Partners with local farmers to create shared value
By Joachim Ibeziako Ezeji - Team Leader
In its efforts to scale up clean drinking water around its areas of operation in eastern Nigeria and create shared value, Project 1831 (Rural Africa Water Development Project (RAWDP)) is partnering with thousands of local farmers. The primary objective of the partnership is to boost the efficiency and performance of the water filters in use in local communities as well as training the farmers on practical ways of reducing the vulnerabilities of the watershed’s sensitive ecosystem to diffuse pollution from maladaptive agricultural practices and chemical leaching. In Onicha; one of the communities where over a thousand filter had been sold since January 2011, local health and environmental officials had earlier noted the increasing loads of nitrates in the local Imo River. Removal of nitrates from drinking waters filtered using the filter has been difficult for locals. To ultimately get rid of it, the project is resorting to ‘’Source Attention’’. The threatened Imo River watershed provides over 1 million people with clean drinking water, but many of the locals, including the farmers do not know that the river was the source of their drinking water. In other words, they did not understand that pollution or damage in the Imo River would have a direct impact on their drinking water. Speaking on the initiative, the project leader explains that the project when successful will further create market for our filters as its pollutant loading will be greatly reduced. Paul, a small holder farmer living in the community revealed thus: ‘’This initiative will tremendously help us to save costs associated with excessive fertilizer wastage, soil degradation, increase farm productivity as well as access to clean drinking water in both the short and long term’’. We at RAWDP expresses gratitude to all our supporters who have ensured we continued this work. All your financial contributions is going a long way in assisting us adopt innovations that help us meet our clean water objectives. Please let us know how we can do better as the project expands. We are targeting 78,000 filters in use in local households here by 2012. We are just on track in achieving this, provided you sustain the support you give us.
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