Water, Health & Women's Empowerment- Guinea Bissau

by WellFound
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Water, Health & Women's Empowerment- Guinea Bissau
Water, Health & Women's Empowerment- Guinea Bissau
Water, Health & Women's Empowerment- Guinea Bissau
Water, Health & Women's Empowerment- Guinea Bissau
Water, Health & Women's Empowerment- Guinea Bissau
Water, Health & Women's Empowerment- Guinea Bissau
Water, Health & Women's Empowerment- Guinea Bissau
Water, Health & Women's Empowerment- Guinea Bissau
Water, Health & Women's Empowerment- Guinea Bissau
Water, Health & Women's Empowerment- Guinea Bissau
Water, Health & Women's Empowerment- Guinea Bissau

This new year, many villages that are being supported by GlobalGiving donors are now engaged in improving their lives through new and revised market garden activities. Women are being very proactive in clearing the gardens and planting new vegetables. The vision is to bring more health and economic opportunities t the villages. The micro-saving scheme is expanding with great new opportunities for women to purchase seeds, tools and also improve their income from starting up new small scale businesses such as opening up a shop, animal husbendary or sewing. The community are coming more closely together to address their needs without expecting support from the outside. Their level of confidence is growing very positively. This is done equally involving all member of communities, from elderly to young children. 

There are chellenges such as spiralling cost of living and lack of transport for women to make the best of opportunities. WellFound aims to address this by seeking new funding and partnerships across the board. The support provided by the GlobalGiving community m very positive changes. 

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Sanitation and hygiene promotion
Good behaviours, facilities, and services together make up a hygienic environment, which children need in order to fight diseases and grow up healthy. Lack of sanitation can be a barrier to individual prosperity and sustainable development. When children, particularly girls, cannot access private and decent sanitation facilities in their schools or learning environments, their right to education is threatened.

For these reasons, at WellFound our priority has been to engage schools about the importance of better sanitation facilities. We have proudly delivered 10 hygiene promotion and CLTS workshops, focusing on topics such as personal hygiene, hand washing, and safe storage of water. As a result, a total of about 1,280 people have reported increased knowledge on safe defecation. We continue our mission to educate children as well as communities about the risk of contamination, spread of diseases and female health and safety.

Already we can see a huge improvement in regular hygiene habits and a growth in sanitation services across communities. We aim to continue promoting hygiene and sanitation in all communities we engage with.

Success in Vaama
Recently, WellFound finished constructing a borehole in the village of Vaama, Sierra Leone. Now, 250 inhabitants have access to clean and safe water.

Prior to our intervention, water-born diseases were rampant in Vaama, among both children and adults. However, now the inhabitants have safe drinking water and no longer need to suffer as a result of dirty water.

One of the village inhabitants, Christiana, said that WellFound's work at Vaama “was a dream we thought would never come true; absolutely there was no hope that I would one day drink clean water in this community, as this was impossible for us to do on our own - unless a miracle happened.”

WellFound will continue to improve the lives of communities in remote villages across Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone.


Market gardens, microsavings and loans
Village Savings and Loans (VSLA) schemes have been established across 5 communities in Sierra Leone, including Mosanti, Mofantaneh, Moyibo, Lipalai and Mogbencha. Since then, 154 people have become economically active as a result of WellFound intervention. Furthermore, VSLA has allowed individuals to come together and have access to loans with minimal percentages and enabled them to expand their farms and grow their profits.

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Amazing progress in Guinea Bissau

Dr Antony Kingsley visited Guinea Bissau from April 14th to 29th. The purpose was to evaluate the work conducted over the past 24 months, seek feedback from the communities and staff, identify new partners, and establish new ways of achieving our goals in a cost-effective way.

He saw great progress and heard very appreciative feedback from the villages where we have worked. 

In the village of Ntint (funded by The Waterloo Foundation) he witnessed a large expansion of the scale of the market gardens to accommodate more people. The community has taken the importance of good nutrition very seriously. There was great management of the work and the community want to expand even further to start several small businesses. This village is a great example of how integrating nutritional education into our water and sanitation programme improves the mindset and health of people in remote places.

Normally people leave in the early morning or late evening to fetch water to avoid the midday heat and they must walk a long way. Therefore, it was so good to see people in the village of Nhamate (funded by the UK FCDO) fetching water from their local well in the middle of the day. Having a source of water in their vicinity has improved community dynamics dramatically.

Increased empowerment of women was another great success witnessed during Dr Kingsley’s trip. In Safar (funded by US Self Help Programme), the community appointed a woman, who was trained by WellFound on natural medicine and First Aid, to take wider steps to improve the village. Now the community have a greater vision of how they want to save money to drill another well and extend pipes to adjacent wells.

Community ownership was also evident among villages where WellFound has worked in the past. In Qumbe and Bissum Naga, among other developments in schools, houses, sanitation and market gardens, the community also upgraded their wells to solar power using their own savings. This means they do not have to manually pump their water. It is fantastic to see such initiative, planning and development.  

