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May 26, 2020

Project Report

Our team member handing over a bar of soap
Our team member handing over a bar of soap

In light of the COVID19 pandemic, access to clean water and handwashing has gained a new value altogether. Your support in providing this basic human right has now, more than ever, been proven to be a life-saving investment.

Against the backdrop of a COVID-19 outbreak now taking its grip in Africa, we recognize our responsibility to ensure rural communities across Ghana are equipped to shield themselves against the virus. Not only do we continue to provide sustainable access to clean water in Maji communities, we have ramped up our efforts to ensure hand hygiene in these communities. Since the onset of the pandemic, Project Maji has launched an aggressive handwashing and soap distribution campaign across rural Ghana, targeting 12 communities, 2,000 households and 10,000 people to help shield communities from the virus.

We are delighted to share that not only have we successfully reached our targets, we are now actively fundraising to double our impact, targeting another 12 communities, 2,000 households and 10,000 people. Hand hygiene is our frontline defense against the virus, therefore we recognize that our handwashing trainings and soap distribution are indispensable in preventing an outbreak. 

The Project Maji Community Handwashing trainings are essentially focused on teaching key steps to proper handwashing. The 30-minute training is designed in line with a participatory approach whereby our trainers employ colorful visual aids and encourage questions and comments to keep the participants engaged. Participants are also encouraged to volunteer step by step demonstrations of hand washing by the end of each session. Recognizing the urgent need for these trainings while ensuring the safety of our teams as well as the local communities, we have now adopted a capacity-building approach. Participation is restricted to a maximum of 50 community members who are trained in groups of 5 to pass on their learning on proper handwashing to their respective households and the wider community.

Due to mobility and social gathering restrictions and the very imminent threat posed by COVID-19, mobilizing our teams and rolling out these trainings has been nothing short of an uphill battle. Nonetheless, we recognize that our work not only has to go on, it has to intensify. We aim to continue to strive to find the right balance between raising hygiene awareness and ensuring the safety of Maji communities as well as our local teams. Click here to join us and save lives. 

We will keep you posted. Thank you for your overwhelming support in providing sustainable access to safe water through this project!

Ama Wilson - Ghana Team
Ama Wilson - Ghana Team
Participant engaging with trainers
Participant engaging with trainers
Training in process
Training in process
May 12, 2020

Project Report

A handpump, previously the primary water source
A handpump, previously the primary water source

We want to give you an update regarding the Fathers & Kids Camping impact project to bring sustainable access to clean water and sanitation to three neighboring schools in the water-stressed region of Machakos County, rural Kenya. 

The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has halted our joint plans to work hand in hand with the communities to install solar powered water kiosks in three communities: Mutwamaki, Kavwea and Ulutya. Yet, behind the scenes we have tried to get water to these communities as quickly as possible, knowing they are thirsty, literally. Naturally our operations were affected by supply chain limitations, travel and movement restrictions in Kenya and the safety of the Project Maji staff.

Despite these challenges, we are confident we can move forward quickly, now that restrictions in Kenya have been eased. The foundations of all kiosks are ready, and the structures and solar panels have been lined up to be installed. As part of our standard procedure, our next step will be performing baseline surveys in the communities. We will interview village leaders, households, teachers and health professionals to establish a baseline and measure progress around health and community satisfaction parameters of the end-users. Depending on the COVID19 developments, we aim to open the taps in approximately one month.

As you might be aware, in Kenya only 50% of the rural population has access to a basic water service while 29 per cent of the rural population have no access to any kind of water system. What is special about this project, is that we try to create WinS for everybody, situating the solar powered kiosks on school premises. Improving access to WASH in schools (WinS) means providing a safe and healthy learning environment for children. Therefore we can eliminate time wasted collecting water, minimizing the risk of water-borne illnesses, thereby contributing to their participation and performance at school, particularly for girls. During our multiple site visits, we know the children in Mutwamaki, Kavwea and Ulutya Primary schools cannot wait to get access to safe drinking water, to wash their hands to protect them against the pandemic and to meet YOU; their friends from Dubai.

