charity: water in Liberia
Water is the catalyst for so many positive trends within society – basic sanitation, handwashing, and educational, community level practices are all part of the design for waterborne disease prevention.
In Liberia, local charity: water partner, Dave Waines of EQUIP Liberia, discusses the project strategy in the video above. He has witnessed firsthand both the horrors and resilience that the country has experienced. As he describes it, the “renewal of the human spirit” is a large part of what has healed communities; a ripple effect of strengthening villagers’ resolve around a common goal.
While charity: water has been in Liberia since 2007, recent civilunrestinCoteD’Ivoire has revealed an unanticipated benefit to the region. As 25,000 fled the country into Liberia, the charity: water community projects help locals along with refugees. At present, community workshop attendees are volunteers, wearing bright yellow and blue “Community Health Ambassador” (CHA) and “Pump Caretaker” t-shirts. Their job is to practice cleanliness in their own lives and teach their neighbors to do the same. Knowing that hand-washing alone can reduce water-related deaths by up to 45%, they also collect small fees from the community to pay for well repairs — and then the Pump Caretakers handle well maintenance over time.
Dave himself reported to charity: water that the fear and the caution is still here. But communities are slowly learning to trust one another again. What role can strategic design play in re-forging bonds of community? As in so manyothercountries, charity: water is showing us once again, how design can make a difference.