Bionfoie is a new village where work was just getting underway during Dr Kingsley’s visit. WellFound now has our own drilling team in Guinea-Bissau – local people trained by WellFound and provided with equipment. Dr Kingsley saw the drilling team start work. It was fantastic to see young people so enthusiastic to drill their own well. The village is large with a potential extension of water to surrounding villages. Speaking to a few women in the village, they are looking forward to the well and clean water and were very thankful for our support. They have named two recent babies Joao and Hertumisa (two of our local staff) to show their gratitude.

Future developments in Guinea Bissau

WellFound has ambitious goals of helping more villages in Guinea Bissau. We have identified five potential new villages for work this year. In one potential village the people were particularly strong in expressing their willingness to participate fully. They have seen work in other nearby villages and dream of WellFound helping them.

 Thank you for supporting the disadvantaged. 

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WellFound has been working with women in particular to support them with their nutrition and lack of access to food. After intensive traning, women are becoming expert in crop management and also now have the ability to choose vegetables that reflect their diet pattern and also look for markets that they could sell their excess. 

The training involved providing technical support from soil preperation, pest control, choice of vegetables, preservation and marketing. We are currently working with local wholesale companies to link remote communities - particulary women within the supply chain. 

Some women and families whom have migrated to cities are coming back to the villages as they see more prosperity. Women are more empowered in decision making and now are working towards supporting their children with their schooling. They are also involved in a micro-saving scheme that helps to loan and support each other. This is also used to purchase new seeds, tools and with transport. 

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At WellFound, we truly value sustainability; it underpins everything that we do. Many rural communities around the world are reliant on external organisations to survive. This is very dangerous as it leads to a dependence on others, rather than independence. Our goal is for every community we partner with to be self-sufficient and resilient, and we do not stop working with a community until it has achieved that goal. 

 

From day one of partnering with a community, we are conscious that we must take proactive steps to encourage sustainability and independence. This can be done in many different ways, for example by including everyone in the decision-making process from the onset, training local residents with technical skills so that they are not reliant on expensive contractors and developing the skills and knowledge of residents to help them establish micro-saving schemes, allowing communities to take charge of their own development.  

 

We’d like to share some stories from communities in Guinea Bissau who have taken the tools, knowledge and resources given by WellFound, and used them to better their communities and improve residents’ lives.  

Ampintcha on the Island of Carache: 

The residents of Ampintcha wanted to extend water access to distant houses in the community; these households were needing to walk further to collect their water from the well. Using their newly learned construction skills and community micro-saving scheme, they were able to purchase the raw materials and build an additional water deposit tank. Not only did this allow further-away houses to easily access water, but it also provides further safeguards against water shortages during the dry season, which are becoming more unpredictable in the face of climate change. A wonderful example of communities taking matters into their own hands and making long-lasting improvements by themselves, for themselves.   

An upgraded new solar-powered pump connected to a water storage tank funded by the community. 

Binte, also on the island of Carache: 
After hearing about what the village of Ampintcha had done with the water tank, the community of Binte were encouraged to save for a new solar-powered pump system for their well. Our staff encouraged the community to continue using the micro-saving scheme and start up working towards that common goal. Using income generated from the women-led market gardens and other trainings from WellFound, the community managed to save 500.000cfa (about £650), of which they used 200.000cfa to upgrade their solar-powered pump system, with 300.000cfa cash in their savings for repairs or future improvements. Amazing to see in communities where, only a few years ago, the average household income was around USD $20 per month with no options to save.These are just a couple of examples showing sustainability in Guinea Bissau. Indeed, many communities are saving money to buy extra pumps and spare pump parts. We are keeping a close eye on communities’ progress and savings and are happy to report that, despite the challenges surrounding COVID-19 and extremely limited opportunities for employment, the communities are doing well and staying strong.
 
 
 
The End of UKAID Support:
WellFound is adjusting to the new reality of the termination of funding from UK Government through the UKAID programme. Over the past 5 years, with the funding from UKAID, WellFound positively impacted over 40,000 people’s lives in the most remote and marginalised villages of Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone. We would like to thank UKAID and the taxpayers who made this possible.Our plans for coming months:
 
It is currently the rainy season in West Africa. This means that travelling to the villages is very challenging, especially because WellFound only works with the hardest to reach communities. Where possible, staff have started visiting the villages to have discussions with residents on how outstanding work and improvements can be carried out. We are strengthening the Village Management Committees to ensure that communities self-reliant. However, not only are we working with existing communities to ensure that their needs continue to be met and they are on track to becoming fully self-sufficient, but are we are also starting work in eight new villages across villages across Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone. We hope that with your continued support, we can continue our mission to create a better society for those who need it most.Hertumisa, WellFound's Health & Equality worker giving a workshop on COVID-19A brand new water point in Guinea Bissau, easily accessible for everyone 

If you would like to help our mission, please consider telling a friend, family member of colleague about WellFound. We are happy to answer any questions and are always available at contact@wellfound.org.uk. 

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Organization Information

WellFound

Location: London, Middlesex - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @opwellfound
Project Leader:
Antony Kingsley
London, Middlesex United Kingdom
$10,000 raised of $12,781 goal
 
148 donations
$2,781 to go
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