I love monitoring. It’s “sort of my jam”, as Director of US Operations Sam Reilley would say (I’m sure Brianán Kiernan, Peter Biyam, Shakun Ibrahim and the rest of our full-time Tamale staff can relate). But every so often I get a sense of Implementation Envy. Watching the fellows roll back in their taxis from dusty days distributing safe storage containers or organizing community meetings makes me jealous! (Think you could Azonto with a Ghanain P1 class or assemble a safe storage container with the speed and efficiency of a NASCAR team? Maybe the CWS fellowship is the thing for you!) But fortunately for me I’ve had the opportunity these past few weeks to get in on the center set-up action once again. That’s right, the alum training, the stand building, the opening day anticipation, the taxi breakdowns, it all happened for the 49th time this January in …
The Newest CWS Partner Community, Jarayili!!
Jarayili is a really tiny community about an hour outside of Tamale. I had stopped in here a few times before to chat water, but unfortunately the village didn’t seem to be a good fellowship match for one daunting reason: the walk to the dugout is actually a mile long. In villages where the water source is incredibly far away like this, our current method does not make much sense – each safe storage container only holds 20 liters, and garawas (metal buckets traditionally used to move water) hold up to double this amount. Could we really ask women to double their usual walking time and distance to buy treated water? Would they even be interested in doing it?
To see if we can deal with all this we coupled with UNICEF, the East Gonja District Assembly, and the village of Jarayili to try out another option. We distributed 70 liter safe storage containers to each of the 17 houses in the community. We set up the treatment center by the dugout in the usual way. And we told people they could use whatever they liked to transport the clean water to their houses, as long as the water is stored in the safe storage container in the house (to prevent recontamination) and is transported in something clean. Opening day found nine jerrycans (yellow buckets with twist on lids that are transported by bike), six garawas and two metal washing tins lined up for clean water. People seemed ready to go the distance to bring home clean water now that larger transporting options were on the table! So exciting!
But now the second test. Will the water stay clean between the time it leaves the polytank and the time it enters the drinking cup? Only time and further water tests will tell, but if so we might well be able to roll out water businesses in communities we previously thought we could not help, which is obviously huge! Enough big picture talk. Getting the chance to work with the wonderful Suayba and Awulatu, seeing them own the opening of their business (and pocket the hard-earned peswas), hanging out with the Jarayili chief and son, and providing endless unintentional entertainment for Mohammed, Rashid, Fushi and the rest of the Jarayili kids was awesome in and of itself. It was so great to get my center start-up fix, and now… More Monitoring!