We will keep you posted. Thank you for your unending support in enabling us to empower these communities with the gift of clean water!  

Kav Wea Primary School, Machakos County, Kenya
Kav Wea Primary School, Machakos County, Kenya
School children drinking from a handpump
School children drinking from a handpump
An elderly woman from the Kavwea community
An elderly woman from the Kavwea community
Jan 28, 2020

Stories from the Field: Women and Water.

The community of Otuaplem.
The community of Otuaplem.

Each day across the developing world, women spend a collective 200 million hours fetching water from distant, unsafe sources. This not only puts their health at great risk, it also takes away precious time from their families and from pursuing a brighter future. But while women shoulder the majority of the world's water burden, they also stand the most to gain from access to clean water. 

The Project Maji team recently travelled to Otuaplem in Ghana; a farming community of around 700 people on the outskirts of the capital Accra, to learn how clean water access has impacted the daily lives of the women who live and work there. 

Meet NaOsambia, Queen mother of Onniansanna, and First Lady (wife of the Chief) of Otuaplem. "I’m holding two posts here. So there is a lot of responsibility!". 

"At first, we were using the river Densu for our water. There is a small dam nearby. People would go there to bathe, and once you finish bathing, then you would fetch the water. So at times, people would fall sick from drinking the same water". 

"Then we had some kind people give us a hand pump. But you had to work very hard to get enough water to fill your bucket. There was always a long queue to fetch water because it took so much time. We were using it for several years, but in the dry season there was no water in the well. So we had to go back to drinking dirty water from the dam. And so people got sick again". 

“We were so lucky when Project Maji came to this village and gave us a solar-powered pump. Now, we just open the tap and the water comes easily. You simply take your bucket of water and go about your day. No more waiting in the queue! It is much easier and we feel free to fetch the water at any time". 

Clean water has had a profound effect on the women of Otuaplem. As a result of improved health and new found time in their day, many women have started up their own businesses. Some have become traders and opened up small shops, while others have found useful, local professions like being a hairdresser, which in turn, has helped to improve the community's economy! 

But perhaps the most inspiring example of all, is the story of Mavis; a young woman who witnessed that many children in her village were spending the day unsupervised, as their parents were often working far away on distant farms, or collecting water. Mavis took it upon herself to open up her own nursery school, to help her neighbours and to prepare the children for a better future. 

For women like Mavis, having an accessible, safe water source close to her nursery school enables her to teach her pupils the importance of handwashing and staying hydrated, ensuring safe hygiene practices and allowing her to keep her children engaged in class, where she teaches them to read, write, and of course, play!  

"The hand pump was too heavy for the young ones. So when they were thirsty, they would go to the dam to drink, and the dirty water made them sick. Now, with Project Maji in our village, it’s easy for even the small children to go and fetch water any time they want. If they are thirsty or they need to wash their hands, you just turn the tap, and the water comes. This water has really changed our lives, and I couldn't run my school without it!". 

The powerful impact of providing a community with sustainable access to clean water cannot be underestimated. With improved health, less medical bills, and more time to pursue economic opportunity, the women of Otuaplem are now building better futures for themselves, their children, and their community. 

Thank you for for your unending support in enabling us to empower these incredible women with the gift of clean water!  


*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. 

NaOsambia, Queen mother of Onniansanna.
NaOsambia, Queen mother of Onniansanna.
The river Densu, Otuaplem's previous water source.
The river Densu, Otuaplem's previous water source.
The broken hand pump which lies rusted and idle.
The broken hand pump which lies rusted and idle.
Otuaplem can now fetch water straight from a tap!
Otuaplem can now fetch water straight from a tap!
Many women of Otuaplem have now set up businesses.
Many women of Otuaplem have now set up businesses.
And others have found useful, local professions.
And others have found useful, local professions.
Mavis founded the community nursery school.
Mavis founded the community nursery school.
Clean water helps the children to stay engaged!
Clean water helps the children to stay engaged!
Thank you from the community of Otuaplem!
Thank you from the community of Otuaplem!
 
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