PER HOUSEHOLD
RIDS really needs funds for follow up projects, has donors pretty much set for 2011…has no partners for 2012 onward, really looking for committed 5 year partners.
RIDS-Nepal was created in 2002 with the goal of providing basic services to Nepalese households in an affordable, sustainable way. RIDS’s founder, Alex Zahnd, supports the idea of a Holistic Development, meaning that progress in one area must be matched with advances in other areas. The objective of the project is to provide potable water for the 32 households (200 people in total, an average of six per household) of the remote village of Mohoriguan. The other three elements of the Family of Four (a pit latrine, smokeless stove, and solar power system for every home) have already been installed. The local communities strongly support RIDS-Nepal's commitment and are directly involved in the implementing of the Holistic Development model.Earlier in 2012, another organization built a drinking water system (DWS) in Mohoriguan, without informing or enquiring with RIDS-Nepal which programs/projects were already running prior to their activities. (Source : Rids Nepal – The Family of Four –Alex Zahnd)Unfortunately, despite the organization’s best intentions, the newly built drinking water system is not working as intended.
Over the last few months, we have been investigating what needs to be done in order to remedy the present situation and to get this DWS project done properly as initially planned, yet we are unable to complete the project until our fundraising goal is met. Thus, I hope you are still encouraged to continue to stand with us and the people from Mohorigaun village to raise the needed funds to get the DWS done so that water WILL flow from the 4 tap stands in the village and the ladies and young girls do not have to walk down to the river and fetch unclean water to carry back to the village.
The Mohorigaun people have again called upon RIDS-Nepal to work with them to address their urgent need for DWS, so that they will finally have access to clean drinking water. Access to clean drinking water is ONE of the MAIN programs of RIDS-Nepal's "Family of 4" community development concept.
In 2013, FOH will continuously support the RIDS-Nepal project in village of Mohoriguan.
Dear friends of Mohorigaun village
If you read the previous project report you know that earlier this year another organization has built in Mohorigaun village a drinking water system (DWS), without prior to their activities informing or enquiring with RIDS-Nepal what programs/projects are already running and what other projects, such as the DWS, are planned. If they would have they would have come to know that RIDS-Nepal has been planning to built a village DWS since 2011, and thus has started to raise the needed funds and, once funds have been raised, to built in partnership with the local community their village drinking water system. However, good as it would have been to have access to clean drinking water, it is also the unfortunate truth that the newly built drinking water system is not working as intended, even though their budget was significant higher than what RIDS-Nepal initially planned and try to raise through the GlobalGiving web site.
Thus, the Mohorigaun people have again addressed RIDS-Nepal to REPAIR WITH them their urgent needed DWS, so that they finally get the needed access to clean drinking water, as to have access to clean drinking water is ONE of the MAIN programs of RIDS-Nepal's "Family of 4" community development concept.
In the last few weeks we have been investigating what needs to be done in order to mitigate the present situation and to hopefully start, once we get the needed funding in (which is not at all yet the case...), to get this DWS project done properly as we initially have planned. Thus I hope you are still encouraged to continue to stand with us and the people from Mohorigaun village to raise the needed funds to get the DWS done so that water WILL flow from the 4 tap stands in the village and the ladies and young girls do not have to walk down to the river and fetch water, which is not clean, and carry it back to the village.
Dear Mohorigaun Village Drinking Water System (DWS) Project friends
I am just back from a field visit to Mohorigaun village where we plan to build the village drinking water system, which taps into the villager’s local water spring and pipes the water down to the village through buried plastic pipes to 3-4 tap stands. That prevents the women and children, who fetch otherwise their daily drinking water from the near by contaminated river to drink polluted water.
This drinking water project is part of a long-term "Family of 4" (see:http://www.rids-nepal.org/index.php/Family_of_4.html) holistic community development project RIDS-Nepal is carrying out in Mohorigaun. While each family already has a pit latrine (toilet), a smokeless metal stove and basic indoor lighting through a solar PV home system, the village drinking water system was in discussion since 2 years. Now, when I came to Mohorigaun in May 2012, another, well known international aid organization has provided the funds to build the drinking water system. They provided several times the funding we proposed. However, when I came to the village in May, there was NO water flowing from any of the 4 tap stands in the villages. What are the reasons...?
In a nutshell it is another, rather sad experience one makes if working long-term in the field of development. A big, international aid organization has provided the multiple times needed funds to build the DWS project for the people of Mohorigaun, but it was so badly built that NO water was flowing from any tap stands. The funds are gone and the "service", to have access to improved drinking water for the villagers, has not been achieved....This is unfortunately an experience which much more often the case than one expects...
Now, the situation is as following: The Mohorigaun people jointly addressed RIDS-Nepal AGAIN to build WITH them their urgent needed DWS, so that they finally get the needed access to clean, and enough, drinking water. RIDS-Nepal has developed the "Family of 4" community development concept based on almost 2 decades experience and thus we are committed to have it done in partnership with the Mohorigaun people. Thus, while we initially thought that the DWS is now in place, the poor execution of the work has not allowed the people of Mohorigaun to be able to have clean drinking water yet. Thus I encourage you to continue to stand with us and raise the needed funds to get the DWS done professionally and in ways the local end users are respected and, an active part of their project, and proud owners once the DWS is in place and water is flowing.
While this may not be the "normal" report story, with successes and smiling faces....this is unfortunately often the blunt reality of how development is done on a big scale....and we do not agree with this. We have to implement projects with respect for the people and do professional work, so that all stakeholders of a project are happy and satisfied with it, in particular the local end users.
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